ASU alumnus, Olympic gold medalist reflects on his career in athletics administration


October 18, 2021

At just 21 years old, Herman Frazier won gold and bronze medals in the 1976 Olympic games. Now, 45 years later, Frazier is being honored as one of The College Leaders for 2021 from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. 

MORE: 4 outstanding ASU alumni honored as The College Leaders of 2021 Arizona State University alumnus Herman Frazier is being honored as one of The College Leaders for 2021 from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Download Full Image

Frazier, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from ASU in 1977, first began college at Denison University. But after competing for one semester in track and field, his talent for the sport was recognized. He transferred to ASU on an athletic scholarship in 1975 and went on to compete in the 1976 Olympic games in Montreal, where he brought home a gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay and an individual bronze medal in the 400-meter dash.

Upon graduating he was offered a position with Sun Devil Athletics. He remained with the university for 23 years, working in athletics administration and eventually becoming the senior associate athletic director and leading ASU to a national title in track and field.

In 2002, to celebrate and honor Frazier’s lifetime achievements, his friends and colleagues initiated the Herman R. Frazier Scholarship Endowment in the School of Politics and Global Studies to benefit undergraduate students studying political science.

“After I got my Bachelor of Science in political science, I entered graduate school at Arizona State in the public administration program. But while I was there I got hired by the university; that's when they pulled me out and selected me to become an assistant athletic director, making me in charge of events and facilities when I was only 23 years old. That was unheard of. It was an opportunity that I just could not turn down,” Frazier said.

He currently serves as the senior deputy director of athletics at Syracuse University, where he has been since 2011. Prior to working at Syracuse University, he held a number of athletic director positions at universities around the country, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Temple University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

Here, he shares more about his Sun Devil story, his career and his advice for ASU students.

Question: What initially interested you about your major, and how did it help prepare you for your career?

Answer: I always wanted to be a lawyer. Even though track and field got in the way, I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree in political science. … A lot of people say I probably could have been involved in politics. I'm involved in politics every day with the job that I do. It was no different from when the job was at Arizona State or the other institutions I have worked at since Arizona State. There's no question that every day of my life I deal with politics. Even now for what I do here at Syracuse University, as the deputy director of athletics, I am also a registered lobbyist for the university. So I go to Albany and lobby different legislatures on behalf of Syracuse.

Q: What is your favorite part about your chosen career path?

A: Well, first of all, I don't look at my job as work. I was interviewing someone for a position and they asked me, how did I view my job? I get people asking me that question often. One of the things I tell them is I really don't work. My job is my hobby because when I come to work, I just have so much fun. Now having said that, there are a lot of things that I have to do on a day-to-day basis or a weekly basis or a monthly basis that are somewhat strenuous and somewhat difficult. However, that's just part of the job. I am so happy that I chose the career that I did, and I would not have it any other way.

Q: What is your biggest motivation to succeed professionally?

A: My biggest motivation has always been to impress my parents. My parents instilled education in me, and I was very fortunate to be able to be on an athletic scholarship and go to Arizona State University. As I sit here today, to be chosen for this award, I only wish my parents were alive so that they could see this and be a part of it as well. Because this is how they raised me.

Q: What advice would you give to students in The College?

A: The thing I would say to students is that you're at an age and a time in your life where there's so much going on and you should take in whatever you can as far as knowledge and education and life lessons from the university. Please take advantage of it. My three and a half years as an undergraduate were some of the best years of my life; I didn't want to leave college. I had so much fun, and every day was a blessing. … I would say to all the young people, even if you're not an athlete, enjoy The College and all the things that Arizona State University represents.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in 10 years?

A: I'll be retired, and I will probably be back living in the Phoenix metropolitan area and attending ASU football games and basketball games and track meets and, who knows, maybe even walking around campus trying to provide any kind of support that young people may need. Once I hang it up here and have time on my hands, I'd be happy to assist anybody who needs any assistance.

Emily Balli

Communications Specialist and Lead Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

4 outstanding ASU alumni honored as The College Leaders of 2021


October 29, 2021

On Oct. 29, four outstanding alumni of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will be recognized and celebrated for their accomplishments with an induction into The College Leaders. 

Since 1997, The College Leaders program has recognized 77 outstanding alumni from across The College’s natural science, social science and humanities divisions. The College will also be recognizing 137 of its current students from across the divisions.  Collage of headshots of ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences alumni Lisa Clark, Herman Frazier, Lisa Pino and Dave Wilson. Alumni of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (from left) Lisa Clark, Herman Frazier, Lisa Pino and Dave Wilson will be recognized and celebrated for their accomplishments with an induction into The College Leaders on Oct. 29. Download Full Image

This year’s leaders, Lisa Clark, Herman Frazier, Lisa Pino and Dave Wilson, demonstrate the ways in which a degree in liberal arts and sciences can lead to a successful career in a number of fields. Each alumni will be recognized for their achievements in business, research and community service. They join a distinguished group of individuals who showcase extraordinary leadership skills while driving positive change locally and internationally.

Lisa Clark: Starting anew as an amateur race car driver

Clark received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1988, and went on to have a successful career as a business owner and real estate agent. In 2013, when her daughters were grown and moved out, she decided it was time to start a new chapter and explore her passion for motorsports. 

After eight years of tirelessly working her way up in the racing world, Clark is now going into her sixth season as an amateur race car driver in the Ferrari Challenge series. She also does endurance racing in Europe with Audi and Porsche.

Clark said her degree in psychology is incredibly versatile and has come in handy both in her real estate career and her racing career.

“Being a psychology major helped prepare me for my career in real estate when dealing with people, and not necessarily like-minded people, that have an interest in purchasing real estate,” Clark said. 

“Understanding psychology in racing is also very important because you have to be aware of not only your relationship with people that you're racing against on the track, but also the team and your pit crew. You're dealing with a lot of like-minded people because you share the same passion and there's a lot of respect there. But it's a highly competitive business, and a lot of the personality types can shift in high-stress situations.”

Herman Frazier: From gold medal Olympian to successful athletics director 

Frazier received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1977. At just 21 years old, he won gold and bronze medals in track and field at the 1976 Olympic games. Upon graduating he was offered a position with Sun Devil Athletics. He remained with the university for 23 years, working in athletics administration and eventually becoming the senior associate athletic director where he led ASU to a national title in track and field.

He currently serves as the senior deputy director of athletics at Syracuse University, where he’s been since 2011. Prior to working at Syracuse University, he held a number of athletic director positions at universities around the country, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Temple University and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 

Frazier looks back fondly on his time at ASU, and encourages students to make the most of their time at the university.

“My three and a half years as an undergraduate were some of the best years of my life; I didn't want to leave college,” Frazier said. “I had so much fun and every day was a blessing. … I would say to all the young people, even if you're not an athlete, enjoy The College and all the things that Arizona State University represents.”

Lisa Pino: Pursuing social justice and creating opportunities for low-income communities

Pino received three degrees from ASU — a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 1996, a master’s degree in humanities in 1999 and a juris doctor in 2005. Using these degrees as her foundation, she has dedicated her career to addressing poverty and creating opportunities for low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds. 

In 2009, she was appointed the deputy administrator of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the ​​U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by former President Barack Obama. In 2012 she became the USDA’s deputy assistant secretary in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. 

After working at the USDA for over four years, Pino was then named the senior counselor to the secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Just last month, she was named the director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

Prior to her work at the federal level, she worked in Arizona as a staff attorney for migrant farmworkers, an affordable housing advocate and a nonprofit leader.

Reflecting on her time at ASU, Pino said it was in The College that she was able to find her voice and identity.

“My own self discovery as a Latina, first-generation American and the first college graduate in my family made me revisit what my background, family heritage and identity meant to me as a person and a student,” Pino said. “The inspiring liberal arts curriculum at ASU and the open minds of varying backgrounds of my new global friends fostered my interest, fascination and focus on what being Latinx now meant to me, and how my personal background would shape my own education and career path.”

Dave Wilson: Addressing health disparities in Native American communities

Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 1998 and a PhD in molecular and cellular biology in 2007. As a member of the Navajo Nation, he has made it his mission to have a positive impact on Native American communities. 

Throughout his career he has worked as a public health adviser in the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, as a legislative analyst in the office of the director at the Indian Health Service and as an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s Center for American Indian Health.

In 2017, he was selected as the first-ever director of the Tribal Health Research Office at the National Institutes of Health . In this role he engages with hundreds of tribes to provide guidance, education and research that helps improve the health and well-being of these communities.

“​​My hopes and aspirations are to be able to bring the scientific community to a place where we all recognize and appreciate what it costs Native people to be recognized as sovereign nations,” Wilson said. “I think there's just not a lot of this understanding across the country about our history. So it's really important for people to think about this and really understand what it means.”

Emily Balli

Communications Specialist and Lead Writer, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences