ASU honors college campaign aims to establish 25 new endowed scholarships by 2025

Smith Family Study Abroad Scholarship is first one

November 15, 2021

Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University is on a quest to establish new scholarships that will expand access and opportunity for students and inspire a new generation of donors. 

The 25 by 25 Scholarship Program aims to develop 25 new endowed scholarships by the year 2025.  Photo Susan Bitter Smith and Windsor Smith Susan Bitter Smith (left) and Windsor Smith know the positive impact study abroad can make on students. The Smith Family Study Abroad Scholarship will help students in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU offset the costs of study abroad. Photo courtesy of the Smith family Download Full Image

Under the program, for every scholarship endowment commitment of $25,000 total ($5,000 per year for five years), Barrett will award a $1,000 scholarship annually to a student until that endowment is completed. 

Scholarships usually are not awarded until endowments are completely paid. The 25 by 25 program allows for more students to get awarded earlier.

“It is so outstanding to see wonderful alumni, parents and community members invest in Barrett students. We really hope that the 25 by 25 program will incentivize more people to become endowment donors and help build perpetual support for our students,” said Chelsie Bruggeman, director of development for Barrett, The Honors College. 

The Smith family, which includes three ASU alumni who graduated with honors — Susan Bitter Smith, ’77 BA and ’82 MBA; Prescott Smith, ’06 BS and ’12 MBA; and Windsor Smith, ’16 BA/MMC — is the first to create an endowed scholarship under the 25 by 25 program.

The Smith Family Study Abroad Scholarship will provide funds to make study abroad more affordable for Barrett, The Honors College students.

The Smiths said their own study abroad experiences led them to want to help students with overseas travel expenses. 

Windsor maximized her study abroad experience in 2014 as a student in Barrett, The Honors College and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

She went to London, Paris and Milan on a journalism-focused trip where she and other Cronkite students visited news organizations in each city, including the BBC, Reuters, and CNN in London, where she met news host and anchor Christiane Amanpour. 

She learned how the news organizations operated, wrote stories and created digital news segments. She also completed multimedia projects for honors credit and developed her honors thesis project, a video promoting Cronkite School study abroad programs.

“My study abroad experience was amazing and one of the highlights from my time at ASU,” said Windsor, who is now a news producer at ABC15 in Phoenix. 

susan and prescott smith with sparkySusan Bitter Smith (left) and Prescott Smith with Sparky

Prescott participated in two Barrett summer study abroad programs, one in Athens and Rome in Italy and in Dubrovnik, Croatia; and another in London, Dublin and Edinburgh, Scotland. 

“These were both absolute highlights of my college experience,” said Prescott, now vice president of Technical Solutions, a Scottsdale-based public affairs firm. “There is nothing quite like immersing yourself in another culture. It teaches you about world history and the present day unlike any book or school course. Plus, the relationships and bonds you make with other students on trips like this are incredible. I still talk to many of the Barrett students that studied abroad with me.”

Susan said study abroad opportunities were not available to her when she was a student, but she later participated in a Young Political Leaders study abroad program, where she saw firsthand the importance of foreign travel in expanding leaders’ knowledge and professional networks. She also saw how Windsor and Prescott benefited from studying abroad. 

They were “fortunate enough to go on study abroad trips as students through ASU, and, as a parent, I could see how much those trips enriched not only their academic education, but also their life skills education. I firmly believe these unique opportunities enrich a university academic program, no matter what the degree discipline is,” said Susan, president of Technical Solutions and the executive director of the Southwest Cable Communications Association. 

“Barrett is a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity, and now having both of my children as alums, I am absolutely convinced that there is true family value in investing in Barrett and empowering more students to have the study abroad experience. 

“A Barrett scholarship allows our family to create a continuing legacy at Arizona State and Barrett, a legacy that our family is proud of and an educational institution that we want more students to be able to experience.” 

For more information about how to support the 25 by 25 campaign, contact Chelsie Bruggeman at

Nicole Greason

Director of Marketing and Public Relations , Barrett, The Honors College


CRUX co-founder joins ASU in pivotal cultural-sector field research

November 15, 2021

Lauren Ruffin, designer and thought leader working in the realm of racial equity, creative work and policy, is joining the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University for a nine-month residency.

The National Field Leader in Residence is a cornerstone program of the Herberger Institute’s National Collaborative for Creative Work, which seeks to bring artists, movement leaders, policy thinkers and investors together to reimagine healthy, equitable work futures for artists, designers and other creators.    CRUX co-founder Lauren Ruffin named National Field Leader in Residence at Arizona State University Lauren Ruffin is the co-founder of CRUX, an immersive storytelling cooperative that collaborates with Black artists creating content in virtual reality and augmented reality.

Ruffin’s residency will combine research, a convening, public conversations, exploration and policy prototyping with students in a spring 2022 course. The National Field Leader in Residence program is specifically designed for non-academic leaders who are working at the cutting edge of workforce transformation, creative economy and social policy and are seeking to advance an area of their research in collaboration with ASU students, staff and faculty as well as local Tempe and Phoenix community members.

Ruffin is the co-founder of CRUX, an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based immersive storytelling cooperative that collaborates with Black artists as they create content in virtual reality and augmented reality (XR), and the former co-CEO of Fractured Atlas, the largest association of independent artists in the United States. She is serving as the interim chief marketing officer of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and is a visiting faculty member at both NYU and Bennington College, where she teaches about arts work and the emerging practices, technology, labor and financial policies that intersect with content creators, particularly female, Black and Indigenous workers. 

Ruffin is known for her innovative ideas and big questions about systems. One of the core research questions for her residency is, “Is it possible to radically reimagine credit underwriting for digital creatives via the development of alternative credit scores, character-based lending or a predictive lending tool?”

“Ruffin is at the front of a beautiful, possible future for creative work,” said Jen Cole, co-director of the National Collaborative for Creative Work. “We have an opportunity at the largest, most inclusive university in the country to imagine better futures for BIPOC creatives.”

Ruffin noted, “Creative work requires creative people to be healthy, wealthy and whole. I hope to push more — connecting with ASU’s assets in AI and in partnership with the collaborative and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, I hope to bring major tech and platform players into the conversation alongside students and policy makers to shape a new type of character lending structure for digital creators. I hope to publish recommendations and findings from this residency alongside others we gather for an international convening planned for spring 2022. “

“This is a unique opportunity for our students to come together with global thinkers, technology experts, culture leaders and Lauren to co-create new knowledge and advance frontiers for digital culture, digital culture policy and economics," said Pavan Turaga, associate professor and director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. "I’m excited about this as a new model for engaged education. It supports our students, emerging cultural leaders, in hands-on, practice-based work, and we’re excited to host Lauren’s spring course.”

At 4:30 p.m. Arizona time, Thursday, Nov. 18, Ruffin will discuss her work in a YouTube livestream broadcast, supported by the School of Arts, Media and Engineering’s Digital Culture Speaker Series. Her talk is titled “#FYPM: Challenges and Opportunities of Securing the Bag in the Creative Economy.”

For more information on Ruffin’s applied research, supported by the National Collaborative for Creative Work and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, visit and follow updates, announcements and events on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Deborah Sussman

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts