Former city executives endow position for visiting professional to share urban management experience

Marvin Andrews fellows, public administration students, local officials to benefit

December 14, 2021

Public administration students learning urban management at Arizona State University will be able to tap into the expertise of a seasoned professional whose education-related activities will be funded by a new endowment.

The endowment from former Chandler City Manager Lloyd Harrell and his wife, Nancy, will fund the Harrell/Hutchinson Visiting Urban Management Professional program, the ASU Foundation for A New American University announced. Mentoring, Unsplash, stock photo, Amy Hirschi Stock photo by Amy Hirschi/Unsplash Download Full Image

Both Harrell and former Mesa City Manager Mike Hutchinson were heavily involved with the design and establishment of ASU’s Marvin Andrews Fellowship in Urban Management. Hutchinson played, and continues to play, the dominant role in the fundraising effort for the fellowship, Harrell said, which is why the visiting professional position is named for both men.

Each year, an urban management professional will be selected speak to public administration classes, meet with students in the ASU School of Public Affairs and speak to the local chapter of the International City/County Management Association and with local government practitioners from Arizona cities, towns and counties. In addition, the professional will meet with students in the two-year Marvin Andrews Fellowship in Urban Management, which is named for a former Phoenix city manager. The grant will be administered by the Watts College for Public Service and Community Solutions.

Cynthia Seelhammer, a Watts College professor of practice and the fellowship’s coordinator, will head an informal search committee of past fellows, known colloquially as “Marvins,” that will recruit and select the first visiting professional, according to the terms of the grant.

Seelhammer, a former city, town and county manager, said criteria for the committee’s process should be in place by early 2022. The first professional should be selected by the end of next year and begin the role in January 2023, she said. The professional will make at least one in-person visit to the School of Public Affairs during the year, and be available for Zoom lectures, speeches, discussions and consultations, Seelhammer said.

The endowment is intended to benefit students learning public administration in their classrooms as well as local practitioners in the profession, Seelhammer said.

Harrell’s career in urban management spanned 30 years, having led city staffs in Denton, Texas, and the Missouri cities of Liberty and Nevada before coming to Chandler, Arizona, where he served as city manager for six years before retiring. Harrell also was a School of Public Affairs faculty associate for more than a decade.

Hutchinson’s 28-year career with the city of Mesa culminated in 2000 when he began a five-year period as its city manager. Today he is executive vice president of the East Valley Partnership.

Harrell said the endowment should help make an exceptional fellowship even more meaningful for the participating students.

“There are many outstanding urban managers who are either retired or nearing retirement who have a lot to offer to the students, as far as not only sharing with them some of their experiences and insights they developed in their careers, but also mentoring these young people,” Harrell said. “I think Cynthia and I both envision the person selected will be meeting individually with each of the Marvins and speaking to public administration classes throughout the year as another resource for students as they talk about various career options.”

Harrell said the professional’s presence will also enhance the reputation of the Marvin Andrews Fellowship, attracting “really outstanding students and be another part of an excellent experience.”

Hutchinson said throughout the more than a decade since the fellowship’s inception, he, Harrell and other retired managers continued to look for ways to augment what he called an already extraordinary experience for the students involved. The visiting professional is the latest enhancement, he said.

“This is just one more thing we can offer the students to bolster their experience,” Hutchinson said.

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


From drones to water tastings to sonic art, ASU creatives take part in 2021 Canal Convergence

December 14, 2021

Each year the city of Scottsdale lights up for a two-weekend-long event by the waterfront, Canal Convergence, filled with community projects, live music, workshops and artist talks. Following the event’s perennial themes of Water + Art + Light, interactivity and sustainability, this year’s featured theme married the concepts of “Art and Technology,” with the goal of expanding the public’s understanding of technology’s role in artmaking and exploring the impact it has on society.

Joining in this year’s Nov. 5–14 event were several Arizona State University research groups, faculty and students from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, as well as alumni from the School of Art. Image of AR app designed for the event Image of augmented reality "AeroGels" by artist and ASU alumnus Roy Wasson Valle. Image courtesy of Roy Wasson Valle Download Full Image

The projects ranged in topic, from water tasting in enchanted spaces to augmented reality artworks based in imaginative futures. Each project was thoughtfully designed to prompt conversations about our futures and how we can better understand what outcomes we want to see unfold for our planet.

The roots between ASU and the Canal Convergence go even deeper than projects and performances; the director of Scottsdale Public Art, who organizes Canal Convergence, is ASU alumna Kim Boganey. She earned her BA in art history from the university in 1987.

According to Boganey, Canal Convergence has grown from four days to 10 in the last four years and now attracts nearly 300,000 visitors every November. 

Below is a full list of the ASU projects, performances and installations that were hosted during the 2021 Canal Convergence.


Lauren Hayes giving her workshop to guests

Image from Lauren Sarah Haye's workshop on site-responsive sonic art. Photo courtesy of Kendra Sollars

Artist and ASU alumnus Roy Wasson Valle of Fireweather Studio created an augmented reality artwork, "AeroGels," that was one of the 12 featured artworks at this year's event.

He also provided animations for an augmented reality scavenger hunt experience, "The Case of the Missing Artwork," in collaboration with artist Bobby Zokaites (who, like Wasson Valle, has a master's degree in sculpture from ASU’s School of Art) and students from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale. 

Site-Responsive Sonic Art With Lauren Sarah Hayes

School of Arts, Media and Engineering Assistant Professor Lauren Sarah Hayes presented a workshop focused on site-responsive sonic art.

Participants built circuits using light and sound sensors and connected them to portable microcomputers. Then Hayes invited them to take part in a collaborative sound installation to explore relationships between people, sounds and spaces. 

Tasting Water With ASU

School for the Future of Innovation in Society Assistant Professor Christy SpackmanMarisa Manheim, a PhD candidate in School of Sustainability, and Shomit Barua, a PhD candidate in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, presented “Tasting Water With ASU.”

The fully immersive experience encouraged participants to taste different waters, such as surface water, groundwater and purified water, and draw conclusions about what the waters told them about their environments, all while encapsulated in a space with various images and visual projections.

The workshop was designed to help people curate their own water, improve their skills at water tasting and contribute their insights to help water professionals think about the future.

People standing under an interactive dome tasting waters

Image from "Tasting Waters With ASU." Photo courtesy of Shomit Barua

LED Lantern Workshop

In this workshop created by Vigas, the Brazilian multimedia artist behind the Light Falls installation, and led by School of Arts, Media and Engineering clinical assistant professors Kimberlee Swisher and Seth Thorn, participants used various industrial materials, including air conditioner exhaust hoses and other scrap, to build 30 LED lanterns. Once the construction of the lanterns was finalized, they used a special app to control the intensity and colors of their lanterns. 

People during a workshop building an LED lantern

Image from the "LED Lanterns" workshop. Photo courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art Instagram

Inspire Future Drone Design!

School of Arts, Media and Engineering PhD candidate Alejandra Rodriguez Vega hosted a workshop where participants interacted with a DJI Matrice drone to encourage a better understanding of what drones can sense, provoking discussions about the future of drones based on community needs and desires.

Participants design future drones during a workshop

Image from "Inspire Future Drone Design!" hosted by PhD candidate Alejandra Rodriguez Vega. Image courtesy Alejandra Rodriguez Vega