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Scholarship honors legacy of passionate Sun Devil Alissa Serignese


Alissa Serignese and Sparky on the steps of Old Main at ASU's Tempe campus.

Alissa Serignese and Sparky on the steps of Old Main.

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January 24, 2022

Passionate Arizona State University advocate Alissa Serignese was well known in the community as an outstanding leader, role model and devoted Sun Devil. Serignese, who served as vice president of the ASU Alumni Association and Office of University Events for 13 years, died Jan. 16.

During her time at ASU, she led constituent relations, university events, the Alumni Association’s student programming and scholarships, and alumni programs. Prior to working at ASU, Serignese served as vice president of communications and special events at the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

“With unparalleled passion for her alma mater, Alissa advocated fiercely for ASU as a senior leader at the Alumni Association and the Office of University Events,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, senior vice president and secretary of the university, and president and CEO of the ASU Alumni Association. “She had a special talent and unique gift for connecting alumni and friends here in the Valley, across the United States and around the world. During her time at ASU, the alumni chapter network expanded from a few to more than 57 chapters and 61 international connections.”  

Serignese played a key role in creating new programs to honor and recognize alumni, including Sun Devil 100, which ranks the fastest growing organizations owned or led by ASU graduates; the ASU Leadership Institute, which fosters professional development for alumni and shares the latest initiatives at the university; and the annual Legends Luncheon, which celebrates the players and coaches of Sun Devil Football.

Through her leadership of the Student Alumni Association, Serignese championed ASU spirit, pride and traditions in generations of Sun Devils. She enjoyed helping new students experience some of ASU’s most beloved traditions, such as painting the “A” on “A” Mountain at the start of the new school year, participating in Homecoming and embracing ASU’s athletic teams.

Serignese was active in the community. She served as a member of the Charter 100 AZ, a nonprofit network organization for women leaders of outstanding accomplishments in diverse fields. In 2019, she was named to the KNOW Tribe, a network of female leaders, creators and entrepreneurs — and that same year, served as a presenter for the International Women’s Day at Women @Amazon and Women @Hyatt Arizona. She was a graduate of Tempe Leadership Class XXV (2009) and a graduate of Gilbert Leadership Class XII (1999). She served as a volunteer with Tempe Sister Cities, the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and the Tempe Coalition. Serignese was a member of the Board of Directors of the Mill Avenue Merchants Association from 2000–04. 

“Alissa leaves behind a tremendous legacy of creating memorable experiences for ASU alumni and friends, engaging with Sun Devils everywhere and fostering Sun Devil pride among students,” Wilkinson said. “She was truly the best of the best, and she will be missed dearly by all whose lives she touched.”

Serignese received her bachelor’s degree from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communications at ASU in 1995, and her master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College in 2017.

She is survived by her father, Herman Serignese, ‘69 BA in education from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College; her mother, Sandra Serignese; her daughter, Gianna Pierson, a freshman at ASU; and two sisters who are also ASU graduates. Serignese and her family have a long legacy at ASU that began when her father was recruited by the legendary Coach Frank Kush to play football.

In honor of their Sun Devil history, the Alissa Serignese Legacy Scholarship has been created in her name. This scholarship will be awarded to current and future Sun Devil family members of ASU graduates to continue the tradition of attending ASU. To donate and learn more about the Alissa Serignese Legacy Scholarship, visit asufoundation.org/Alissa.

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