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2022 in review: ASU's top stories

A closeup of a tassel hanging from a graduation cap with a 2022 charm
December 16, 2022

With the full return to campus, in-person commencements, a lively Homecoming and buildings opening near and far, time seems to be moving awfully fast these days. The close of the year is a good time to take a moment to appreciate all that the Arizona State University community has achieved and experienced in 2022.

So stay out of the chilly weather, pour a cup of something warm and enjoy many of the notable moments from the past year.


While some news from the previous month continued to get lots of notice — such as the arrival of the Afghan students and NASA awarding $130 million to the Orbital Reef space station — January held plenty of news of its own, including ASU again ranking among the nation's top research universities. New faces joined the Sun Devil community while ASU honored the legacy of those we lost near and far.


Russia's invasion of Ukraine this month had us turning to many of our experts for help in understanding the context, the trauma, the politics and more.


Though ISTB7 would have its grand opening later in the year, we were introduced to its architecture bridging our past to our thriving future this month. We also as a community began learning about ASU's Science and Technology Centers, a key component of the New Economy Initiative.


As the university neared commencement time, we began celebrating notable graduates, including one student who was earning five bachelor's degrees and another who was the designer behind the iconic "No Pity for the Kitty" T-shirts. We also toured a newly renovated and rededicated Durham Hall.


A month marked by exciting moments — including ASU's first in-person spring commencement since 2019 and a new dawn for supercomputing at the university — also saw its share of losses. The ASU community mourned several deaths, including those of a promising young scholar and a noted paleoanthropologist.


The supply chain continued to have hiccups — the latest shortages being tampons and fireworks — while the Interplanetary Initiative honored one underresourced Guatemalan team's very big accomplishment.


The Sun Devil community welcomed eight new Flinn Scholars and mourned the passing of Lonnie Ostrom, remembered for his service to students, colleagues and donors. Meanwhile, the rise of monkeypox around the world left people with many questions; an ASU epidemiologist had answers.


ASU set new records with its fall enrollment as the Arizona Board of Regents celebrated President Michael Crow's first 20 years as ASU president with accolades, testimonials and a new title. Meanwhile, generous gifts expanded the reach of the Luminosity Lab and the Department of English's creative writing program to underserved students.


In other places, this month heralds the start of autumn with changing leaves and crisp weather. But here at ASU, September marks the season of innovation rankings — this year, the university was named No. 1 in innovation for an eighth straight year. It was a banner month, as ASU also was ranked eighth worldwide for utility patents, earned its second Seal of Excelencia certification and was awarded the lead of a new National Science Foundation I-Corps Hub.


ASU was named a top university for community and national service this month. Sun Devils put that spirit of service to work in many ways, including creating an app to help caregivers at this year's Hacks for Humanity event.


ASU continued its efforts to serve students, including ranking No. 1 in the U.S. for hosting international students and exploring new ways offer military students a seamless entry into university. And the community was again hit hard by loss, marking the passing of generous philanthropist Leo Beus and Nobel-winning economist Edward Prescott.


Sun Devils were hard at work to close out the year, and a rainy forecast turned into gorgeous skies for the fall commencement. December also brought a slew of space stories, including a rundown of Mastcam-Z's latest discoveries, research on the faint "ghost light" around our solar system and a study on stunning galaxy views taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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