image title

Spring 2023 grads ready to make a global impact

April 28, 2023

More than 20K ASU degrees will be conferred this May

On May 8, Arizona State University will launch a new group of aspiring professionals ready to take on the world as graduates during spring commencements. More than 20,000 degrees will be conferred to students from a variety of disciplines, such as anthropology, biomimicry, linguistics, neuroscience and more.

Where are they coming from?

Students come from all over the world to attend ASU, which had a 59% increase in international students since May 2022. According to the Office of the University Provost, students enrolled at ASU represent more than 158 countries.

Digital immersion students are also up. ASU Online has more than 300 degree programs to offer prospective students, and the university has seen an increase of 5% in ASU Online students this semester. More than 6,000 online students having applied to graduate this spring. 

The university has seen a 22% increase in students pursuing on-campus graduate degrees. ASU has 14 of the top graduate programs in the nation, according to recent U.S. News & World Report ranking, including a master's in homeland security, which is ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row.

READ MORE: Spotlighting ASU's notable grads for spring 2023 

Big festivities and big names

This year’s graduation ceremonies will take place May 6–12, with the main undergraduate and graduate commencements on May 8.

The graduate ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. May 8 at Desert Financial Arena. Veteran broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, the senior correspondent for “PBS NewsHour,” will give the graduate commencement address. Woodruff has covered politics and other news for more than four decades at CNN, NBC and PBS.

The undergraduate ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. May 8 at Sun Devil Stadium, and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy will deliver the keynote address. Murthy has served in his current role for two administrations — first as the 19th surgeon general of the United States under President Barack Obama and currently as the 21st, under President Joe Biden. As the vice admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Murthy commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers.

Both speakers will receive honorary degrees.

READ MORE: Surgeon general, veteran broadcast journalist to speak at ASU's spring 2023 commencement

Know before you go

Nearly 30,000 guests are expected to attend the the graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies, according to Melissa Goitia Werner, executive director in the Office of University Events and Protocol, who has planned and executed commencement ceremonies for nearly 25 years.

The university also hosts several special interest and college convocations throughout the week. Learn more about all of ASU's convocations.

ASU has a clear bag policy at venues. Attendees can also carry in clear, factory-sealed bottles of water (51 oz./1.5 liters or smaller) and empty plastic sports bottles to use at water stations. It is recommended to arrive early to allow for parking, walking and seating. 

Get more tips on what you should know before you go and visit the commencement FAQs for additional information.

More resources

• Find backgrounds, social media filters and more on the virtual graduation toolkit page.

• Learn how how to dress for graduation.

• Find out the history and the meaning behind the regalia of ASU's commencement.

Top photo: Master's degree in accountancy graduates Hana Kim, from Seoul, South Korea, and Reneez Ho, from Los Angeles, pose for graduation pictures on Thursday, April 13, by the 2023 monument in front of Old Main on the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/Arizona State University.

Senior media relations officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

The legacy of ASU's 'ant man'

Renowned behavioral biologist, social insect researcher Bert Hölldobler retires after 19 years at ASU

April 28, 2023

Born in Germany, Bert Hölldobler received degrees in biology and chemistry at the University of Würzburg in 1962. His doctoral thesis was on the social behavior of the male carpenter ant and their role in the organization of carpenter ant societies — and the rest is history.

Hölldobler, university professor of life sciences and a Regents and Foundation Professor in the School of Life Sciences, will retire after 19 years of service at Arizona State University, and a lifetime of service and scholarship on the dynamics of social structures and the evolution of animal societies. Bert Hölldobler sits with hands folded and listens intently. Bert Hölldobler at his retirement celebration on Thursday, April 27. Photo courtesy Meghan Finnerty/ASU. Download Full Image

Friends and colleagues celebrated Hölldobler’s work and legacy at a retirement celebration on Thursday, April 27.

Along with over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts and several books, his co-authored work “The Ants” won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. His research was the subject of the documentary film “Ants — Nature's Secret Power,” which won the 2005 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Special Jury Prize. His recent co-authored work "The Guests of Ants: How Myrmecophiles Interact With Their Hosts" was named a finalist for the 2023 PROSE Awards

Hölldobler taught at the University of Frankfurt, Harvard and Cornell before joining the School of Life Sciences at ASU in 2004. 

During his time at ASU, he received the 2016 Lorenz Oken Medal, the highest recognition bestowed by the German Association for the Advancement of Science and Medicine, in recognition of his ability to talk about his life’s passion and foster a public dialogue around science.

“Without communication there is no cooperation or division of labor in any social system, be it a society of genes, organelles, cells or organisms,” Hölldobler said, commenting on the award. “My work is to disentangle the complex communication system in ant societies and through that discover and share much about ourselves.”

In 2019, Hölldobler earned the German Entomological Society’s most prestigious award, the Fabricius Medal. The award recognized his "outstanding scientific contributions in the field of behavioral physiology and sociobiology, in particular his pioneering work to our understanding of the behavioral ecology and social behavior of ants.”

Hölldobler and Provost Emeritus Robert E. Page founded ASU’s Social Insect Research Group, an internationally acclaimed research group that studies the evolution and organization of insect societies, and the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity. In 2021, he was appointed as the inaugural Robert A. Johnson Chair in Social Insect Research at ASU. 

“I have been lucky in my life and career to know Bert Hölldobler as a close friend and as a colleague,” Page said. “As a friend, he has been generous, committed and supportive. As a colleague, he has inspired me in so many ways as a model scientist, mentor, disciplinary pathfinder, academic program builder and a true celebrity scientist.”

Hölldobler is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, among several other prestigious academic associations. 

“ASU has been incredibly fortunate to have Bert Hölldobler as a part of our community for 19 years,” said Kenro Kusumi, dean of natural sciences at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “His research, teaching and public outreach will leave a lasting impact on our university, especially how studying the organization of insect societies can help us explore social evolution, superorganisms, behavioral ecology and much more.”

Lauren Whitby

Digital Marketing Manager, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences