5th alumni class graduates from ASU Leadership Institute

May 24, 2023

The Arizona State University Alumni Association announced the graduation of 26 Sun Devil alumni from the 2022–23 ASU Leadership Institute program earlier this month.

This is the fifth cohort to complete the nine-month personal and professional development program that takes an in-depth look at the New American University; provides thought-provoking conversations with faculty, staff, deans and leaders throughout the four campuses; and builds a network among a group of alums. ASU Leadership Institute class stands together on the steps of Old Main. The 26 members of the ASU Leadership Institute's fifth cohort at their graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy Tim Trumble Download Full Image

Participants in Class 5 represented varying personal and professional backgrounds, including business leaders, nonprofit executives, community leaders, entrepreneurs, developers and educators. The alums were sponsored by their companies to dedicate one Friday a month to immerse themselves in the ASU Innovation Days. 

During the Innovation Days, key ASU leaders shared conversations about varying aspects of leadership and what it means to be a leader. Speakers included ASU President Michael Crow; James Rund, senior vice president, Educational Outreach and Student Services; Ray Anderson, vice president, University Athletics; Christine Wilkinson, president and CEO, ASU Alumni Association; and Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, special advisor to Crow for leadership initiatives and co-founder of the ASU Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab. 

The program aims to inspire participants and enhance their leadership development; it also prepares them to serve on ASU boards and councils, mentor students and serve as community ambassadors.

During the graduation ceremony held on Friday, May 12, in the Carson Ballroom of Old Main, the class nominated Abhay Khaire, ‘15 MS, to give the graduation remarks on behalf of his cohort. Khaire spoke of his journey to America, attending ASU for his master’s degree in engineering and Class 5’s experiences over the past nine months. 

Ellyse Crow, ASU Alumni association director of affinity programs and ASU Leadership Institute lead, said at the graduation: “Throughout our time together, it has been impactful to watch you grow professionally in your network, personally in your leadership and passionately about your alma mater — Arizona State University.”

Congratulations to the graduates of the ASU Leadership Institute Class 5:

Megan Cesiel, Salt River Project.

Kristina Chumpol, Fiesta Bowl.

Jana Crum, Welby Health.

Wesley Despins, Sundt Construction.

Shannen Falkenrath, LinkedIn.

Chrystine Geele, Sundt Construction.

Angela Gonzales, Bell Bank.

Philip Hensley, JE Dunn Construction.

Christina Hudson, Find180 LLC.

Danita Jackson, Arizona Birth Network.

Amy Johnson, Khan World School at ASU Prep Digital.

Ryan Johnson, Salt River Project.

Maureen Jorden, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center.

Abhay Khaire, Dibble.

Anne Landers, Junior Achievement of Arizona.

Thomas Maynard, Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Adam Mims, Oak View Group.

Thomas Myzia, Kitchell.

William Nolde, DraftKings.

Andrew Ostrander, Ostrander Real Estate Group.

Jared Phelps, Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Jennifer Rearich, Maricopa County Assessor’s Office.

Debbie Smith, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona.

Kelley Tucker, Baker Bros Flooring.

Kaitlyn Wittig, Lauren’s Institute for Education.

Marge Zylla, city of Tempe.

To learn more about the ASU Leadership Institute, visit alumni.asu.edu/engage/leadership-institute. Applications are closed for ASU Leadership Class 6, but the application process for Class 7 will open January 2024.

Morgan Harrison

Vice President, ASU Alumni Association


ASU archaeologist receives prestigious Japanese honor

May 24, 2023

Arizona State University archaeologist Saburo Sugiyama was recently honored with one of Japan’s most prestigious awards.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan honored Sugiyama for his academic work at Teotihuacan — an immense city that flourished in the highlands of central Mexico, near modern Mexico City, from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 650. Sugiyama, a research professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette Research Professor Saburo Sugiyama holding up his award and dressed in a black suit and tie. On May 15, the Japanese emperor gave the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette to ASU Research Professor Saburo Sugiyama. The honor was also signed by the Prime Minister of Japan. Photo courtesy Saburo Sugiyama Download Full Image

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave me this award for the international value of my academic achievements, mainly at Teotihuacan, and cultural, educational activities between Mexico, Japan, the United States and other countries,” Sugiyama said. 

Sugiyama has spent his career researching Mesoamerican social histories, particularly those of Teotihuacan. He recently published a paper about a spider monkey skeleton found in a ceremonial grave at Teotihuacan that shed new light on the politics between Teotihuacan and Maya civilizations. 

Sugiyama said receiving this honor gave him a clearer vision of the order of his work. He also recognizes the support and collaboration from others in the field of archaeology. 

“Teotihuacan is one of the most mysterious ancient cities, symbolically planned to materialize their worldview, astronomy, calendar systems, etc. It's fun exploring profound intelligence, technologies, arts and growing social complex systems with your hands for the first time.”

Sugiyama is also a professor of the Graduate School of International Cultural Studies at Aichi Prefectural University in Japan. He will be curating a special exhibition, “Ancient Mexico: Maya, Aztec, and Teotihuacan,” to be inaugurated at the National Museum of Tokyo next month.

Nicole Pomerantz

Communications specialist, School of Human Evolution and Social Change