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ASU, Mountain America Credit Union reach one of most significant naming-rights deals in college sports

August 2, 2023

Football stadium in Tempe to be called ‘Mountain America Stadium, Home of the ASU Sun Devils’

Arizona State University and Sun Devil Athletics today announced a multi-year naming-rights partnership with Mountain America Credit Union to form one of the most dynamic naming-rights deals in college athletics. 

The 15-year partnership — the most significant in the athletics department's history — includes ASU’s football stadium, which now will be called “Mountain America Stadium, Home of the ASU Sun Devils.”

“The ability to compete at a high level during a transformational time in college athletics requires finding incredible partners who want to invest in our 26 sports, our 650 student-athletes, and our 300-plus staff and coaches,” said Ray Anderson, ASU vice president for university athletics. “An athletic department of nearly 1,000 team members requires incredible amounts of technology, nutrition, mental health resources, travel and other vital parts to win championships. We enthusiastically thank Mountain America Credit Union and look forward to integrating them into so many wonderful memories that will be created at Mountain America Stadium for years to come.”

“This is one of the most important naming-rights deals in the history of college sports, and that speaks to both the power and the future of our brand,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “We are grateful for Mountain America’s investment in our student-athletes and our programs. This agreement creates a pathway to help us compete at the highest levels of athletics in today’s changing environment.”

The partnership continues the momentum surrounding Sun Devil Football after the hiring of Sun Devil graduate Kenny Dillingham, one of eight ASU alumni now leading programs as head coaches at the university. Sun Devil fans have been "Activating the Valley" leading up to the start of the 2023 college football season, as over 90% of football season tickets have been renewed and 4,000 new season tickets have been sold. And now, with the record-breaking naming partnership and comprehensive relationship with Mountain America for at least 15 years, numerous Olympic sports teams will be showcased, and multiple areas of the fan experience, from in-stadium entertainment to digital marketing, will be impacted.

“Mountain America Credit Union is pleased to expand our partnership with Sun Devil Athletics and introduce the Mountain America Stadium,” said Sterling Nielsen, president and CEO of Mountain America Credit Union. “This new partnership allows Mountain America to support hundreds of student-athletes and the Arizona community for many years to come through enhanced scholarship, internship and cause marketing programs.” 

Other college football stadiums with naming-rights deals currently in place include:

  • San Diego State (Snapdragon Stadium)
  • Louisville (L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium)
  • UCF (FBC Mortgage Stadium)
  • Kentucky (Kroger Field)
  • Houston (TDECU Stadium)
  • Minnesota (Huntington Bank Stadium)
  • Rutgers (SHI Stadium)
  • Maryland (SECU Stadium)
  • Texas Tech (Jones AT&T Stadium)
  • Vanderbilt (FirstBank Stadium)
  • Syracuse (JMA Wireless Dome)

Several Pac-12 institutions also have a major corporate presence with their stadiums, including USC (United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum), the University of Washington (Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium) and Washington State University (Gesa Field at Martin Stadium).

Mountain America already is an integral part of Sun Devil Athletics, as the Mountain America Community Iceplex at ASU serves as the training center and practice rink for the ASU Division I men’s ice hockey team, as well as a community ice rink featuring a 200- by 85-foot ice surface with a 300-person capacity. Mountain America also is a founding partner of Mullett Arena.

Now called Mountain America Stadium, the stadium has hosted Sun Devil football contests for decades, including the game on Sept. 21, 1996, when the playing surface was named Frank Kush Field as ASU beat top-ranked Nebraska 19–0. The stadium hosted four football national championship games, and in 1996 played host to the NFL's ultimate showcase: the Super Bowl. It was home to the Fiesta Bowl for 35 years and to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals for 18 seasons, as both Jake Plummer and Pat Tillman played college and NFL games in the same home stadium. The stadium also hosted U2, Pelé, the pope and the president of the United States. Learn more about the history at

RELATED: See more photos of Mountain America Stadium through the years

Top photo courtesy Sun Devil Athletics

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Einstein connects ASU professor, Holocaust survivor

August 2, 2023

Through brilliant new Webb Telescope images, researchers share proof of Albert Einstein theory with Arizona resident who met him 80 years ago

Werner Salinger is one of the few people still living who can recall talking to and being with Albert Einstein.

“He loved — just loved — being with kids. I was just a kid to him, you know?” Salinger says.

Salinger is now 92 years old. Born in Berlin, he survived the Holocaust when he and his parents fled Germany in 1939. But their escape would take the life of his mother, who contracted tuberculosis on their ship voyage to New York. A year later, he was living in Princeton, New Jersey.

Salinger’s grandmother was a friend of Frau Helen Dukas, Einstein’s secretary. When she would visit Princeton, Salinger’s grandmother would walk Werner down Mercer Street to the house where Einstein lived and worked. It was the early 1940s; World War II. Einstein himself had already fled Nazi Germany for the United States and Princeton years before the Salingers.

“He would take me by the hand and walk me through his garden,” Salinger says, “then back to his study, where he had a violin up on the wall. And he would take the violin down and play it for me.”  

Salinger could not have known it then, but this was also a time when Einstein was doing important work about physics, gravity, time and relativity. 

For example, work about distant gravitationally lensing clusters — where the gravitational pull of galaxies can be powerful enough to bend light shining from objects behind them.  

“These would be able to magnify and curve the image of galaxies behind the cluster,” says Rogier Windhorst, a Regents Professor at Arizona State University.

Windhorst was born in 1955, the same year Einstein died. But Einstein — both the man and his ideas — are now the connection between Salinger and Windhorst. The two happened to meet recently while speaking to a high school assembly.

Salinger, who lives in Gold Canyon, Arizona, was there to speak to students about the Holocaust; Windhorst, to speak about astrophysics. 

Windhorst is among the leading scientists unraveling the science behind the stunning images coming from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. It’s work that draws on Einstein’s ideas. So Windhorst invited Salinger to view large, new prints of some of the most impressive galaxies and clusters, including shots that show the gravitational lensing Einstein anticipated.

The strange effect can help scientists.

“Einstein predicted that these clusters would be able to magnify and curve images of galaxies behind the clusters,” Windhorst says. “Einstein got it exactly right in his prediction, but he doubted that it could ever be observed.”

Salinger, Windhorst and the rest of the world are now seeing some of what Einstein thought would never be seen, thanks to Webb.

“The way that these clusters of galaxies modify the images of the distant objects is just out of this world,” Windhorst says. “They get literally ‘spagettified’ into strings and pencils and weird-looking things.”

One of the strangest is “El Anzuelo” (the fishhook) — an image of a bright orange galaxy in the "El Gordo" galaxy cluster, pulled into a horseshoe shape by Einstein’s gravitational lensing.

MORE: Webb Telescope's gravitational lens reveals distant objects behind 'El Gordo' galaxy cluster

ASU postdoctoral researcher Patrick Kamieneski is on Windhorst’s Webb Telescope science team. He has used computational software to undo the bending and render what this galaxy looks like without the effects of gravity.

“It gets all distorted, and we have to account for that,” Kamieneski says. “But when we (unbend it), we can see the background object (in this case "El Anzuelo") at even higher resolution than Webb can give us, even on its own.”

“I call it Einstein’s fish hook,” Windhorst says.

He and the Webb Telescope team from the ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration shared their explanations with Salinger about what is going on in the images.

“I think it’s fair to say we were showing Werner Salinger what was in Einstein’s head when he met Einstein in the 1940s, in Princeton,” Windhorst says. “Einstein never lived to see these images, but he knew his theory was right. Werner was amazed to see these pictures. Einstein never got to see it, but Werner Salinger did.”

Steve Filmer

Manager , Media Relations and Strategic Communications