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2023 in review: ASU's top stories

As the sun sets on this year, ASU News is spotlighting some of the top stories from the past 12 months

An ASU sign stands silhouetted against a sunset as traffic lights zoom by in the foreground
December 21, 2023

It has been a year of big announcements at Arizona State University — a medical school, a microelectronics hub, membership in the Association of American Universities and plenty of high-powered, high-impact research. 

So let's take a moment to revisit some of the top stories from around the ASU community in 2023.


The year started strong with online programs ranked among best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. ASU research also gained interest nationally, from new approaches to education to forensic bugs.


ChatGPT started making headlines, with ASU experts weighing in on the potential benefits and concerns. (Read more about artificial intelligence on the ASU News website.) In other news, ASU added a ninth design aspiration, and the Super Bowl involved Sun Devils in all sorts of ways.


ASU at Lake Havasu celebrated 10 years — making it just slightly younger than an ASU Online student gaining national notice for her smarts and her work paving the way for young STEM students. (She graduated at age 15 this December, with plans to begin pursuing her PhD next fall.) The West campus expanded, and the ASU community mourned former Navajo Nation President and ASU alum Peterson Zah.


The rankings piled up this month, with ASU in the top 10 among U.S. universities granted U.S. utility patents14 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide; and ASU’s sustainability practices earning a No. 1 ranking from an esteemed higher-education rating system. Elsewhere, a college reorganized and a residence hall was named after a former mayor.


About 19,700 ASU students earned a total of nearly 20,500 degrees at spring commencement, with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy urging new grads at Undergraduate Commencement to "put people first." An ASU-published story also gained notice from Hollywood and will be adapted into a film to be directed by Ben Stiller. 


Some major news this month, as ASU announced it was launching a medical school, and the university joined the prestigious Association of American Universities. Sun Devils also got a jump on the dog days of summer with research in action making a dog park cooler and a survey that shows "running with the pack" may be key to healthier living for canines.


Things kept heating up this month, with Sherine Gabriel tapped to lead ASU Health, ASU's Sol supercomputer was listed among the top-performing supercomputers globally and the world registered the hottest day on record.  


16-year-old nursing student made history at ASU, hip-hop turned 50, and a psychology class about Taylor Swift gained notice from national media.


ASU was named among the top 20 public universities in the Wall Street Journal’s Best Colleges in the U.S. for 2024, the university earned the top spot for innovation for the ninth straight year, and ASU was selected by the Department of Defense to lead a Microelectronics Commons hub.


Sun Devils cheered on the Arizona Diamondbacks during their World Series run (and got in some snake trivia), the W. P. Carey School of Business celebrated 20 years since its endowment, and the Downtown Phoenix campus was chosen for the future medical school. Another campus was renamed, a space mission took to the stars and ASU gained another MacArthur "genius grant" awardee.


ASU ranked in top 5 for inventions, patents, patent deals and startups; the university was named the top public university choice for international students for the third straight year; the Biodesign Institute began its yearlong 20th anniversary celebration; and Ray Anderson stepped down as athletic director. The U.S. surgeon general returned to speak to students about loneliness, and one ASU audience got a sneak peek of a musical about food banks.


More than 11,000 ASU students graduated this fall, with President Michael Crow urging the new grads to be “soldiers for the future.” The Morrison School of Agribusiness celebrated 25 years, and ISTB12 had its ceremonial groundbreaking, promising to be a major economic boost in the region. And a Phoenix Suns uniform and a hydration vest — both designed by ASU faculty or staff — made headlines.

Top photo by Chris Goulet/Arizona State University

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