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ASU Alumni Association announces Founders’ Day 60th anniversary honorees


Audience seated at round tables in a large room with a stage and a screen that reads "Founders' Day."

A room of 900 alumni, community members, business leaders, ASU executives and supporters of the university at the 2023 Founders' Day dinner. Photo courtesy the ASU Alumni Association

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February 05, 2024

The ASU Alumni Association is proud to announce honorees for this year’s 60th anniversary of Founders' Day, Arizona State University's signature event that honors the changemakers who exemplify the pioneering leaders who founded the university's predecessor, the Tempe Normal School.

The annual Founders’ Day celebration honors alumni, faculty and philanthropists who are ASU’s outspoken advocates for academic excellence and inclusivity in higher education. In recognition of this year’s 60th Founders’ Day, honorees include entrepreneurs, researchers and service leaders who demonstrate what is possible as a Sun Devil.

The event commemorates the anniversary of the day that the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature issued a charter for the school on March 7, 1885, planting the seeds of what has grown into a leading public research university recognized by renowned rankings publications and services.

Faculty, staff, students and community members are all invited to join ASU President Michael Crow, the ASU Alumni Association, community leaders, alumni and this year’s award recipients at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, to celebrate the 2024 Founders’ Day at the Omni Tempe Hotel at ASU, located at 7 E. University Dr. in Tempe. Register for the event here.

“It is a privilege to recognize the accomplishments of this group of visionary changemakers who represent the pioneering spirit of our founders,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the ASU Alumni Association. “Their achievements contribute to ASU’s role as a leader in innovation, sustainability and student success, and as the model of the New American University.”

Meet the 2024 Founders’ Day honorees:

ASU President’s Club

Logo for ASU President's Club.
  • Philanthropist of the Year Award.
  • Forty years ago, to increase funding for the university, ASU President J. Russell Nelson and ASU Foundation President Lonnie Ostrom created the ASU President’s Club. What started as a small group of ASU advocates has grown to a contingent of over 500 active President’s Club innovators and includes President’s Club Young Leaders, business professionals 40 years and younger eager to advance the ASU vision of a New American University. ASU President’s Club has had a transformative impact on the university community and the globe in its 40 years. Projects like the Biodesign Institute, the ASU California Center, Dreamscape, the ASU-Mayo Clinic partnership, SolarSPELL and a partnership with Tecnologico de Monterrey were either started or accelerated, along with an expanded ASU presence in Hawaii, California, Korea and Europe, in part with support from ASU President’s Club.

Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman, ‘70 BS in business

Portrait of Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman.
Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman
  • Alumni Achievement Award.
  • Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman parlayed a successful athletic career as ASU’s quarterback and left-handed pitcher into a lifetime of exemplary service and leadership. A Vietnam War draftee, Goodman served in the U.S. Army and earned accolades like the Soldier's Medal, the Bronze Star with a "V" Device and the esteemed Purple Heart. Upon his 2008 retirement, Goodman remained intent on serving, transitioning into a role as the director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. His contributions continued from 2013 through the summer of 2023 when he served as the senior advisor and subject matter expert with the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Kentaro Kawamori, ‘15 MBA

Portrait of Kentaro Kawamori.
Kentaro Kawamori
  • Young Alumni Achievement Award.
  • Kentaro Kawamori has positioned himself at the forefront of one of the world’s most pressing issues as the co-founder of Persefoni, a leading company in the climate technology space that allows corporations to enable effective climate management strategies. His leadership has helped Persefoni land strategic partnerships with industry giants like AWS, Deloitte and IBM. Kawamori’s innovation and expertise has resulted in numerous accolades in his young career, including being featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020 and being named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022. Fast Company added to his growing legacy by ranking Persefoni No. 2 in its list of the World's Most Innovative Companies in 2023.

Ferran Garcia-Pichel

Portrait of Ferran Garcia-Pichel
Ferran Garcia-Pichel
  • Faculty Research Achievement Award.
  • Ferran Garcia-Pichel's highly successful career spans more than two decades in microbiology, largely focusing on the roles, adaptations and impacts of microbes in diverse natural environments, ranging from arid desert soils to shallow marine waters. In conjunction with his research, Garcia-Pichel is also a dedicated faculty member, overseeing courses on campus in microbiology, microbial ecology and geomicrobiology, helping contribute significantly to ASU’s research landscape. His work has led to numerous accolades and recognitions, including being named as the Faculty Exemplar at ASU (2004), an elected fellow for the American Academy of Microbiology (2010) and a finalist for the Arizona Governor’s Innovation Award (2018).

Wendy Peia Oakes, ‘09 PhD in curriculum and instruction

Portrait of Wendy Peia Oakes.
Wendy Piea Oakes
  • Faculty Service Achievement Award.
  • An ASU alumna, whose focus is on special education and emotional and behavioral disorders, and a seasoned educator with over 30 years of experience, Oakes’ professional career has been defined by outstanding dedication to students with disabilities. Her work has centered on examining issues of teachers' sense of efficacy, specifically related to comprehensive, integrated, three-tiered (Ci3T) models of prevention, classroom management and evidence-based practices for addressing the needs of children with the most challenging behaviors. Oakes has been extensively involved with a number of national boards and committees committed to special education, including the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), where she has served as president for the CEC’s Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders and the CEC’s Division for Research.

Gina Woodall, ‘99 BS in political science; ‘01 MA in political science; ‘05 PhD in political science

Portrait of Gina Woodall.
Gina Woodall

Faculty Teaching Achievement Award.

A committed educator and a consummate Sun Devil, Gina Woodall has devoted her career to shaping the minds of her students. Her teaching interests are diverse yet impactful, mainly focusing on the complex issues surrounding both political disinformation and misinformation, as well as exploring the role of women in politics. A strong proponent for real-world exposure, Woodall is a consistent connection to professionals and alumni in both Arizona and the Washington, D.C., areas in an effort to help students take the next steps in their young careers. She currently serves as the director for the Capital Scholars Internship Program and as a lead faculty member for the School of Politics and Global Studies' Early Start Program, demonstrating a clear commitment to preparing students for impactful careers within the political and global spaces.

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