Mark your calendars for the 2017 Spring Game and Fan Fest

April 4, 2017

Mark your calendars for the 2017 Spring Game and Fan Fest on Saturday, April 15 at Sun Devil Stadium. Fan Fest opens at 12:30 p.m. in the Gold lot between Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium. Head into Sun Devil Stadium at 2 p.m. to get your first look at the 2017 Sun Devil Football team and all the new faces of the program.

Admission and parking are free. Click here for more information. Download Full Image

ASU appoints Josh LaBaer as new Biodesign Institute executive director

March 30, 2017

Arizona State University announced today that Joshua LaBaer, a leading researcher in cancer and personalized medicine, has been appointed the new executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, effective April 1.

“Josh’s solutions-oriented research and innovative leadership make him uniquely qualified to guide the Biodesign Institute on its revolutionary path,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “In many ways, Josh’s career trajectory has paralleled ASU’s own rapid rise through the research ranks to achieve national recognition for innovation, entrepreneurship and impact on the communities we serve. I have no doubt he’ll take the Biodesign Institute to new levels of success.”  Joshua LaBaer has been appointed the new executive director for the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Download Full Image

LaBaer, who was recently honored with the Faculty Research Achievement Award by ASU Alumni on Founders’ Day, is one of the nation’s foremost investigators, recognized for his groundbreaking work in personalized medicine. His efforts involve the discovery and validation of biomarkers — unique molecular fingerprints of disease — that can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to work with such outstanding and innovative colleagues. I am very excited about the future and our chance to grow the Institute and to have an impact by improving our community and our world,” LaBaer said.

LaBaer, an Arizona and Phoenix native who was educated at Washington High School in Phoenix, was recruited from Harvard to ASU in 2009 to lead the Biodesign Institute’s efforts in personalized medicine as ASU’s first Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine and director of the Biodesign Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

As the executive director of the Biodesign Institute, LaBaer will guide its talented researchers, who are pioneers of a dynamic new academic research model and hub of 21st-century innovation. 

The Biodesign Institute’s convergent technologies and fields of research focus on biomedicine and health outcomes, sustainability and security. Created on the premise that scientists can overcome complex societal issues by reimagining the “design rules” found in nature, the institute’s researchers are addressing an expansive array of global challenges by creating “bio-inspired” solutions, including: new vaccine discovery and delivery; early detection and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases; techniques for detecting and removing contaminants from air and water; and the application of nanotechnology for biomedicine and electronics.

“The Biodesign Institute is known for pioneering world-class, cutting-edge research,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU. “With an innovative leader such as Josh LaBaer at its helm, the Institute is poised to take on broader challenges in health, sustainability and national security through cross-disciplinary research and strategic partnerships.”

Using new high-throughput technologies, his team advanced the discipline of functional proteomics, which seeks to understand the roles of all the proteins made in the human body.

His group invented a novel protein microarray technology, Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Array, which has been used widely for biomedical research, including discoveries of a panel of biomarkers that may aid the early diagnosis of breast cancer.

They also developed new technologies to discover new disease targets, including the identification of blood-borne markers to discover the molecular signatures of the autoimmune cause of Type I diabetes as well as identification of markers for Crohn’s disease.

An underpinning of this work has been the creation of vast repositories of protein expression-ready clones for genes in human and other commonly studied organisms that are maintained in a rapid-access storage facility and usable in the widest possible range of experimental protocols.

LaBaer was an early initiator and leader of the effort to build fully sequence-verified recombination-based clone sets for human genes and other model organisms now managed in an automated repository with more than 250,000 samples, which are openly shared with the scientific community.

Prior to his time at ASU, LaBaer created the Institute of Proteomics as a research program within the Harvard Medical School to promote collaborative, open-access research and discoveries.

He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a clinical fellowship in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both in Boston. He is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and was an Instructor and Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

LaBaer attended the University of California at Berkeley as an undergraduate Regents Scholar and completed medical school and graduate school at the University of California, San Francisco, where he studied steroid regulation of DNA transcription and protein-DNA interactions.

He has contributed more than 150 original research publications, reviews and chapters. LaBaer is an associate editor of the Journal of Proteome Research, a member of the board of directors for the American Type Culture Collection, and is a member of the scientific advisory boards for the Provista Dx, Promega Corporation, iNanoBio, Barnett Institute, Global Biological Standards Institute, and the Dorothy Foundation. He also is a recent member of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors, is chair of the National Cancer Institute Early Detections Research Network Steering Committee, and is a founding member and served as the recent president of the U.S. Human Proteome Organization.

Since its inception in 2003, the Biodesign Institute has attracted more than $500 million in external funding from competitive grant awards as well as support from philanthropic and industry sources. In 2009, the institute won Arizona’s “Excellence in Economic Development Award” for its innovative contributions to the state’s economic growth. After its first full decade of operations since its research facility opened, Biodesign has had a $1.5 billion impact on the regional economy and supported more than 3,000 jobs.

Most recently, in the fiscal year 2016, Biodesign researchers received nearly $40 million in annual award funding for research activities. Working in an entrepreneurial culture, its researchers have generated 50 annual invention disclosures and patents and fostered more than a dozen spinout companies.

Joe Caspermeyer

Manager (natural sciences), Media Relations & Strategic Communications


ASU Gammage announces 2017-2018 Broadway season

March 28, 2017

ASU Gammage has announced its historic 2017-2018 Desert Schools Federal Credit Union Broadway Across America – Arizona season. The season is anchored by "Hamilton" and includes award-winning musicals, classics and the newest hits from Broadway.

The season features the last two Tony Award winners for Best Musical, "Hamilton" and "Fun Home," as well as Best Revival winners "The Color Purple" and "The King and I." The season also includes 2016’s Tony Award-winning Best Play "The Humans" along with other favorite musicals "The Bodyguard," "Something Rotten!" and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "School of Rock." 2017-2018 Gammage Season Download Full Image

The season also includes two special engagements with favorites Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "Cinderella" and the classic "Les Misérables." 

“We have a winning combination of shows on our biggest season ever,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack executive director of ASU Gammage and ASU vice president for cultural affairs. “It’s a season of firsts — with it being the largest season subscription in ASU Gammage history and the honor of bringing "Hamilton" to the Valley for its first engagement on a college campus. We pride ourselves in being innovative by presenting something for everyone.This season is an embarrassment of riches, and we’re loving every minute of it.” 

Current season ticket holders can renew their subscription now. New season subscriptions go on sale Monday, May 15 and start at $190 available at and

The best way to guarantee tickets to "Hamilton" is to purchase a season subscription. Subscribers who renew their subscription for the 2017-2018 season will be able to guarantee their seats for the premiere Tempe engagement of "Hamilton" before tickets become available to the general public. 

The 2017-2018 season includes:

"Fun Home" Sept. 5–10, 2017

The winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical, "Fun Home" is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. This groundbreaking production introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family that connect with her in surprising new ways.

"Something Rotten!" Oct. 31–Nov 5, 2017

Direct from Broadway, "Something Rotten!" is a “big, fat hit!” according to the New York Post. Set in the ‘90s — the 1590s — it tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom (Tony nominee Rob McClure and Broadway’s Josh Grisetti), two brothers who are desperate to write their own hit play while the "rock star" Shakespeare (Tony nominee Adam Pascal) keeps getting all the hits. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first "Musical!" 

"The Bodyguard" Nov. 28–Dec. 3, 2017 

Based on the smash hit film, the award-winning musical tells the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. "The Bodyguard" features classics including "Queen of the Night," "So Emotional," "One Moment in Time," "Saving All My Life," "Run to You," "I Have Nothing," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and one of the biggest selling songs of all time — "I Will Always Love You."

"Hamilton" Jan. 30–Feb. 25, 2018

"Hamilton" is the story of America's founding father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first treasury secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, "Hamilton" is the story of America then, as told by America now.  

"Hamilton's" creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award-winning Best Musical "In the Heights."

"Hamilton" features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey & Company, Bethany Knox, CSA.

The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.

"The King and I" March 20–25, 2018

From Rodgers and Hammerstein, "The King and I" boasts a score that features such classics as "Getting to Know You," "Hello Young Lovers," "Shall We Dance," "I Have Dreamed" and "Something Wonderful." Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. 

"The Color Purple" April 17–22, 2018

"The Color Purple" is the 2016 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical Revival. Directed by Tony-winner John Doyle, its a re-imagining of an epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South. With a score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, "The Color Purple" gives new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story. 

"The Humans" May 29–June 3, 2018

Stephen Karam’s "The Humans," is an uproarious, hopeful and heart-breaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex, and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed, with humor and compassion, in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play.

"School of Rock" June 19–24, 2018 

"School of Rock" is a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Based on the hit film, this musical follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star turned substitute teacher who transforms a class of straight-A students into grade-A rockers. It features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever live kids rock band

Season special engagements include: 

"Cinderella" Dec. 19–24, 2017

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "Cinderella" is the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical from the creators of "The Sound of Music" and "South Pacific." The production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love — the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more — plus some surprising new twists. Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including "In My Own Little Corner" "Impossible/It's Possible" and "Ten Minutes Ago."

"Les Misérables" May 15–20, 2018

Cameron Mackintosh presents a brand new 25th anniversary production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical, "Les Misérables" with new staging and reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. This new production has been acclaimed by critics, fans and new audiences and is breaking box office records wherever it goes. The New York Times calls this "Les Misérables" “an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish.” The London Times hails the new show “a five star hit, astonishingly powerful.” 

ASU earns Best of Green Schools honor

University's efforts in sustainability education with middle and high school students among programs highlighted by award

March 22, 2017

Planting the sustainability seed early is key for lifelong awareness, and Arizona State University’s efforts to do that with community education were recognized Wednesday with a 2017 Best of Green Schools award from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network.

The annual Best of Green Schools awards recognize 11 individuals, institutions, projects and events representing the best environmental efforts in schools across the country. ASU was honored in the higher-education category. Vegetables harvested from the ASU Poly Garden The ASU Poly Garden leases three of its 48 campus-community garden plots to ASU Preparatory Academy’s sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms and high school environmental science students each semester. To date, the students have donated more than 135 pounds of produce — such as these items harvested there this spring — to a local food bank. Photo by Ken Fagan/ASU Now Download Full Image

“Arizona State University continues to raise the bar in sustainability education and leadership,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools. “We believe that every student across the country should have the opportunity to learn in and from a green school environment, and ASU is making that happen in its community every day.”

The award highlighted ASU’s variety of programs for middle and high school students, such as the Poly Garden, which leases three of its 48 campus-community garden plots to ASU Preparatory Academy’s sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms and high school environmental science students each semester. To date, the students have logged approximately 2,400 hours in the garden and donated more than 135 pounds of produce to a local food bank.

“When students engage with the entire process of gardening from soil preparation to planting seeds to harvest, it gives them a unique sense of accomplishment and a true understanding of where food really comes from,” said Susan Norton, program manager for University Sustainability Practices and Poly Garden manager. “It generates firsthand respect for our entire food system.

Norton said that students need to engage with nature “to be able to make the connections as to why resource conservation is so important for a healthy and secure lifestyle.”

Also spotlighted were the university’s two sustainability education programs targeted toward K-12 teachers, the Sustainability Science Education program and Sustainability Teachers' Academy.

“While the urgency of environmental issues requires ASU to continue leading with improvements to its own operations and practices, it is the younger generations who are going to innovate and transform society’s depleting practices into regenerative opportunities,” said Mick Dalrymple, director of University Sustainability Practices at ASU. “It is an honor to support programs such as these that encourage the creativity and connection with nature that will help children develop tomorrow’s solutions.”

The award honorees were announced at the Green Schools Conference and Expo in Atlanta.

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ASU community invited to make a difference on Sun Devil Giving Day

Small gifts can make a big impact for Sun Devil Giving Day campaign.
March 16, 2017

5th annual fundraiser focuses on small donations that add up to big results, university looks to top 3,000 donors

You can’t turn around at Arizona State University without finding a building, school or professorship named for a generous donor who’s invested millions into the mission.

But some of the most vital work done at ASU is sustained by tiny donations that, added up, transform the lives of students, faculty and community members. Small sums of money can keep students who face hardship from dropping out, advance ground-breaking research and pay for programs that send students and faculty into the community to help people who need it most.

The theme of many individuals joining forces to help ASU is especially relevant for the fifth annual Sun Devil Giving Day on Friday because the university is in the midst of Campaign ASU 2020, an effort to raise $1.5 billion with the motto, “Together, Our Potential is Limitless.”

“The day is about continuing that tradition of generosity by asking alumni, family, friends, students and faculty to get involved in giving back to ASU,” according to Tiffany Khan, director of Sun Devil Giving, a division of the ASU Foundation for a New American University.

Rather than setting an amount goal, the university is hoping to increase the number of donors — no matter how much they give, Khan said. Last year, 2,548 donors raised $4,038,081.

“Last year, we wanted 2,000 pledges and we crossed that 2,500 line, so this year we’re hoping to pass 3,000 donors,” she said.

Donors can choose to donate to any part of ASU, such as college units, research centers, scholarships or athletics. Gifts can be designated to an area most in need or to a specific area, such as the Center for Meteorite Studies.

Private donations have a wide impact:

• Andrea Valentin-Hickey, a speech and hearing sciences student, doesn’t have a car but was able to work on her thesis for Barrett, The Honors College, thanks to the Jose Franco & Francisca Ocampo Quesada Research Award. The gift pays cab fare for Valentin-Hickey to travel to different schools for her research project on a reading program for English language learners.  

• Three students in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law were named Sun Devil Giving Scholars — receiving scholarships made up entirely of donations of less than $100. One of the students, Cara James, is a first-generation college student who hopes to represent poor people in the area of family and housing law.

• Elizabeth Garbee, a doctoral student in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, received a $2,200 Advancement Award to fund part of her dissertation, which is exploring the value of doctorate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. This is the first time the award was given, and she said it’ll be a “huge jump-start” on her project. The grant will pay for a student to help her gather a survey sample of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students.

“What we’re finding now is that students who are earning STEM PhDs are struggling to find careers in their fields, or even adjacent fields,” she said. “I’m trying to identify those areas of value disconnect that are preventing these students with these high-value degrees from getting jobs.”

Garbee said that besides the actual dollar amount, the Advancement Award is important because it represents recognition.

“It’s really important to tangibly demonstrate to students that we matter,” she said.

Sun Devil Giving Day runs from midnight to 11:59 p.m. and donations are made on the website. Last year, the site ran a real-time dashboard displaying which units were collecting the most money.

“This year, because of ‘Together, Our Potential is Limitless,’ we wanted to focus less on competition and focus more on what happens when we all come together,” Kahn said.

So the site will have interactive tiles that show the number of donations to some of the units, a real-time map of where people are donating from across the nation and the total amount donated.

One part of Sun Devil Giving Day will be “Student Select.” Tables will be set up at the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses, and students will be asked, “If you had $500 to give to one cause, what would it be?” They’ll write their answers on index cards, and 10 will be chosen randomly to be funded, thanks to corporate support, Khan said.

“We have student donors and we’re grateful to them but we know that not all students can donate while they’re in school,” she said. But by asking them to write down their ideas, “We want them to think about what giving will really look like when they graduate.”

Khan said that donors will have a huge choice of initiatives.

“If you care about cancer research, we’re doing it. If you care about first-generation students, we have one of the largest populations in the nation.

“The beauty of this is that no matter what you’re passionate about, ASU is doing it.”

For information or to donate, click here.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU Gammage celebrates renovations with ribbon cutting ceremony

March 15, 2017

Now, the longest lines at ASU Gammage are reserved for the actors.

After years of fundraising, planning and construction, the newest additions to ASU’s iconic auditorium — 88 women’s restroom stalls and two elevators — opened March 14, allowing patrons to enjoy greater access and comfort in the venue. Ribbon Cutting Donors help cut the ribbon, marking the grand opening of the new elevators and restrooms at ASU Gammage. Download Full Image

“Good afternoon and welcome to the beginning of a new era at ASU Gammage,” began Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for ASU Gammage and associate vice president of cultural affairs for ASU during her speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “So many people have come together to make this day possible ... As a result, we are able to fulfill a longtime dream to give this glorious building the restrooms and elevators it has needed.”

As part of the organization’s Elevate and Alleviate Campaign to upgrade the auditorium and sustain it for future generations, ASU Gammage, its donors and the community raised over $9 million.

Compared to the original structure built in 1964, the renovations are barely detectable from the outside.

Beau Dromiack, design director with RSP Architects, carefully studied the building before designing the new components, he said. He hoped to highlight the upgrades while staying true to legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s original design.

On each side, framed by the building’s two long arms, brick structures enclose the venue’s new bathroom facilities. Although the bricks match those originally used to construct the auditorium, they are arranged in a rippling pattern to create a shifting maze of shadows as the sun moves throughout the day.

Although beautiful, ASU Gammage’s key objective for the renovations was functionality. The women's restrooms are designed to maximize efficiency, minimize sound disturbances and decrease patrons’ wait-times.

Each sink is equipped with a handbag hanger and paper towel dispensers are peppered between each pair of sinks. Also, extra mirror space is available between sinks for those who are not washing their hands. Each vanity is equipped with state-of-the-art, custom lighting, and the toilets and ceiling are optimized for sound reduction.

Previously, patrons could only access the auditorium’s orchestra, grand tier and balcony via ramps or stairs. Now, two elevators complete with ASU Gammage elevator attendants will help increase accessibility.

Thanks to contributions from over 1,500 donors, including significant investments from ASU Gammage, the classic auditorium is revitalized for many more years of world-class performances.

“I am happy to see so many faces of friends and people with whom we have made a family at ASU Gammage and happy that we have been able to forge a new future for ASU Gammage-- a future where we are able to better meet the needs our patrons,” continued Jennings-Roggensack.

Donors, VIPs and ASU staff celebrated the completion of the project with tours of the renovated areas, and a VIP dinner on the auditorium’s promenade before opening night of "Finding Neverland."

“For more than two decades I’ve had this dream of making sure ASU Gammage was around for future generations and these building additions along with our continued investment into the facility will assure that for many years to come,” Jennings-Roggensack said.

Marketing and Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage


Fresh and Local Market now open on ASU's Tempe campus

March 13, 2017

For Arizona State University students, faculty and staff, fresh, local food is now easy to eat on the go. Each Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., five to nine local vendors sell locally grown, harvested and produced organic products on the Tempe campus. 

“The Fresh and Local market encourages people to think about where food comes from,” said Susan Norton, ASU Sustainability Practices program manager. “The market provides an easy opportunity to purchase and enjoy the fruits of local businesses.” Fresh and Local event tempe sdfc produce for sale Fresh, local and organic produce sold every Thursday on the Tempe campus in front of the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. The Fresh and Local Market replaces the old farmer's market at ASU. Download Full Image

The market is located at the intersection of Lemon Mall and Palm Walk, right outside the Tempe Sun Devil Fitness Complex main entrance. All vendors accept cash and cards, and items at the market sell from $5 to $20.

The following vendors participate in the market, and some provide free samples.

  • Bakers Bees sells honey from Chandler, Arizona.
  • Dr. Hummus sells 10 different varieties of hummus and homemade pita chips.
  • Kelpies Chips sells chipotle- or pizza-flavored seaweed chips.
  • Simple Blossoms sells small-batch fresh lotions, scrubs and soap not tested on animals with no petroleum ingredients.
  • Squarz Pies sells savory baked croissants and pies.

ASU alumnus Nick Baker, a biologist and beekeeper at Baker’s Bees, sells local honey at the Fresh and Local Market. He also recommends purchasing the produce, especially the dates.

“I pollinate crops like almonds, citrus, cotton, alfalfa and pumpkins. I produce delicious Arizona honey with a distinct taste from our beautiful desert flowers,” he said. “The produce does not look like the grocery store, but they make up in the fantastic flavors they hold.”

Popular vendors include Dr. Hummus and Bakers Bees, which sells about 30 jars of honey each week.

Additional ASU participating organizations include the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Mail Services, Parking and Transit, Sun Devil Dining and ASU Wellness. 

Peter Northfelt

Editor assistant, Business and Finance Support – Communications


Annual staff BBQ promotes sustainable socialization, employee engagement

March 13, 2017

On behalf of Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow, ASU Staff Council hosts annual staff barbecues on four ASU campuses. The barbecues set aside time for staff to get to know each other and learn about resources. 

The event began when Crow asked that a barbecue be held to honor staff achievements. The first barbecue outgrew the original Old Main area, and since 2011 it is the largest zero waste event each year. Large crowd at West Two-hundred fifty staff members enjoy their lunch at the West campus Staff Appreciation BBQ Wednesday, March 2. Download Full Image

This year’s barbecues drew more than 3,800 attendees, including: 

  • Downtown Phoenix campus: 435
  • Polytechnic campus: 175
  • Tempe campus: 3,000
  • West campus: 250

“The picnic allows us to appreciate staff for their achievements,” said Stephen Potter, Staff Council president. “We also take this time to educate staff on the many opportunities Staff Council and ASU provide to staff year-round.”

The event not only celebrates staff, but educates them about landfill waste diversion. Katie Schumacher, Zero Waste program coordinator, said despite the large attendance, the 2017 events diverted 94.3 percent of all event waste from a landfill.

“This event was one of the first large-scale university events to incorporate zero waste,” she said.

Vendors, like MidFirst Bank and BC Graphics, provided information. Resources like ASU Employee Wellness, ASU Police Department and Zero Waste at ASU were also in attendance. One group that is always proud to be part of the experience is the ASU Retirees Association (ASURA).

“Not many ASU staff are aware of the ASURA and what it does,” said Barry McNeil, ASURA president. “These barbecues give us an incredible opportunity to alert people to the lasting legacy of Sun Devils.”

Sign up for Staff Council monthly updates for information on upcoming events and news.

Upcoming Staff Council events:

Peter Northfelt

Editor assistant, Business and Finance Support – Communications


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Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz to speak at ASU commencement

March 13, 2017

Arizona State University has selected Howard Schultz, Starbucks current chairman and CEO, as the official speaker at the May 8 undergraduate commencement, set to address an expected crowd of nearly 20,000 graduating students and their guests at Sun Devil Stadium. As part of his first commencement speech, Schultz will also be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony.

Recognized for his passion, leadership and efforts to strengthen communities, Schultz has been a transformative leader for Starbucks. From the beginning, Schultz set out to build a different kind of company, one that brings a sense of humanity and demonstrates respect and dignity for the partners (employees), customers and communities Starbucks serves. Through his vision, Starbucks has been on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list for the past 14 years, coming in at No. 3 this year.

“We take great pride in having Howard Schultz speak at this year’s commencement,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Howard has been an energetic advocate for expanding opportunity. And I am personally grateful that our personal partnership — and the partnership between Starbucks and ASU — has made it possible for many thousands to complete their college degrees and pursue a path toward lifelong learning and success.”

Schultz first joined Starbucks in 1982 when the coffee company had only four stores. Today, Starbucks has more than 25,000 stores in 75 countries, with more than 300,000 partners (employees) wearing the green apron globally. He demonstrated early on that you can balance profitability with shared success through foundational initiatives including comprehensive health coverage for eligible full- and part-time workers, and offering partners equity in the company in the form of stock.

A graduate of Northern Michigan University, Schultz is a strong proponent of access to and excellence in education, helping create pathways for Starbucks partners to achieve economic and social mobility through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), introduced in 2014. Developed in alliance with Crow, SCAP enables partners to pursue and complete their college education tuition-free through ASU Online. To date, more than 6,500 Starbucks partners have gained admission, and nearly 1,000 are expected to graduate from ASU by the end of this year. The goal is 25,000 graduates by 2025.    

Efforts like SCAP have positioned Starbucks as a leading employer of choice, building on a strong history of putting partners first and focusing on the biggest challenges facing the communities the company serves. Starbucks has also committed to supporting and hiring veterans and military spouses and engaging and hiring Opportunity Youth, which focuses on 16- to 24-year-olds who are unemployed and not in school. Additionally, the company has recently pledged to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years.

On April 3, Howard will transition from CEO to executive chairman and shift his focus to innovation, design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company’s social impact initiatives.

Along with his wife Sheri, Schultz is co-founder of the Schultz Family Foundation. He is also the best-selling author of "For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice" (2014), "Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul" (2011) and "Pour Your Heart Into It" (1997).

Top photo: Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. Photo courtesy of Starbucks

ASU Gammage restroom, elevator construction complete

March 10, 2017

The lines to the women’s restrooms at ASU Gammage will be much shorter starting next week for the opening night of "Finding Neverland." ASU Gammage, its donors and the community raised more than $9 million during the Elevate and Alleviate Campaign, constructing 88 new restroom stalls and two elevators which provide access to all levels of the venue.

The ASU Gammage team spearheaded the Elevate and Alleviate Campaign as part of the 50th Anniversary Golden Gammage Initiative. The improvements were meant to sustain the performing arts center for future generations and enhance patrons’ show experience. ASU Gammage restrooms ASU Gammage Elevate and Alleviate contributions helped fund the renovation and expansion of the venue's restrooms, which will open March 14. Download Full Image

More than 1,500 donors contributed to the project, including significant investments from ASU Gammage as a result of the success of its last two seasons.

"Finding Neverland" opens at ASU Gammage March 14 and runs through March 18.

Marketing and Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage