ASU honors first-ever graduate in sustainability

December 18, 2008

ASU awarded the first-ever master’s degree in sustainability at its fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 18.

The new graduate, Brigitte Bavousett, received her diploma from the university’s pioneering School of Sustainability, the first degree-granting institution of its kind in the nation. Download Full Image

“This is a special moment for our school and for the university,” says Charles Redman, director of the School of Sustainability. “We are very excited to see Brigitte graduate, and we look forward to her leading a long procession of graduates who become agents of change in our community and around the world.”

Bavousett ranks as somewhat of a pioneer herself in this budding field. She was among the first to enroll in the School of Sustainability after it was formally established last fall by the Arizona Board of Regents.

“I am honored to be making history as the first sustainability graduate,” she says. “It seems only a few weeks ago that I began this fantastic journey with my classmates and professors. I love the variety of the curriculum, the fantastic faculty and the interdisciplinary projects.”

Bavousett’s degree goes far beyond traditional environmental studies. The school’s curriculum draws on a variety of academic disciplines that can be applied to the world’s economic, societal and environmental challenges, preparing graduates to understand complex problems and find real solutions.

“Sustainability has captured ASU by storm, and we expect its graduates to transform our country,” Redman says.

During her time at the school, Bavousett has been involved in a variety of research projects with businesses and other organizations. One project involved U-Haul International, where she researched forestation processes and nonprofit partnership options to help the company create a plan to reduce its carbon footprint through carbon sequestration. U-Haul has extended Bavousett’s internship indefinitely as it begins implementation of the plan.

“Brigitte has provided the personal interest, enthusiasm and the most cutting-edge knowledge needed to further enhance our sustainability projects here at U-Haul,” says Michelle Sullivan of U-Haul International’s Phoenix corporate offices. “She has been a tremendous asset to our department.”

Bavousett, a working mother, says she has long had an interest in sustainability. She adds that she was involved in fostering societal sustainability before she even knew what it was. Previously, as the founding director of an international cultural exchange program, she toured former Soviet countries and the United States for six years, exposing performers and audiences to new customs and traditions while bringing theater to sometimes culturally starved audiences.

Bavousett says she feels prepared and confident as she set out on the path to finding a job after graduating.

“I may have to be creative in this economy,” she says. “But I feel comfortable with the foundation of skill sets and cutting-edge technologies the school has given me.”

Supreme Court Justice O’Connor to speak at ECP event

December 18, 2008

The first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, will headline the Economic Club of Phoenix’s speaker series on Jan. 15. The public is invited to attend and hear from this influential Arizonan who has been listed by several publications among the top 10 most powerful American women in the world.

The Economic Club of Phoenix was founded by a group of prominent business executives called the Dean’s Council of 100, in conjunction with the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It is now the preeminent Arizona forum for the exchange of ideas about business and the economy. The club’s monthly luncheons and other activities offer Valley business leaders and others opportunities to network and engage.

Justice O’Connor will be featured at a Jan. 15 luncheon at the Camelback Inn from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $100 per person.

Justice O’Connor has deep roots in Arizona. She grew up on a ranch in the southeastern part of the state and then spent much of her career practicing law and serving as a judge in Arizona. She also served for many years in the Arizona State Senate. Her Jan. 15 appearance was arranged in conjunction with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and introductory remarks will be provided by the College of Law’s dean, Paul Schiff Berman.

More information about The Economic Club of Phoenix and its speaker series can be found at">"> Other luncheons in the series will feature Gary Loveman, the chairman, CEO and president of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., and Michael Ahearn, CEO of First Solar, Inc., who is being honored as the Dean’s Council of 100 Executive of the Year. The group’s annual Economic Outlook Luncheon will be held on May 20. To reserve seats for any of these events, contact Amber Hadvab at (480) 965-1709 or Amber.Hadvab">"> For sponsorship opportunities, contact Rhett Wilson at (480) 965-2333 or Rhett.Wilson">">