Community, access to education drive Lucking legacy at ASU

Pit Lucking knows the design aspirations laid out in ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of a New American University. Particularly, she has focused on at least two of them: social embeddedness and enabling student success.

Last year Lucking, with her husband, John, created an endowment – in memory of her parents’ instrumental work for the university – known as the Wetzler-Lucking Scholarship endowment, which provides students who are returning to higher education with scholarship aid in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. The endowment is an outgrowth of the same scholarship first offered in 1998. By turning the scholarship opportunity into an endowment, access to qualified students is ensured in perpetuity.

“There will always be curious people who will look for new opportunities to improve themselves,” says Lucking, noting that she and John had dropped out of college only to return later to earn their degrees. “Many students exhaust their funds while exploring educational opportunities, but they have the drive and incentive to come back and pursue a future. For this, I hope to make funds available to them.”

Lucking doesn’t just provide financial support for ASU students; Lucking has volunteered her services for many years. Her father, Charles Wetzler, was a founding board member of the ASU Foundation for A New American University, and now Lucking has placed her mark on the university, as she has built a legacy focused on community service and higher education opportunities.

“ASU has been a part of my life as long as I can remember,” says Lucking, who, with her husband, has been a longstanding member of the ASU President’s Club, a high-level philanthropic organization committed to the positive transformation of higher education. “I used to accompany my father to football games, helped the health clinic to a new location, and I even babysat for little Grady Gammage when his mother, the director of the early ASU Foundation, was attending ASU events.”

Today, Lucking can look back on years of organizing ASU students, faculty and staff to volunteer across the greater Valley community. Her charges have supported just about every nonprofit, education and civic program locally and have contributed mind and muscle to efforts benefiting education, social sciences, fine arts, health care and more.

In 1998 Lucking launched a new Volunteer Information and Referral Services office on ASU’s West campus. She did so as a volunteer herself.

“I was reared in a home where community service was vitally important,” she says. “It was as much a part of life as going to school or riding a bike.”

Lucking also serves as a mentor to those she supports.

“Pit’s selfless support of others – in the community and around New College – is truly remarkable,” says Elizabeth Langland, dean of the New College. “Through her contagious energy, enthusiasm, hard work and wisdom, she has made a major impact on ASU and the community at large.”

Says Lucking, “I’m honored to be able to play a role in students’ education. This is a rewarding way to help strengthen the Valley through education, and to do so in a very personal way.

“The education system and the faculty, students and staff who make ASU great are the engine that drives the economic and social development of this community. We are extremely proud to be involved, and we want to see ASU and its programs continue their positive growth into the future.”

Stephen Des Georges

ASU Foundation for A New American University