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Cronkite alum receives Distinguished Alumni Service Award

October 29, 2010

Don Dotts, an alumnus of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will receive Arizona State University’s Alumni Service Award tomorrow at halftime of the ASU Homecoming football game at Sun Devil Stadium.

The award is given each year to recognize distinguished and exemplary service to the university and the ASU Alumni Association.

The 1957 graduate was editor of the State Press and worked for The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette during his journalism studies.

Dotts joined the ASU Alumni Association in 1958 as its associate director, later becoming executive director, then president and CEO. Dotts retired in 2000.

During his tenure, he saw the alumni list grow from 16,000 graduates to 300,000.

After retirement, Dotts became a fundraiser for ASU and led the campaign to restore Old Main.

Earlier this year, he became one of nine inaugural alumni members of the Cronkite National Board of Advisors at the Cronkite School, assisting the dean in alumni relations, development, planning for an annual event commemorating the school’s namesake and selection of alumni inductees to the Cronkite Hall of Fame.

Dotts was nominated for the Alumni Service Award by the Cronkite School and selected by the Awards Committee.

“I can’t envision a more deserving recipient of this year’s ASU Homecoming Alumni Service Award,” Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan wrote in his nomination letter for Dotts.

“[Don is] an ASU alumnus whose career has advanced the missions of ASU and the ASU Alumni Association, and whose present role in the community continues to stand as one of the very best examples of Sun Devil pride.”

In addition to his service to the school, Dotts was involved in a number of volunteer activities, serving on the board of directors of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, as president of the ASU Retirees Association and as a member of the board of the Arizona Network Chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation.

“As emeritus executive director, Don continues to embody the Alumni Association’s foundational principles through his many roles as volunteer, board member, chairman and friend to various organizations within the ASU community,” Callahan wrote.

Douglas Zimmerman also wrote a letter recommending Dotts for the award. “No one comes close to having provided the depth and breadth of Don’s service,” Zimmerman wrote. “This award to Don is long overdue.”

His wife of 52 years, Annis Jones Dotts, also class of ’57, died earlier this year. Their son and daughter also are ASU alumni.

“After 41 years on the ASU staff, I was a part of many decisions and new programs involving alumni,” Dotts said. “But I am really proud of my volunteer status with the Cronkite School, which has been my passion since retiring. The Cronkite School is the finest J-school in the country and I am pleased to be participating in efforts to keep it that way.”