'Golden' initiative to help ASU Gammage improve theater experience

March 12, 2015

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, ASU Gammage has announced the Golden Gammage Initiative – a $16.2 million capital campaign to sustain the landmark performing arts center for future generations.

The initiative includes a capital improvements fund to ensure that ASU Gammage meets the needs of today’s patrons, including plans for restroom expansion, accessibility improvements and a revamped sound system. The Golden Gammage Initiative Download Full Image

It also includes a programming endowment to support the mission of "Connecting Communities" to ensure ASU Gammage continues its programs in perpetuity.

Better sound

During the silent phase of the campaign, ASU Gammage raised $1.2 million for the sound project to be realized in summer 2015.

“The acoustics in ASU Gammage are remarkable for unamplified sound, as the theater was designed when performers did not use microphones,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of Gammage. “Today, however, amplified performances are the standard for all spectra of performing arts. Making sure every patron has an excellent sound experience at an event is of paramount importance, and our plan is to update current components and devices to achieve that.

“A complete overhaul of the sound system will occur this summer to help ASU Gammage improve audience experience and reclaim its crown as the 'queen of halls,’” Jennings-Roggensack added.

More restrooms

The Golden Gammage Initiative also calls for much-needed improvements that would add additional restroom facilities and increase the accessibility of the venue by adding elevators, allowing access to all levels.

According to Jennings-Roggensack, the project is expected to cost $9 million.

“ASU Gammage is making progress toward that goal with a $3 million lead gift from the The Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation, as well as Arizona State University announcing a dollar-for-dollar matching investment of up to $2.5 million for the public phase of the campaign,” she said.

“The Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation has a long history of supporting great charitable organizations for the people of Arizona, and their funding was a tremendous catalyst into moving us a step closer to preserving ASU Gammage for future generations," she added.

With completed funding, construction could begin as early as 2016.

Arizona State University will make a significant investment to ASU Gammage that continues to be a major access point into the university. In addition to the $2.5 million matching investment, ASU will provide funding to complete expenses on the sound project and replacement of the stage floor.

ASU is also committed to the multimillion dollar project of resurfacing ASU Gammage's unique rose-quartz-crete exterior to make the 50-year old building look as it did on its opening in 1964.

Expanded programs

The initiative will create a programming endowment to bring the world’s best artists to the ASU Gammage stage and enable those artists to reach out to the community, create new work, engage audiences and create economic impact.

"Through the mission of Connecting Communities, ASU Gammage doesn’t just present the world’s best, but we make sure that people of all ages around the Valley and state get to experience working with and learning from these amazing artists through workshops, master classes and residencies,” said Mary Way, co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Leadership Board. “This programming endowment will allow these programs to continue and reach even more people in the coming years.”

ASU Gammage is also pleased to announce that in celebration of their long-standing partnerships, Ticketmaster and Broadway Across America are also making major investments into ASU Gammage’s infrastructure to support the Golden Gammage Initiative.

The silent phase of the campaign was led by major gifts from the Kemper & Ethel Marley Foundation, Broadway Across America, Susan and Bill Ahearn, Laurie and Chuck Goldstein, Clyde Parker, George Brazil Home Services, Pat Langlin-Brazil, Margaret T. Morris Foundation, the late Jerry Appell and Ticketmaster.

The 50th Anniversary Leadership Board includes co-chairs Leslie and Jeff Rich, co-chair Mary Way, William Ahearn, Jo Finks, Grady Gammage, Jr., Laurie and Chuck Goldstein, Albert Leffler, Michael Manning, Sarah Nolan, Bill Way and the late Jerry Appell.

To help ASU Gammage achieve its goal for the Golden Gammage Initiative, or for more information, call 480-965-5062 or visit asugammage.com.

ASU master's students pilot global career program

March 12, 2015

Master's students from Arizona State University’s Global Technology and Development program have piloted a networking event to connect to professionals in various parts of the world.

The Global Development Connect pilot could set a model for other programs as both the master’s program and the ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association begin to look into more professional outreach efforts, particularly for online students. portrait of Sarah Muench Download Full Image

Global Technology and Development (GTD) students, from both the online and on-campus programs – whose global technology and development degree prepares them for careers in international relations and development – worked with the Graduate and Professional Student Association to spearhead the event. Using online tools, the students are meeting face-to-face with real-world experts across the globe.

“We have such a dynamic program in GTD, and our students are so talented that connecting them with professionals in different parts of the world was a necessity,” said Sarah Muench, a Global Technology and Development student who created and led the pilot project. “We were able to talk to international development professionals in Hong Kong, D.C., the United Kingdom and right here in Arizona.”

Muench, who will graduate in May, said she realized that she and her fellow students were well prepared by her professors and courses, but one link was missing: the path to career and internship opportunities.

She came up with the idea to have 15-minute, one-on-one time with professionals, all online. Muench said she had been through a similar in-person experience in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she attended internship job fairs as an undergraduate.

“We were placed in interviews with various media outlets, and it usually ended either in an internship offer or a good connection with a real working journalist,” Muench said. “I wanted us to be able to take that important step with GTD in translating our degree into the real world.”

Muench, her fellow students and professors in the program worked to find development professionals to participate, including experts from USAID, international consultants, the U.S. Department of State, non-governmental organizations and nonprofits.

"It reinforced my information in terms of available options for the distant future," said Yasameen Aboozar, an ASU Global Technology and Development online student from Washington, D.C. "Not only does it serve students seeking job opportunities in distant areas and with other companies, but also it provides the chances for students to transition to departments and positions within their current companies relevant to their education."

Global Technology and Development offers a globally and technologically-focused program by introducing theories of systems technology, the interface between technology and social institutions, and their role in global development and change.

“Innovation is not simply the province of a changing technology," said Gary Grossman, Global Technology and Development director. "Our students are trained to be innovators in resolving problems with creative applications of existing knowledge and practice. Spearheading this initiative is just one example. Our students thrive both at home and abroad, and these skills are in demand worldwide.”

The Graduate and Professional Student Association's New Programs Committee, which supported the pilot program from the beginning, hopes to take it to a wider ASU graduate student audience to bring opportunities to a growing graduate and mobile student population.

“ASU is growing, and we have many more graduate students we want to reach with advocacy, funding, career and research opportunities,” said association president German Cadenas. “We support each other as graduate students, and with more students, ideas and action, we build a stronger community.”

For more information, visit cls.asu.edu/graduate/proginfo/master-science-global-technology-development or contact Gary Grossman, associate professor and director, Global Technology and Development.

Marissa Huth

communications specialist, School for the Future of Innovation in Society