Hugh Downs Collection finds home at ASU

December 12, 2013

Broadcaster Hugh Downs is one of the most familiar American figures in the history of television. His work on “The Today Show,” “20/20,” as a reporter, anchor and game show host for “Concentration” made him a household name. Downs holds the Guinness world record for the most hours of network airtime in the 20th century (10,637 hours from 1951-1999). 

What might be less understood about Downs are his roles as devoted husband, artist and adventurer. Downs has chosen Arizona State University to house more than 650 of his personal and professional items – from lifetime achievement awards to his mother’s poetry book – curated by the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication Broadcaster Hugh Downs donates collection to ASU Download Full Image

One of the most personal items in the collection, said Downs, is a sextant. It was purchased by his children as a birthday gift for his crossing of the Pacific. It took Down’s four years to plan his adventure. He set sail from Ft. Lauderdale in 1965 headed for Tahiti, a distance of 3,400 miles. His book “Shoal of Stars” was based on his ship’s log and published in 1967. A first edition of his book is also included in the collection. 

The Hugh Downs Collection is intended to promote the pursuit of undergraduate and graduate studies related to the field of human communication, promote constructive dialogue and scholarly research related to the life and career of the school’s distinguished namesake, and generally promote the effective communication between individuals in all aspects of life.

To learn more about Downs and the items in the Downs Collection, please visit the new interactive College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Magazine app with videos, photo galleries and audio clips. If you do not have an iPad or tablet, read more here.

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication is an academic unit in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


Origins Project thinks big in event on our existence: Are there other universes?

December 12, 2013

The Origins Project at Arizona State University is kicking off a celebration of five years of its existence with a top-level discussion of our existence. On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Origins Project will convene a panel of renowned physicists and cosmologists to discuss the nature of the universe and the possibilities of a multiverse in "The Great Debate Parallel Realities: Probing Fundamental Physics."

Nobel Laureates Frank Wilczek, David Gross and Brain Schmidt, as well as esteemed scientists Wendy Freedman, Maria Spiropulu and ASU’s Lawrence Krauss, will be on hand for what literally will be an out-of-this-world conversation. Download Full Image

"The Great Debate Parallel Realities: Probing Fundamental Physics" will be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 1, 2014 at Gammage Auditorium. Tickets for the event are now on sale at ASU’s Gammage Box Office. The first 1,500 tickets are free (two per person) to those presenting a valid ASU ID (quantities are limited and restrictions apply) at the ASU Gammage Box Office only.

“We live in one universe. But is it unique? How can we find out if it is unique and, if so, what determines its makeup and structure at a fundamental level?” asks Lawrence Krauss, Origins project director. “These issues touch on the forefront of particle physics and cosmology, from the Large Hadron Collider to the edges of the visible universe. This panel includes the leading scientists and thinkers working at both of these frontiers to discuss how we can probe the fundamental fabric of reality. Hang on to your hats.”

Krauss added that the Parallel Realities Great Debate is the kickoff for a series of events celebrating the first five years of the Origins Project. Additional Origins events are scheduled for early April 2014.

Krauss elaborated on the makeup of the 2014 programs, which highlight the new Origins themes that will guide the program for the coming years – Cosmos, Quarks to the Universe; Worlds, Planets to Cells; Complex Systems, Cells to Society; and The Future, Beyond Technology. 

“I am incredibly excited by the program we are putting together this year, leading up to a gala fifth anniversary celebration in April,” Krauss said. “We also wanted to reach a broader audience and encourage students to experience the events, so we were able to ensure that the first 1,500 tickets were free to all those with ASU ID’s for all Origins events this year.”

Tickets for the Origins Project's Great Debate: Parallel Realities are available online through and at the ASU Gammage Box Office, (480) 965-3434. Discounted student tickets are available with a student ID at the Gammage Box Office.

For more information on Origins events, go to, or call (480) 965-0053.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications