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Making a mark on history

March 06, 2013

Markie the Sunspot leads a one-day campaign for the future of ASU

There’s been a new face around all four ASU campuses for the past few weeks; not so much a face, perhaps, as a presence. His name is Markie, and according to Shad Hanselman, senior director of annual giving for the ASU Foundation, he’s been making his presence felt for more than a century.

“Markie the Sunspot is the walking embodiment of philanthropy at ASU,” says Hanselman. “Anywhere Sun Devil pride and philanthropy come together, you’ll find Markie.”

Hanselman and his annual giving team at the foundation hope pride and philanthropy come together in a big way on March 7, which they’ve designated Mark It Day. For 37 hours, beginning at 8 a.m., Sun Devils everywhere are invited to celebrate the proud role of philanthropy in the history of ASU. Even the day, duration and goal of Mark It Day reflect ASU history, Hanselman says. “Our mission for the 37 hours beginning on 3-7 is to raise $73,373; one dollar for each of the students in this year’s national record-setting enrollment at ASU.”

The public can watch the campaign unfold at, and follow its progress along with Markie on Facebook and Twitter.

Hanselman says Markie’s on-point role as the symbol of Mark It Day is to be expected, because of his presence at other pivotal events in ASU’s history. It was Markie, explains Hanselman, who was fortuitously at hand in 1885 when inspiration struck Arizona Territorial Legislator John Armstrong, and he reached for something to mark a spot on the map for the future location of Arizona State University. That was the beginning of a 128-year partnership between Markie and ASU so productive and beneficial to the state that it has been hailed by Marshall Trimble. The official state historian of Arizona offered his recollections of Markie’s influence in a recent video tribute.

“People loved having him around.” Trimble said of Markie. “He was always optimistic, always looking ahead. He had a way of bringing out the best in all of us.” Trimble also credited the partnership forged between Markie and ASU’s longtime banner carrier, Sparky the Sun Devil. “They were great together, the two of them,” Trimble said. “Sparky would get everybody all fired up and enthusiastic, and then Markie would put all that energy to work … show people what needed to be done and make ’em feel great about doing it.”

That’s the spirit Hanselman and the Mark It Day creators believe will be evident on March 7, in the hearts of Sun Devils who have met Markie at one of his many appearances, and in the many social network friends they share.

“This is an opportunity for everyone in Sun Devil Nation to make a mark on history,” says Hanselman. “It’s a chance for all of us to be like Markie. He made ASU what it is. Now the rest of us can help him make ASU what it will be.”

For information on Mark It Day, visit

Erik Ketcherside,
Communications Manager | Editorial Services
ASU Foundation for A New American University