More than 10,000 students set to graduate this spring

April 25, 2012

This May more than 10,000 students will become Sun Devil alumni at the university's spring commencement ceremonies. (Learn more about this year's graduates.)

The undergraduate ceremony is set to take place at 7:30 p.m., May 3, in Sun Devil Stadium, and will feature an address from Tom Brokaw, respected news anchor and former managing editor NBC’s “Nightly News.” Brokaw will also be presented with an honorary degree for his contributions to the field of journalism. Download Full Image

The graduate commencement is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m., May 2, in Wells Fargo Arena. More than 1,000 students are set to have their degrees conferred. Both ceremonies will be broadcasted live on ASUtv at For a complete list of convocations, visit

The School of Sustainability will graduate 115 bachelors, five masters and one doctoral student. The School of Theater and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will proudly graduate 77 undergraduate students, four master's students and one doctoral student. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will award degrees to 3,350 graduates in total, while Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will bid farewell to 183 students.

ASU also is proud to announce that 289 veterans will have their degree conferred. This year graduating vets were bestowed red, white and blue cords to wear at graduation, signifying their service in the military.

Adding to the excitement, the Golden Class of 1962 will return to ASU for a special 50-year reunion. The ASU Alumni Association will host a two-day event in which the class will reconnect and reflect on their time at ASU. Notable alums from the class of 1962 include Congressman Harry Mitchell, journalist Sel Yackley and medical researcher Nancy Pressendo.

ASU also will award honorary degrees to the following:

• Temple Grandin, researcher and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Grandin is widely influential for her innovative work in animal science and her dedication as an author, speaker and advocate in the area of autism.

• Eric Kandel, Austrian-born American neuroscientist. Kandel is famous for his fundamental research central to understanding normal memory, dementia and mental disorders related to memory.

• Lim Chuan Poh, chairman of A*STAR – a lead government agency dedicated to fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based economy.

ASU will bestow the prestigious University Medal of Excellence to Nelson Broms, former chairman, president and CEO of The Equitable Life Holding Corporation.

Free parking will be available throughout the Tempe campus, except for metered spaces and residence hall lots. Parking information for commencement and convocation ceremonies can be found here.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

ASU, Washington anthropologists to examine sustainability in deep past

April 25, 2012

Editor's Note: Arizona State University baseball will take on the University of Washington in three games May 18-20 in Tempe.  Read more about ASU's collaborations with Pac-12 schools.

Scientists across the world have come to believe that addressing the issues of future global sustainability requires looking into the deep past, not just the previous hundred years or so. Download Full Image

With this in mind, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded millions of dollars in grants to eminent anthropologists to identify conditions that allowed people to develop sustainable relationships with the environment over a thousand years or so.

Margaret Nelson, distinguished sustainability scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, currently holds three NSF grants totaling more than $2 million to look at social and ecological resilience. She is principal investigator on a grant to discover configurations of diversity in ecological landscapes and social organizations that affect systems’ ability to cope with significant environmental or social changes.

Five archaeological cases from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico offer long-term “experiments” that allow researchers to use dynamic modeling to determine how diversity in the social and ecological realms affected these societies’ abilities to thrive.

Nelson also is on another grant as a co-investigator, along with Ben Fitzhugh, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Washington; Tim Kohler, Regents' Professor of anthropology at Washington State University; and Thomas McGovern, professor of anthropology at Hunter College. Principal investigator is Sophia Perdikaris, archaeologist at the City University of New York.

At ASU Nelson, who is vice dean of Barrett the Honors College, leads an interdisciplinary research team addressing a range of social-ecological issues concerning resilience and sustainability for prehistoric small-scale farmers in the U.S. Southwest (600-1500 CE). The team analyzes lessons learned from this research for contemporary issues of resilience and sustainability.

She has conducted research in the Mimbres region of southwest New Mexico for over 30 years, collaborating for the past 20 years with Professor Michelle Hegmon. Nelson also includes undergraduate and graduate students in her archaeological research.

During the past decade, international funding agencies have supported research efforts focused on the long-term interaction between humans and their environments. These research studies, which track the dynamic relationships of societies and environments over 1,000 years or more, have been carried out in the southwestern United States, coastal Alaska, North Pacific and North Atlantic oceanic islands, Scottish Highlands and islands, Central America and Caribbean.

The resulting pool of data, spanning tropical to arctic latitudes, will be incorporated into a network known as the Global Long-term Human Ecodynamics Research Coordination Network through the NSF grants.

The work to develop the network will provide insight into global climate issues. Once created, the network will serve as a universal resource for future collaborative efforts.

Nelson also is principal investigator for a grant to examine climate change using archaeological data from the southwestern United States and the north Atlantic islands of Iceland, Greenland and Faroes.