More than 12,000 set to graduate May 8, 9 at spring commencement

April 5, 2013

General Dempsey to give keynote speech

More than 12,000 students are set to have their degrees conferred at the Arizona State University commencement ceremonies on May 8 and 9. Download Full Image

The graduate commencement ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m., May 8, in Wells Fargo Arena. The undergraduate commencement ceremony is set to take place at 7:30 p.m., May 9, in Sun Devil Stadium. 

General Martin E. Dempsey will be the official speaker for the undergraduate ceremony. 

Dempsey serves as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he serves as the principal military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council. By law, he is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. Prior to becoming Chairman, the general served as the Army’s 37th Chief of Staff.

Dempsey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge. In addition to his master’s degree in English, he holds master’s degrees in military art and in national security studies.  

ASU will also award honorary degrees to Janine Benyus, Clayton Christensen and Juan Ramon de la Fuente for their groundbreaking research in their respective fields. 

Janine Benyus will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, for her groundbreaking work specializing in biomimicry. Benyus has authored six books and co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, whose clients include Nike, Boeing and Colgate-Palmolive. In 2006, Janine co-founded a nonprofit institute to embed biomimicry in formal education and informal spaces such as museums and nature centers.

Clayton Christensen will receive the Doctor of Science honoris causa. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, and is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth. Christensen is the best-selling author of eight books and more than a hundred articles, including the recently released and New York Times best-selling, How Will You Measure Your Life? The Innovator’s Dilemma. He is also the founder of four successful companies.

Juan Ramón de la Fuente, M.D., will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa. As a faculty member at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, De la Fuente engineered several new research centers that specialize in diverse disciplines, strengthened a new model for education and created new undergraduate curricula and graduate programs. His research on alcohol abuse led to the design of a tool of universal validity for the reliable identification of this problem from its early stages. This tool has been was adopted by the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization and the U.K. Institutes for Clinical Excellence.  

Below are just some of the graduation highlights:

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will send 259 aspiring new journalists into world. This includes four master’s degree students, 235 bachelor degree recipients and 20 BA/MMC students.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the Tempe campus will proudly graduate 2,687 undergraduate students and 328 graduate students. Within the college, the Department of English will confer 202 degrees, the School of Life Sciences 326 students and Psychology 323 students.

The Teachers College at the West campus will say goodbye to 1081 students. This includes 566 graduate students and 515 undergraduates. On the other side of the valley, the College of Technology and Innovation at the Polytechnic campus will have 394 new alumni.

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:

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Obama's BRAIN Initiative presents significant opportunities for ASU

April 5, 2013

President Barack Obama proposed a new initiative designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain in a speech at the White House on Tuesday. The BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

The initiative is launching with approximately $100 million in funding for research supported by the National Institutes of Health ($40 million), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ($30 million) and the National Science Foundation ($20 million) in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.  President Obama at the BRAIN Initiative event Download Full Image

Private sector partners, including the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Foundation and Salk Institute for Biological Studies, have also made important commitments to further the BRAIN Initiative, totaling more than $125 million in investments.

The BRAIN Initiative supports the vision that Obama outlined in his 2013 State of the Union Address, in which he stated, “If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas….Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.”

Sethuraman (Panch) Panchanathan, the senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at Arizona State University, joined a select group of scientists and university leaders attending the president’s speech this week. Earlier this year, Panchanathan was invited to be part of an eight-member panel to share their expertise with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in exploring ways to improve “convergent” science – research at the intersection of the life sciences, the physical sciences and engineering.

In the OSTP report, Panchanathan emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary solution-based approaches for solving grand challenges faced by society, strong synergistic corporate partnerships, enlightened intellectual property policies and a robust culture of entrepreneurship.

The BRAIN Initiative will rely heavily on transdisciplinary research, integrating the latest science to accelerate discovery. The human brain is made up of 100 billion neurons with 100 trillion different connections. Its sheer complexity presents an enormous challenge to scientists trying to find the causes and treatments of brain disorders. A White House press release notes that breakthroughs in treating neurological and psychiatric diseases will require a new generation of tools for recording signals from brain cells in much greater numbers and at even faster speeds.

“Great promise for developing such technologies lies at the intersections of nanoscience, imaging, engineering, informatics, and other rapidly emerging fields of science and engineering,” the release states.

A group of scientists from Arizona’s three state universities, major medical centers and the biotechnology industry are now working to leverage the state’s pool of expertise in brain research.

“The BRAIN initiative is a fantastic opportunity to bring basic, translational and applied research that is inherently transdisciplinary in nature together to achieve societal and economic impact. This offers numerous opportunities for ASU faculty and students, and for Arizona as a whole,” says Panchanathan.

He adds: “In addition to work at ASU in the areas of neuroscience and neurorehabilitation, it also presents new potential to collaborate with partners like Banner Health and Banner’s Alzheimer’s Institute, Barrow Neurological Institute, University of Arizona, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, TGen and Mayo Clinic.”

More information:
Fact sheet:
President's remarks:

Director, Knowledge Enterprise Development