Skip to main content

New lecture series spotlights higher education

Wendy Kopp
November 23, 2011

Arizona State University is launching a new lecture series to highlight the importance of redefining the role of high education in society. At the direction of President Michael M. Crow, ASU has created the Frank Rhodes Lecture Series on the Creation of the Future: A Lecture Series for a New American University.

The lecture series aims to showcase the New American University vision and what the future might look like. Impactful and transformational leaders and thinkers will be invited to share their thoughts with the ASU and wider community each semester. The inaugural lecturer will be Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach for America.

The series is named after Frank Rhodes, former President of Cornell University. Rhodes is considered one of the most important university presidents of the 20th century. His book “The Creation of The Future” played a key role in the creation of the New American University vision.

In the book, Rhodes underscores the importance of the university while also indicating the need for universities to evolve. Said Rhodes, “The distinctive feature of the new American university will still be its commitment to learning in its widest sense.”

Wendy Kopp was selected as the inaugural lecture because of her transformational work in education. Tom Noble, an MBA student at ASU and alumnus of Teach For America, said, “Wendy Kopp is one our country’s real leaders in the fight for education reform. She seems like the perfect person to kick off the lecture series.”

Kopp proposed Teach For America in her undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton University in 1989, and she has spent the last 22 years developing the organization. Under her leadership, Teach For America’s 33,000 participants taught more than 3 million children in low-income areas in the U.S. during their two-year teaching commitments.

Kopp is also the author of two books: “A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All and “One Day All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way.”

ASU and Teach For America partner across four key areas: Teach For America Recruitment, Teacher Support and Development, Alumni Leadership and the Phoenix Institute. The ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has also adapted many of Teach For America’s most successful tools in order to attract, prepare, support and retain more highly effective teachers through the Sanford Education Project.

Teach For American and Teachers College are cosponsors of the Rhodes lecture this semester. It can be watched live from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 29, at

Paul Henne
(480) 965-0335
Office of University Initiatives