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Professor of the Year program takes new direction to support students

Sun Devil Family Association
January 27, 2014

A new direction in the Sun Devil Family Association’s Professor of the Year program will help provide seven additional scholarships, totaling $28,000, to deserving students.

Prior to this year, the Professor of the Year program centered on an annual ceremony to recognize and provide financial awards to outstanding ASU educators nominated by their students. The Sun Devil Family Association (SDFA) decided to redirect the funds to meet an overwhelming need for student financial support, particularly for high financial need students, says Robin Okun Hengl, senior director of parent programs.

“Outstanding faculty are key to their success and it has been an honor for the SDFA to recognize ASU professors for their excellence in teaching and mentoring. We cannot thank them enough for their dedication and commitment,” Okun Hengl says. “The board decided to redirect the program from faculty recognition to student support because of the growing number of qualified applicants to our scholarship program.”

The decision was applauded by former professors who have received the award as a tangible way to advance the association's mission to support student success.

“Over the years, the ASU Sun Devil Family Association Professor of the Year award had done wonders in raising awareness of the high quality of teaching at Arizona State University,” says James Blasingame Jr., 2008 Professor of the Year. “Selecting a number of professors each year and celebrating their devotion to their students has elevated the university and its dedication to its customers and patrons, the students and families we serve.

“Remembering that we are always and above all here to serve those students and their families, we applaud the ASU Sun Devil Family Association’s dedication of needed funds to student scholarships, and we thank them for the many years of acknowledgement and tribute given to the ASU faculty,” Blasingame says.

Since the first Professor of the Year was recognized in 1994, 16 others have received this honor, and hundreds of nominations have been submitted by students, faculty and staff.

Amy Ostrom, a marketing professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business and recipient of the 2007 Professor of the Year award, says the additional scholarships will help more students remain at ASU who may not have been able to do so otherwise. “Ultimately, as faculty, we want as many students as possible to be able to gain the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals and make positive contributions to the world,” she says.  

The Sun Devil Family Association’s mission for 30 years has been to provide support for ASU and student success. To contribute to the association's scholarships, please contact Robin Okun Hengl at, or go to