Giving gifts of stock: The basics

5 questions with Jeff Mindlin, vice president of investments, ASU Enterprise Partners

October 13, 2017

What are some of the ways one can give appreciated investments as a gift?

There are two ways to donate appreciated investments: the first way is to sell the stock, bond or mutual fund share and donate cash proceeds from the sale. Alternatively, securities can be contributed directly as a gift in-kind portrait of Jeff Midlin Jeff Mindlin, vice president of investments, ASU Enterprise Partners Download Full Image

How can gifts of stock or mutual funds maximize tax benefits?

A gift of appreciated securities may qualify for a charitable tax deduction and may avoid the long-term capital gains tax on the appreciated value of the asset. Stocks or bonds held more than one year that have increased in value may qualify for a deduction equal to the full market value of the gift.

For example, let’s say you purchased a stock a few years ago for $25,000 and that stock is now worth $100,000. If you donated the stock, you could get a full deduction of the $100,000 while avoiding the $75,000 taxable capital gain.

With stocks or bonds worth less than the price you paid for them, the wisest course is to sell them and donate the cash proceeds. The sale will establish a loss that may offset other capital gains income.

How are gifts of stock used by the ASU Foundation?

In the past, appreciated securities were donated to the ASU Foundation as outright unrestricted gifts, to establish an endowment or to directly support any of 5,000+ campus initiatives.

Is there a maximum or minimum dollar amount worth of stocks required to make a donation that benefits ASU?

There is no minimum or maximum required dollar amount. However, if the proceeds intend to establish an endowment, there might be minimum guidelines.

Recently, we have seen an uptick in corporate officers and directors gifting a portion of their company shares. In most cases, this works like any other stock gift, but can get more sensitive with smaller companies whose shares do not trade with as much liquidity. In these cases, we exercise great care to ensure that liquidating the shares has minimal market impact to stock price. We can coordinate our efforts between the donor and trade desk to work out of the stock over a prescribed amount of time to minimize market impact while maximizing value of the deduction and value of the gift to the university.

What are some reasons that might make it a good time to donate stock?

With the stock market at all-time highs, it is likely that donors are holding onto stocks that have large unrealized capital gains.

At the same time, we are currently in the second longest bull market in history. While most experts do not see a big crash around the corner, the risk vs. reward is starting to get less attractive as stock valuations get stretched and complacency grows.

All things considered, it may well be a good time to take advantage of the high levels of the stock market to maximize the value of a deduction before we see any kind of sell-off that might lessen the impact of the gift as well as the potential tax write-off.

We encourage donors to consult with their tax advisors for questions about the deductibility of their gifts. To make a security gift or learn more, please visit 

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A tale of two families

Family collections to be part of ASU's Chicano/a Research Collection.
Wednesday ceremony to honor donors at Hayden Library in Tempe.
September 29, 2017

Historical treasures help tell the story of Mexican-Americans in Arizona; collections find a welcome home at ASU Library

Diana Hinojosa DeLugan sat outside on a bench at her home in Tempe, peeling away layers of newspaper from a package as the early evening light faded behind her. Slowly, two 45 RPM vinyl records emerged. They were her father’s, recorded in the 1960s when the jarochoThis is a regional folk musical style from Veracruz, a Mexican state along the Gulf of Mexico. musician was in his 30s. Hinojosa DeLugan had packed them away after his funeral services 20 years ago — this was the first time she’d seen them since. Almost immediately her eyes began to well and she brought a hand to her lips.

“I didn’t want to open them until they had a good home,” she said.


Laura Franco French surveyed the items laid out before her. A traditional "china poblana"-style Mexican skirt, shimmering with hundreds of painstakingly sewn sequins; a threadbare flag, the vibrant red, green and white stripes now faded and yellowed; a copy of the Spanish-language Phoenix newspaper El Sol, which stopped production in the 1980s. All of it Franco French found stowed away in her parents’ home after they’d passed.

“My mom saved everything,” she said. “But it wasn’t for me to keep all of this.”


All of that and many more of the family treasures Hinojosa DeLugan and Franco French hold dear have finally found a home befitting their historical significance, among the archives in ASU Library’s Chicano/a Research Collection. Both women will be honored for their contributions at a public ceremony at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, in ASU’s Hayden Library on the Tempe campus.

“Everything [in their collections] is of historic importance because everything relates to the building of what we now call the Mexican community of Phoenix,” former ASU archivist Christine Marin said. Though now retired, Marin helped facilitate their donations.

“If we want to look at the history of Mexicanos, or Mexicans in Phoenix, we have to look at families, their contributions, their professions, the things that they did to bring people together.”

ASU Library archivist and curator of the Chicano/a Research Collection Nancy Godoy has spent over a year processing, preserving and making the items donated from the Hinojosa and Franco French families publicly available via ASU Library's online portal.

“Family collections, for me, personally, are very important because they tell so many different stories,” she said. “So that’s priority for us, to make these collections accessible to the community.”

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Godoy is an expert in the art of preservation. Photos are placed in special Mylar sheets, and items like clothing and newspapers are placed in acid-free boxes and folders.

“This material will be here probably longer than most of us,” Godoy said, referring to a group of university staff gathered to receive the latest donation from Franco French. “It has a life expectancy of 50 to 100 years if you properly monitor the material.”

That’s great news to Franco French and Hinojosa DeLugan. It’s clear they spent a lot of time considering whether to part with their family heirlooms, and they’re glad to know the items will be available for students, researchers and the public for years to come.

“I’m so proud of the legacy of Mexican-Americans in Arizona that I wanted [these items] to be accessible to everyone and to have people honor the rich heritage that we have,” Franco French said.

Their stories are different yet the same.


Fidencio Hinojosa and his bandmates

Musician Fidencio Garcia Hinojosa (second from left) was known for popularizing jarocho music in the Phoenix area during the middle of the 20th century. This photo of him and his bandmates is part of the collection of memorabilita and family heirlooms being donated by his daughter to the Chicano/a Research Collection at ASU's Hayden Library.

Hinojosa DeLugan is the daughter of beloved Veracruz-born musician Fidencio Garcia Hinojosa, known for popularizing jarocho music in the Phoenix area. She describes jarocho as “a fusion of Afro-Cuban, indigenous and true Spanish music,” usually accompanied by zapateado, hard-heeled dancing that acts as additional instrumentation to keep the beat.

Ritchie Valens' 1958 smash hit “La Bamba” is probably the most well-known example of the style, she said.

Garcia Hinojosa crossed the border from Mexico into Texas as a young teen in the 1940s seeking a better life after playing the guitar in a traveling circus. He adopted the name Hinojosa from the migrant worker family that took him in there. Before that, he would spend his days waiting for tourists to throw money into the Rio Grande and dive into the river to collect it as a means of survival.

Eventually, Garcia Hinojosa made his way to Phoenix, where he continued playing music. At one point, he was approached by a group of businessmen who were opening a restaurant near Scottsdale and McDowell Roads. They wanted a house band and asked him to be the leader of a group.

One of the items Hinojosa DeLugan donated is a document from the U.S. Department of Immigration, which the businessmen petitioned to bring the other members of the group in from Mexico. It states that they were the only group of traditional jarocho musicians in existence in the U.S.

“This is a unique music history because it’s not just music in general, it’s jarocho music,” said Hinojosa DeLugan, a singer herself. “Most people, when they think of Mexican music, they automatically think of mariachi, the big hat, the charro outfit. That’s kind of the icon of Mexican music. … So I thought it would be good for Arizona to remember this.”

She remembers being a child living in a house in an area of town known then as Las MilpasThe word “milpa” is derived from the Nahuatl word phrase mil-pa, which translates to “maize field.”, now the location of GateWay Community College Central City campus. At times, the house was brimming with the families of musicians who would visit to play with her father — and also brimming with their voices.

“A true jarocho has a way of singing their words,” she said. “It’s very different than what we know as colloquial Spanish. Even though I had never heard [my father] speak that way, it took him no time at all to go into singing his words.”

Meeting those HuastecaThe term “Huasteca” describes a person from a region of Mexico including the state of Veracruz, where Fidencio Garcia Hinojosa was from. families and hearing those voices opened a window into her father’s past, and thereby her own history.

“It was nice to learn about where my father was from, and his people,” said Hinojosa DeLugan, who was born in Phoenix.

Garcia Hinojosa performed all over the Valley, at large public events like the Fiestas Patrias, Mexican Independence Day celebrations, as well as small, intimate gatherings. Sometimes, like when he played for the former Gov. Raul Castro’s campaign events, his daughter would accompany him.

“To be able to play the music that was so unique. … For the Hispanic culture, it’s part of what brings us together as a people, as a tribe, as a clan,” Hinojosa DeLugan said.

Fidencio Garcia Hinojosa

As Fidencio Garcia Hinojosa went through the naturalization process, he meticulously saved every document: his naturalization papers, a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance, a novelty American flag. All of those items are now a part of the collection at Hayden Library.

She also remembers times in the Las Milpas home gathered around the table with her family after dinner, when her father would study to become a U.S. citizen.

“He’d study everything. Geography, everything to do with the U.S.,” she said.

As Garcia Hinojosa went through the naturalization process, he meticulously saved every document: his naturalization papers, a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance, a novelty American flag. All of those items are now a part of the collection at Hayden Library.

“To find all [of that] intact just showed me how much it meant to him” to be an American citizen, Hinojosa DeLugan said.

Her father also studied Mexican songbooks. He’d never spent a day in school and didn’t know how to read or write Spanish or English, so that was how he learned, she said. The songbooks also told the history of the music and what inspired it. Before he passed, he put all of them in a big, brown suitcase and gave them to his daughter.

“I opened it up, and there were 80-plus songbooks,” Hinojosa DeLugan said. They dated from the late 1940s through the 1990s. She has since added several more to the collection, dating as far back as 1914.

“These songbooks are a tremendous wealth to so many people,” she said, because they tell the story of the history of Mexico through lyrics.

And then there are the letters, nearly a decade's worth. Letters from her father to his family, from his family to her father. After he left Mexico, he only ever saw them once, for a brief visit in the 1970s. Hinojosa DeLugan had reservations about including the letters in the collection because they were so personal. She tells of reading her grandmother’s words and feeling the “angst, sadness and loneliness.”

After some reflection, she decided to include them “specifically because my father was just like so many other people. ... He was an immigrant. And so many immigrants face the exact same thing. The struggles of the loss of their families, the desire to want to be with them and they can’t. The desire to want to help and they can’t. … I want people to know that this is a true story for so many immigrants.

“This is the face of an immigrant who came [to the U.S.] … and achieved his goal [of becoming a citizen], and the truth of what it meant to him to be so proud of that.”

Hinojosa DeLugan said she wants people to know her father’s story because it shows that “you can love where you came from, you can love the culture, which he did, he was passionate about it, his identity was being a jarocho musician. You can have that, but you don’t have to lose it to become a U.S. citizen.”

“His life was straddling both borders,” she said. “We lived, breathed and sang Mexico, spoke Spanish, ate Mexican food, danced Mexican dances, sang songs from Veracruz. Yet, just as important was, ‘Don’t forget, it’s time to vote! This is your duty as a citizen.’”

She still performs with her band, Rhythm Express, two or three times a month at various spots around Phoenix. And she still thinks of her father every time.

“He was so much of what became my identity as a human being,” she said. “To this day, when I perform songs, I stand there singing and I’m thinking of my dad, of the songs we used to sing together.

“I’ll always be his jarochita.”

Franco French

Fiestas Patrias queens in midcentury Phoenix

An image of the Fiestas Patrias in Phoenix from the Franco French family collection being donated to the ASU Library. Laura Franco French's grandparents brought to Phoenix the tradition of Fiestas Patrias “queens,” a custom at the celebrations in Mexico.

Laura Franco French never met her grandparents but, she said, “It was as though I did because my mom kept them alive always” through stories and pieces of the past she kept.

Her grandfather, Jesus Franco, served as the consul generalThe consul general is the highest-ranking consul among those consuls serving as representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another. from Mexico to Arizona. His wife, Josefina — known among those close to her as “Fina” — was quiet, elegant and ladylike, Franco French said, but nevertheless a trailblazer who oversaw the production of El Sol, one of the first Spanish-language newspapers in Phoenix, as well as several civic organizations and community efforts.

“I remember my mom telling me how [my grandmother] found out about some fieldworkers who were in freezing conditions,” Franco French said. “So she organized the community to go out and get clothes, and used the medium of journalism to get that message out.”

It was hard enough at that time being a woman, but being a minority woman and doing all that she did, Franco French said, was brave and noteworthy.

Her grandfather also wrote for El Sol and served as the publisher. Copies of the newspaper are very hard to find nowadays because not many people saved them, and libraries at the time didn’t subscribe to Spanish-language newspapers. The ones Franco French was able to donate will help researchers looking for firsthand accounts of Mexican-American life in Arizona during the 1930s through 1980s, when El Sol was in production.

“Times were really difficult in the 1930s for Mexicans,” Franco French said. “It was a very segregated community, and people fought very hard to end that. So for people who didn’t grow up with that, we need to know that others fought for us and paved the way, and we have to honor that.”

Together, her grandparents established and ran Phoenix’s first Fiestas Patrias celebrations, which her mother, Maria Josefina French, eventually took over. Among the items she donated are black-and-white photos of Fiestas Patrias “queens,” a tradition at the celebrations in Mexico that her parents brought to Phoenix, as well as a "china poblana"-style skirt, worn by dancers and revelers.

Franco French also donated her grandfather’s vast library collection, full of leather-bound Spanish-language literature and history books. He loved to read and write, and as she was going through his books, she found little pieces of poems he had written.

If her grandmother was a quiet trailblazer, Franco French’s mother was an audible force. When she took over the Fiestas Patrias duties from her parents, she took them very seriously. Franco French remembers one evening, around midnight, her mother went next door to their neighbor, then Secretary of State Richard Mahoney, and knocked on the door. She’d heard that he wouldn’t be attending the celebration and was adamant about changing his mind.

“She always made sure that the governor and the mayor [and other officials] had to be there. And if they weren’t going to be there, there had to be a really good reason, because it had to be inclusive,” Franco French said. “My mom was a fighter, and she was not afraid of anyone. She made sure that everyone knew we were Mexican and we were proud, and this was our history.”

Though Franco French did not take over the Fiestas Patrias duties from her mother, she still attends the celebrations today and echoes her family’s civic-minded nature through her work as the director of communications and community partnerships for Greater Phoenix Leadership.

There has been a lot of progress in recognizing the contributions of Mexican-Americans to the history of Arizona since her grandparents’ time, Franco French said — “but there’s always room for improvement.”

“We have certain politicians who have really focused on erroneous and negative aspects of being Latino,” she said. “[Individuals] who prey on a fear that isn’t true.

“I think it’s really important to share those stories. They make up who we are and what we become and remind us of where we come from. We all come from very humble roots, we’re all immigrants, so when we get some of this nativist fervor that certain politicians use for their gain, it’s good to look back and remember we all came from a certain place.”

Franco French is excited to see the items she has shared become available to the community, and she hopes they will serve to educate future generations.

“I am so thankful to ASU,” she said. “I would have just had it all in a box, and that’s not where it should be.”

Top photo: Children take part in a Fiestas Patrias parade in midcentury Phoenix, in a photo that is part of the French Franco family collection being donated to ASU.

Commitment to inclusiveness inspires donors to support ASU students

September 28, 2017

Born and raised in Arizona, Alicia Garcia knew that one day she would be a Sun Devil. Izzamar Gracia Basaca was born in Phoenix but raised in Nogales. She returned to complete her education. Now both are pursuing degrees in social work with the help of the Redman Family Scholarship.

“I am in the last year of my program so many of the grants I am eligible for are exhausted or dwindling. The Redman Family Scholarship allows me to focus on my classes, internship, and homework instead of worrying about working more to pay for school,” Garcia said. Redmans with Alicia Linda and Charles Redman are supporting aspiring social workers like Izzamar Gracia Basaca (center) through the Redman Family Scholarship. Photo by Matthew Ingram/ASU Download Full Image

Basaca earned her associate’s degree at Phoenix College before transferring to ASU.

“My parents and I were not prepared for the cost of college,” said Basaca, who has worked multiple jobs to cover expenses while attending school part-time. “Receiving financial aid allows me to go to school full-time and finish my bachelor’s degree in two years.”

Linda and Charles Redman established the scholarship to provide financial support to underrepresented, first-generation college students as they work toward a degree in social work and strive to better their community.

The idea for the scholarship stemmed from Linda Redman’s work with ASU’s Women and Philanthropy where she had supported their scholarship program.

“Up until then, we had assumed that millions had to be invested,” she said.

They began to develop a scholarship drawing upon personal experience.

Active community supporters, the Redmans are both believers in ASU’s commitment to inclusiveness and engagement. Their work mentoring grade-school children from primarily Latino families to help them prepare for college served as an inspiration.

“We recognized the need for scholarships, especially among those who were good students but not at the top of their class as well as those that were transferring from community colleges, which is a key starting point for many of these students,” said Charles Redman. “We also wanted to support a field in which there was a critical need for graduates, especially those who are bilingual. Linda’s work with the mental-health system led her to the School of Social Work where scholarships were more limited.”

Both Garcia and Basaca were granted Redman Family Scholarships this year.

“I fell into social work,” said Garcia. “Originally I went to school for American Sign Language interpreting. As I began fieldwork I struggled with the limitations of my role; it was clear I wanted a bigger role in the helping field. A professor of mine suggested I try social work, and I fell in love with it.”

Basaca is determined to work in the juvenile justice system.

“I want to change the lives of troubled kids by reminding them that they are worthy and providing them with the resources to reintegrate into society.”

She has volunteered with Future for Kids, mentoring fifth-grade, at-risk youth.

“It made an impact on me,” Basaca said. “I am even more determined to assist children who are affected by adverse childhood experiences. These children are not hopeless. They deserve a chance, and I believe I can help them be successful.”

“We really enjoy learning about the recipients of the scholarship; it always brings wonderment and tears to our eyes to read and hear about the challenges that these students have had to overcome to get where they are today,” Linda Redman said.

“We hope that this scholarship, and other scholarships that our model may inspire, play a role in supporting these students toward their end goal of graduating from the School of Social Work and in enabling them to get a personally rewarding job in the community,” Charles added.

“I think scholarships help the community most by giving students that might not otherwise be able to afford it the opportunity at a higher education,” Garcia said.

Garcia hopes to stay in the deaf community, focusing on working with children who are deaf.

“I am currently interning for the Arizona Department of Health Services' Newborn Screening Program, which includes hearing screenings. I am responsible for making sure babies who fail their initial screen have a confirmation screen by one month of age, diagnosis by three months of age, and an intervention in place by six months of age. I am pretty much living the dream,” she said.

Heather Beshears

director marketing and communications, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


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Disrupting diabetes and challenging convention

September 22, 2017

Following the lead of a patient researcher who created an artificial pancreas, ASU team is helping to transform diabetes care

The problem was simple but serious. Dana Lewis has type 1 diabetes and is a heavy sleeper, and the alarm on her continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device that let her know her glucose levels were dangerously low wasn’t loud enough to wake her up at night.

On nights when this happened, she awoke the next day feeling exhausted. It also added to her worry that one day she might not wake up.

For those living with type 1 diabetes, maintaining steady glucose levels at all hours of the day is critical, and doing so while sleeping can be particularly challenging, even life-threatening.

After searching unsuccessfully for devices with a louder alarm, Lewis set out to solve the problem herself. Learning everything she could about her CGM device, she developed a hack that allowed her to turn up the alarm volume and rest easier at night.

But the Seattle woman didn’t stop there. Dissatisfied with the type 1 diabetes treatment options on the market, Lewis sought out her own solutions. Along with her now husband Scott Leibrand, in 2013 she developed a predictive algorithm that forecasts her glucose levels throughout the day and creates personalized recommendations for needed actions.

A year later, using off-the-shelf hardware and additional open-source code, she became one of the first people in the world to build a hybrid closed-loop artificial pancreasThe Artificial Pancreas System (APS) is designed to automatically adjust an insulin pump’s basal insulin delivery to keep blood glucose in a safe range overnight and between meals. It does this by communicating with an insulin pump to obtain details of all recent insulin dosing (basal and boluses), by communicating with a Continuous Glucose Monitor to obtain current and recent blood glucose estimates, and by issuing commands to the insulin pump to adjust temporary basal rates as needed. to automate adjustments of insulin delivery, a long-sought-after advancement among people with type 1 diabetes, and one that wouldn’t become commercially available until mid-2017. She explains that her system, which is now open-source, continues to offer greater flexibility and customizations than the technology currently available on the market.

diabetes, glucose, openAPS

Dana Lewis, patient researcher, displays her open-source artificial pancreas system.

Today, Lewis is using this experience to improve the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes by sharing her story and techniques through the online community she founded, By doing so, she is challenging the notion of what it means to be a professional scientist.

Lewis’ work is being supported by a nearly half-million-dollar grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, administered through the ASU Foundation. She’s working with co-principle investigators Eric Hekler, associate professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions, and Erik Johnston, associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and director of policy informatics at the Decision Theater. Along with Keren Hirsch, business operations specialist with the Tempe Decision Theater, postdoctoral fellow John Harlow and doctorate student Sayali Phatak, the team will explore the potential of citizen scientists like Lewis to disrupt traditional scientific research and give patients the tools they need to better manage their health care.

Hekler first met Lewis in 2016 when she presented at a conference he was attending. Inspired by her work and message, he felt compelled to support her efforts, bringing Johnston into the discussions.

“We are called to be responsible for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities we are a part of,” Johnston said. “Waiting for expertise to arrive fails vulnerable populations. Dana is demonstrating, and we will affirm through this work, that expertise is not just credentialed expertise. This was ASU’s charter in action.”

Hekler hopes to determine how expanding patient-led, use-inspired scientific research and data collection can inform real-world problem-solving.

“Dana is the type of person we need to reinvigorate the population to be engaged in questions of science and how common people can find solutions,” Hekler said.

“There is an inherent power hierarchy in health care that puts patients between a rock and a hard place,” Lewis said. “Patients are expected to be compliant with the doctor’s orders, but also engaged and empowered to drive their own care. Through this grant, we hope to begin dismantling this hierarchy and provide new pathways for patient-led research.”

It’s a different way of looking at science and medicine, one the team rightly acknowledges.

A communications professional by trade, Lewis doesn’t possess a traditional technical, engineering or medical background. The self-taught scientist is defying the customary model for science education, research and discovery, using her experience as a patient to inform her work.

“Living with type 1 diabetes has given me an acute understanding of my body, what it needs and how it reacts to changes,” Lewis said. “Patients living with a chronic illness have invaluable experiences that can inform our understanding of the disease and the development of personalized treatment options.”

Over the course of the 18-month grant, the team will explore strategies for supporting patient-led research. An on-call data science team will collaborate with patients to answer questions from people with type 1 diabetes seeking to improve their knowledge of diabetes management. An open data repository will store patients’ donated glucose-monitoring information in support of community-based research and discovery. The team will scale the work to other patient communities through the creation of protocols and training materials, with the goal of reducing the distance between knowledge discovery and use.

In spite of the team’s enthusiasm, the patient-as-scientist model is not without its critics.

“Patient-led research is often not taken seriously or respected by the academic and medical establishment due to it being driven by ‘non-professionals,’” Lewis said.

The model raises questions about the safety of self-experimentation, the reliability of data and the validity of research findings. The team will explore these very topics as part of the grant, as well as the barriers to patient-led research and stigmas associated with it.

To date, more than 400 people around the world have used Lewis’ research and experiences to develop personalized closed-loop systems, including Leo Koch, an 11-year-old in Waterville, Maine, who has been successfully managing his type 1 diabetes for the last year using his own closed-loop system.

“It’s been life-changing for us,” said Leo’s mother, Hilary Koch. “It’s been life-saving. If we could scream about it from the rooftops, we would.”

Leo’s mother is a vocal advocate for Lewis’ work and the system that changed her son’s life.

“The industry wasn’t moving as fast as it should have been,” Koch said. “We are not waitingThe OpenAPS global community, led by Lewis, uses the hashtag #WeAreNotWaiting to express their desire for more type 1 diabetes solutions that reduce the burden of care. The group supports each other by answering questions and sharing information. to keep our kids, loved ones, brothers and sisters safe.” Since her son began using the closed-loop system, his outlook has dramatically improved. “He will always be type 1, but it is so under control that a doctor wouldn’t diagnose him with type 1 diabetes looking solely at his glucose levels.”

And although Lewis’ system would seem primed for the commercial market, drawing attention from the U.S Food and Drug Administration, her intentions are more altruistic.

It’s her commitment to helping others living with type 1 diabetes that makes this project so unique, said Hekler.

“She isn’t doing this to try and get rich quick; she’s doing it to help other people live healthier, happier, safer lives,” Hekler said.

Lewis hopes that the development of information-sharing systems for patients in the diabetes community and beyond will allow greater collaboration among patient scientists and encourage non-traditional thinking about health-care innovation and discovery.

For Lewis, the grant is validation of her years’ worth of work.

“The fact that both ASU, with its reputation for innovation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have both said, ‘This work matters,’ means everything,” Lewis said. “It’s incredibly rewarding.”

NY Times columnist to speak at ASU’s Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series

Roger Cohen will discuss President Trump and how division is hardening across US

September 18, 2017

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will host the annual Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series with Roger Cohen, an award-winning columnist for the New York Times and the International New York Times. This free public lecture is funded with an endowed gift from Jonathan and Maxine Marshall.

The lecture, “The Disunited States: Trump and the Fracturing of America,” will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Ventana Ballroom at the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Marshall Lecture Speaker Roger Cohen Roger Cohen, an award-winning columnist for the New York Times and the International New York Times, will speak at the Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series. Download Full Image

Cohen, an op-ed columnist who writes about international affairs and diplomacy, will discuss the tactics of President Donald Trump and how division between red and blue states is hardening across America. The lecture explores how America can begin to heal in the face of disagreement and growing inequality.

In 1990, Cohen joined The New York Times. He has served as a foreign correspondent, foreign editor and columnist. In addition, Cohen has written a column for the International New York Times, formerly known as the International Herald Tribune, since 2004.

Cohen has written “Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo,” an account of the wars of Yugoslavia’s destruction, and “Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis’ Final Gamble.” He has also co-written a biography of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, “In the Eye of the Storm.” His family memoir, “The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family,” was published in January 2015.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Visitor parking for the event is available in the Apache Boulevard Structure. Standard parking rates apply, and attendees are responsible for any parking fees incurred. For additional information, call 480-965-2779.

About the Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series

The Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series brings to ASU nationally renowned scholars concerned with promoting culture through the humanities and a better understanding of the problems of democracy.

Amanda Stoneman

Senior Marketing Content Specialist, EdPlus


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ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has banner year for philanthropy

September 13, 2017

At the beginning of the year, Arizona State University publicly launched Campaign ASU 2020, a comprehensive effort to raise the long-term fundraising capacity of the university. And at the close of fiscal year 2017, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences had a record year for private support in the books.

By focusing on five of the six main funding priorities — ensure student access and excellence, champion student success, elevate the academic enterprise, fuel discovery and enrich communities — the college raised more than $100 million toward its $150 million campaign goal.

“Gifts of varying sizes from donors have made a significant impact for students and faculty, raising more funds for scholarships, academic programs and research initiatives following the launch of the campaign,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Ensuring student access and excellence

“Philanthropy is crucial to the success of the next generation of students,” said Logan Rhind, who graduated with the Class of 2015 and donated to the college last year. “Any size donations are used to give opportunities for others to learn about the world and find their place in it. Personally, I feel honored to give back.”

Rhind, a political science major and European history minor, received a scholarship from the Social Sciences Dean’s Investment Fund. He said without it, he wouldn’t have been able to attend ASU.

“I loved my time in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Rhind, an administrative assistant for development and marketing at Barrett, the Honors College. “The college is doing phenomenal things and I wanted to help those ventures, especially because the arts and humanities are not always receiving funding.”

Rhind said he gave to the same fund he received a scholarship from because he wanted to do his small part to ensure students with a passion for liberal arts and sciences have the ability to pursue their dreams, just like he was able to find his place in student affairs.

“Small gifts are the driving force behind engagement. It reconnects alumni and opens up more opportunities for them to return and assist current students,” he said. “Small gifts are also a sign of respect and gratitude. I gave what I could because I respect the college and university for helping me when I needed it. I plan on making continued gifts to the college as long as I’m financially able.”

Alumnus Jorge Coss Ortega is also interested in engaging recent alumni to give back to the college and university. He just graduated with the Class of 2017 and joined the Dean’s Council Emerging Leaders program, an initiative to re-engage alumni and help shape the college’s future. He donated to the Dean’s Investment Fund and hopes to create his own scholarship fund.

“Philanthropy is one of the best ways to spark change and elevate the social and economic standards of an entire society,” said Coss Oretga, who’s one of the first-ever designated O’Connor Fellows at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and a first-year law student. “I want to create scholarships and programs that will help future leaders attain their educational goals. These opportunities helped me when I was an undergrad, and I want to make sure they’re available to all students.”

Championing student success

Similarly, engaged community members Herb and Laura Roskind are dedicated to helping students succeed with Early Start — a discipline-specific, two-week immersion program held prior to the start of the fall semester to help incoming freshmen gain the necessary tools for a successful college experience. After reading through the Campaign ASU 2020 statement, they started the first Early Start endowment.

“These young people are very bright and they just need a little extra academic push to get them started,” said Laura Roskind, a community member who has been very involved with the university. “I think it’s almost a duty of all citizens to help young people excel, especially young people who’ve never had a chance to have an advanced education.”

Elevating the academic enterprise

Donors Donald Seiwell and Brian Martin have made contributions to the Department of Physics to support teaching and learning at the university and beyond. 

Seiwell earned his bachelor’s degree in physics education and master’s degree in administration and supervision on the secondary level from ASU. He spent most of his career teaching physics and math, but he also had administration experience and served on the Advisory Panel for the State Commission for Teacher Training and Credentialing. He said his years in administration and service created a deeper understanding of how unrestricted funds can enable a department to make a greater impact.

Martin received training in high school physics teaching as part of ASU’s Physics Modeling Instruction program. He has been teaching for more than 30 years and ramped up his efforts with the program’s help. He said he hopes his gift helps the program continue because there are so few educational programs for secondary science teachers, particularly in physics, with years of empirical data proving its worth. 

“I gave back in a very small way compared to what I’ve gotten out of it,” he said.

Fueling discovery, creativity and innovation 

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences values all gifts — small gifts just as much as larger gifts. Donor Albert Thurman, an entomology expedition leader and research associate with ASU’s Hasbrouck Insect Collection, recently donated to the School of Life Sciences PitchFunder campaign to save a species of harlequin frogs that were thought to have gone extinct in Costa Rica.

The online campaign, composed of hundreds of small gifts from donors, ultimately raised more than $8,000 to help pull off the most successful field season with the harlequin frogs to date.

“The continued existence of the species is testimony to the philanthropic support we have received,” said Jan Schipper, a conservation and wildlife biologist in the School of Life Sciences. “We had the first visual evidence of tadpoles in this population ever — so they’re reproducing — and this might be the first year we haven’t had net negative population growth, which is amazing. It’s incredible to see that the combination of smaller donations was able to make such a difference.”

Thurman has also donated specimens from his personal collection to the Hasbrouck Insect Collection, which has the potential to grow into a much larger gift like the one from Lois and Charlie O’Brien — another impactful gift given to further research and discovery.

The O’Briens entrusted to ASU a $9.9 million collection of meticulously classified insect specimens to transform the university’s research in this field. They also endowed professorships in the School of Life Sciences devoted to insect systematics, the process of identifying and naming new species.

Enriching the college’s community with estate gifts

Many donors have set up estate gifts to impact units within the college, including the Department of English, the School of Life Sciences, the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Institute of Human Origins. 

“Estate gifts are a great way to create a permanent legacy,” said Bill Kavan, senior director of development in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The funding from estate gifts continue to support scholarships, faculty or academic programs forever.”

The college has already received more than $1 million from an estate gift set up by Elaine and Kenneth Leventhal. Elaine Leventhal had served on the board of the Institute of Human Origins for 30 years, and the Los Angeles couple included the institute in their estate because they were passionate about the work being done.

The Roskinds have also set up an estate gift for the institute. The couple served on the institute’s board for more than 10 years and have gone on trips with researchers to Madagascar, Ethiopia and South Africa. Laura Roskind said they’ve become very intrigued with life as it has emerged and changed over the past 2 million years and the kind of research the institute is doing in this arena.

“Philanthropy is absolutely crucial,” said Laura Roskind. “Especially for a university that wants to thrive as being innovative and research-oriented. We can’t do it without the support of donors.”

Amanda Stoneman

Senior Marketing Content Specialist , EdPlus


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ASU press worth its weight in maroon and gold

ASU's Pyracantha Press publishes fine books and special limited editions.
Among Pyracantha creations: Bill of Rights printed on pulp containing US flags.
September 7, 2017

Pyracantha Press uses collection of metal machines and moveable type to produce expressive, limited-edition works of art

There are thousands of printers, tablets and computers on the campuses of the nation's most innovative university.

But tucked away inside an underground classroom on Arizona State University's Tempe campus sits a relic that has its roots in Gutenberg.

It’s a breadth of heavy metal presses and moveable type, collectively weighing in at an estimated 30 tons. It occupies 2,000 square feet of space fanned out over two locations, and includes 3,000 cases of metal and wood type — enough to fill several semi-trucks.

“This collection gives students and academics an incredible resource for teaching and creative research,” said Daniel Mayer, director of Pyracantha Press in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“The work we do here is super labor-intensive, and every project is unique and a work of art.”

Most of the book projects are by invitation only, and each production can range from one to five years. Print runs can vary from 10 to 200 copies, depending on project complexity, handwork and duration.

“A lot of the projects we choose are culturally significant and interdisciplinary,” Mayer said. “We are very selective in our choice, often picking subjects that might otherwise not see the light of day.” 

printed pages of paper made with clothing fibers

These pieces were created from paper 
made from clothing that refugees were
wearing when they fled their homelands.

Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Pyracantha has produced approximately 30 original books for national and international poets, artists, musicians, ceramists, historians and historical figures. They’ve also re-created works by William Shakespeare, James Dickey, Rita Dove and ASU’s own Alberto Rios, Arizona's poet laureate. 

Kurt Weiser, ASU art professor and ceramist, is Pyracantha’s newest author. He’s excited about a special limited-edition book of his work, which Mayer said will be published later this year.

“It’s different than ceramics. I don’t have to fire it. It doesn’t shrink. It doesn’t crack, and it doesn’t peel off,” Weiser said. “What you see is what you get. There’s certainly a craft to the printing process, and right now I’m just watching and listening.”

The two have been collaborating on the project since February, which includes dialogue, proofing sessions, prototyping, cutting, folding and constant trouble shooting, according to Mayer.

“It has to be precise,” Mayer said. “Everything is hand-produced and hand-built. That’s what makes our books special.”

Originally established as a letterpress shop in 1981 inside of the Art Building, Pyracantha Press publishes fine books and special limited editions for individuals, collectors and special collections, including the Getty Center, Yale University, Klingspor Museum in Germany, the Library of Congress and others. The press is self-supporting and receives sustaining gifts from the Hatchfund and the Philip C. Curtis Charitable Trust.

In 2016, ASU was gifted the Adam Repan Petko Type Collection, making ASU’s type collection the largest at any institution of higher education in North America. Twenty years prior, he donated 10 tons of type to the book arts program and Pyracantha Press.

Despite its massive size and weight, the press is capable of producing expressive works of art, said Professor Emeritus John Risseeuw, who came to ASU in 1980 to establish a book arts program within the printmaking area of the School of Art in what was then known as the Herberger College of the Arts.  

“In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, this equipment was being offloaded by the industry as equipment was upgraded, so people like us, collectors, took it in so it wouldn’t be put in the trash and started making art with it,” Risseeuw said.

Risseeuw added that this type of press is expanding commercially and gaining popularity with universities nationwide. He says the fascination remains because of the sentimentality factor and continues to be "a medium of expression."

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Some of the titles in the Pyracantha catalog have been spectacular. They include:

  • Venus and Adonis” — a 1984 edited version of William Shakespeare’s narrative poem. Includes an introduction by John Doebler, with two lithographs by Leonard Lehrer. Bound in leather and maroon linen.
  • The Bill of Rights — a five-color broadside of the text of the Bill of Rights to commemorate the bicentennial of the document on Dec. 15, 1991. It was printed on 100 percent rag handmade paper from pulp containing cotton American flags.
  • PETRIfied forEAST” — a 1994 collaboration with three poets and artists from Budapest and Hungary on the theme of freedom and oppression.
  • Eco Songs” — a song cycle based on poetic works by Chief Dan George, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Stevie Smith, Alfonsina Storni, Li Po and the Book of Job. Published in 2000, it includes an artist’s book constructed of plant fibers from around the world, a CD of music and a colophon about the making of the book.

Pyracantha will remain in good hands, said Mayer, now in his 30th year at ASU. Part of his charge is to continue the tradition by training the next generation of printers — people like design major Hailey Tang, who has a passion for books.

The 21-year-old Herberger Institute junior is not only being mentored by Mayer but is the president of A Buncha Book Artists, an ASU student-run organization of interdisciplinary artists and writers working in the contemporary artist book movement.

Tang said their generation has transitioned into a digital lifestyle where many believe books have become obsolete. Tang said, however, that book and printmaking can never be fully replaced by the digital medium.

“I find that as a designer and artist that books are a huge part of how I tell other peoples’ stories and communicating ideas,” Tang said. “I hope that I can keep the book arts alive in the future and make others realize how it is needed.”

Top photo: The basement press room of the ASU Art Building houses Pyracantha Press and contains more than 30 tons of metal- and wood-type for use on its several presses. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Enshrining a legend

Tillman statue an authentic likeness, down to the era-accurate football helmet.
ASU football team to start tradition of touching statue as they charge field.
August 30, 2017

Bronze statue of Pat Tillman, created by an ASU alumna, looms large both in ASU hearts and now at Sun Devil Stadium

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.

Arizona State University has unveiled a new statue of American hero Pat Tillman, who played football at ASU before sacrificing his life as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan in 2004.

On Wednesday evening, a maroon-and-gold wrap dropped to reveal the life-size bronze figure of Tillman, shown in his ASU uniform, ready to sprint onto the field. Including a pedestal, the statue stands 7½ feet tall in front of the new Tillman Tunnel that leads players onto the north end of Frank Kush Field at Sun Devil Stadium.

Kevin Tillman spoke at the unveiling ceremony, telling the crowd that his brother’s likeness is everywhere at ASU but that the university had a big impact on Pat as well.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could be. He didn’t focus on money or things or a pretty statue,” he said. “It was, ‘How do I make myself better in all of these different facets in my life?’ And ASU gave him the opportunity to do that.”

ASU Coach Todd Graham said the football team will start a new tradition of touching the statue as they charge onto the football field.

“I want to challenge our players with this,” he said. “If you come out and touch that statue, you need to pour everything you have onto the field and play with passion because that’s what his life was about — having a passion for what you’re doing.”

Artist Jeff Carol Davenport, an ASU alumna, created the statue, which portrays a younger Pat Tillman with a fringe of hair peeking out from under his helmet.

“I’m an ASU graduate and I had followed Pat’s journey, and I always thought it would be wonderful to do a sculpture of Pat,” said Davenport, an art teacher at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix who spent nine months on the project.

“It’s a great honor to do this.”

Tillman was a student-athlete at ASU from 1994 to 1998, earning a degree in marketing, and then played football professionally with the Arizona Cardinals. Reacting to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Tillman brothers enlisted in the Army together in May 2002. Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan in 2004.

Tillman’s influence still touches the ASU football team, whose members wear number 42 on their uniforms every year. Graham said the team watches highlights of Tillman almost every day because his passion for playing inspired his teammates to excel.

Arthur Pearce II, a Mesa businessman and third-generation Sun Devil, donated the statue after hearing Graham’s vision for it.

“I’ve always admired Pat, as everybody has in Arizona,” said Pearce, who earned a degree in business from ASU in 1975 and watched Tillman play in the 1990s.

“Pat symbolizes courage and persevered to be the best he could be,” said Pearce, who pulled the cord that unveiled the statue at a ceremony attended by the Tillman family, ASU leaders and football players.

“This will be a lasting memory of Pat that will be here 100 years from now so students from Arizona State will know who he is.”

Pearce asked Davenport to create the Tillman statue because he was so pleased with the 2014 sculpture she did of Pearce’s grandfather, Zebulon Pearce, that sits in downtown Mesa. Zebulon Pearce played football at the Tempe Normal School — now ASU — in 1899, graduating with teaching credentialsThe Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award, named for him and established in 1971, honors teaching excellence in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

Sculpting is only one of Davenport’s careers. She earned her master’s of elementary education in 2008 from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU and has been teaching while also making art in her studio in New River.

“I taught fourth grade my first year teaching, and for our field trip we went to the state Capitol,” she said. “I told the students that I made the police K-9 memorial that’s there, and when they saw it, they started asking for my autograph.”

Davenport was so excited when Pearce asked her to do the project in November that she started sketching out the model that night. She began by looking at every photograph of Tillman that she could find.

“In the original image I was given of Pat coming out of the tunnel, his hands are just at his side in a more relaxed pose, but I wanted to tell a little more of the story,” she said.

“So in the final form, his glove from his right hand is in his left hand because in my mind, he’s so anxious to get onto the field that he didn’t put his glove on.”

The sculpting process started with an 18-inch-tall maquette, or model, made out of clay. Originally, she designed it with Tillman not wearing a helmet. But ASU and the Tillman family asked that she create the image with a helmet. She bought a helmet from Tillman’s era so she could get the Sparky logo just right.

The final maquette was taken to Bollinger Atelier, a fine-arts foundry in Tempe, where the staff made a digital scan and then created a three-dimensional version in foam. The foam was coated with rubber and then clay to make the molds.

Bronze ingots were heated to 2,030 degrees and poured into the molds. Because the statue is so large, it was divided into several molds. After cooling, Davenport took a sledgehammer to the molds to reveal the bronze pieces underneath. The pieces were then welded together.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

Davenport wanted a specialist to work on the finish, or patina, of the statue, so she had ASU alumna Aiya Jordan come from San Francisco to spend a full day completing the exterior. Bronze is somewhat flat in appearance, and applying special patinas creates a glowing finish with a hint of color.

Jordan spent several hours one day recently with a huge blowtorch in one hand and a squirt bottle of chemicals in the other, climbing up and down a ladder, coaxing out the image of Tillman in his uniform. Sulfurated potash, a dark substance, created definition in the folds of the socks and the veins on the forearms. A touch of maroon pigment brought the jersey to life.

After the patina process, a clear coat was applied, making the 400-pound bronze statue nearly impervious to damage from the Arizona sun.

Jordan, who earned a bachelor’s of fine arts from ASU's School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in 2004, worked with Davenport at Bollinger Atelier several years ago.

“I was super excited to do this because I’m an alumnus and because it’s Pat Tillman,” she said.

Davenport found the entire process to be emotional.

“For those who know me, I'm sure they would not be surprised to hear that I have shed several tears along the way, both happy and sad,” she said.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


New agricultural law course fills longtime void in Arizona

August 21, 2017

Agriculture has long been an important part of Arizona’s economy. Thanks to a member of one of the Phoenix area’s most influential farming families, agricultural law will be taught at an Arizona law school for the first time this fall.

Richard Morrison, who for decades has practiced and taught law in Arizona and has overseen several prominent family-owned agricultural enterprises, will teach the agricultural law class at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. The course will provide an overview of the ways legal aspects of agricultural production and agribusiness differ significantly from other industrial enterprises. And it will fill a longtime void. Richard Morrison Richard Morrison will teach the agricultural law class at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. The course will provide an overview of the ways legal aspects of agricultural production and agribusiness differ significantly from other industrial enterprises. Download Full Image

“This course fills a critical gap in our curriculum, and it’s something I’ve wanted us to offer for years,” said Troy Rule, faculty director of the Law and Sustainability Program at ASU Law. “The agricultural industry is a huge part of the state’s economy, so it’s great that we can finally educate students on the legal and policy issues surrounding it.”

Current and evolving regulations will be discussed in order to emphasize the fact that law becomes the embodiment of public policy, and policy often begins or changes in the context of proposed regulations. Professor Morrison said the class will highlight the unique agricultural applications of commercial, tort, natural resources and tax law.

The Morrisons were one of the first families to settle in the town of Gilbert, where they transformed small landholdings into one of the East Valley’s biggest farming operations, one of the nation’s largest dairy farms and one of Arizona’s largest ranching businesses. Morrison has worked throughout his life to make improvements for Arizona, agriculture and his community, including mentoring young adults interested in agriculture or civic leadership. This class will enable him to expose students with various educational backgrounds to the opportunities within agricultural law. While this course is on a trial basis, he would like to see it, or something similar, become permanent in ASU Law course listings.

“It is time for Arizona to support the next generation of agricultural lawyers, and this course will help us achieve that goal,” Morrison said. “Students will begin to see opportunities for employment after graduation in service of farmers, ranchers and the agribusiness sector. They will also have the opportunity to network with law students at other universities who are taking agricultural law classes. There are fewer than 1,000 members of the American Agricultural Law Association in the United States, and it is thus possible for each agricultural lawyer to feel a part of a unique community where everybody knows your name.”

Students will get to travel beyond the classroom to gain real-world experience and network with agricultural lawyers. One such opportunity will be the American Agricultural Law Association Annual Educational Symposium in Louisville from Oct. 26 to 28. Students who attend the symposium will hear from legal and policy experts who will address current issues in the industry, and recent case decisions in agriculture, natural resources, water, food, environmental and agribusiness law.

ASU’s Law and Sustainability Program is one of the most innovative in the country, and it is ranked No. 23 by U.S. News & World Report. Faculty experts research and teach in every major area of sustainability policy, including climate change, water, energy and environmental protection.

“This is an important addition because it expands the breadth of our program,” Rule said. “We offer courses covering a wide range of sustainability-related issues, and this was one of the last remaining areas where we lacked coverage.”

Morrison, who earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston in 1977, continued farming while beginning his law practice focused on water law, environmental law and issues facing special districts and agriculture. He became an expert in water law and was honored by having his biography published in Arizona’s Finest Lawyers. He has taught water resources management and agricultural law at ASU’s Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management for many years. The school was created with a gift from Morrison’s parents and is housed under ASU’s prestigious W. P. Carey School of Business.

“Richard is the ideal instructor to teach this class,” Rule said. “He’s a brilliant scholar, lawyer and teacher, and he understands the agricultural industry in Arizona as well as anybody.”

To learn more about ASU Law’s Law and Sustainability Program, go to

Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


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'Angels' forever change the lives of ASU scholarship recipients

'Angel' donor meets the grateful ASU student whose tuition she has funded.
August 14, 2017

Freshman tells benefactor that she has gotten him closer to his dream of becoming a doctor

Going to college is all about making connections — to professors, mentors and new friends. The Sun Devil Family Association has created a new kind of connection, as scholarship winners get to meet the “angels” who helped pay for their tuition to Arizona State University.

“I think what ASU does with education is superior, and I want to make sure that every child has a chance to get an education. It’s important to me,” said Junette West, a donor who met the student she funded on Monday.

West shook hands and posed for photographs with freshman Jesse Nguyen, who admitted to being a little nervous about meeting and thanking his benefactor.

“This person made my college career,” he said. “She is my extra step to becoming closer to being a doctor and getting that dream job.

“I’m planning to major in biological sciences, but I’ve heard that freshmen change their majors a lot,” Nguyen told West, who is an accountant for a real-estate company in Phoenix.

Nguyen, who is from Phoenix and went to Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, said he chose ASU because he wanted to be in Barrett, the Honors College.

“And it’s not too far from my family, who I know will try to reach out to me every other day.”

Nguyen is the third student that West has funded through the Sun Devil Family Association, a part of the ASU Foundation for a New American University, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising resources to advance ASU.

The two met at a breakfast the association held for all 55 of its scholarship winners this year. Five of those winners were funded by “angels," who can meet their students informally or at association events throughout the year.

Each Sun Devil Family AssociationBesides the scholarships, the Sun Devil Family Association also provides an emergency fund for students, Thanksgiving dinner for students who can’t go home, tutoring support and events for families. scholarship winner receives $5,000 and is selected based on financial need, academic achievement and community service, and most have faced special circumstances, such as being the first in their family to attend college or being in the foster-care system. The association also provides recipients with a support system, community-service activities and social events.

West said she received a similar scholarship years ago when she attended what was then Grand Canyon College, now Grand Canyon University.

“This is so much fun because the idea behind it is that the student has a face to go with the scholarship,” which forges a more personal bond, West said. “They then will want to give back, and it will develop philanthropy in them.”

West has two sons who graduated with engineering degrees from ASU.

“They’re both working in their fields and doing well, and I’m excited about that,” she said. “I started working with SDFA when my oldest son was a freshman, and I stayed involved even though my kids aren’t here now because I believe in helping students like Jesse get the education they deserve.”

Steve Murow, another "angel," knows what it’s like to struggle. He started college in the 1970s but had to drop out after a few years when his father died and his mother became seriously ill.

“I had no money. There was no angel to help. No emergency loan to be had. No family association to rescue me. No scholarship program,” said Murow, who described how he was able to stretch one box of macaroni and cheese over three days.

Now the owner of a construction consulting company, he received his degree in California last year. He joined the association in 2005, when his son was a freshman at ASU.

“It’s weird being called an angel when I’m the one blessed,” said Murow, whose donations benefitted a student who is now a senior studying aerospace engineering.

The scholarship winners had a chance to share their gratitude at the event. Megan Dalton, a nursing major, has received the Sun Devil Family Association scholarship three times.

“I remember when I was a senior in high school and I got the email that I got the scholarship and I walked outside my classroom and I was so ecstatic that I did a happy dance and was screaming in the hallway,” she said. “And every time I’ve gotten that email, it never changes. One thing that does change is how inspired I am to reach my goals, and that’s because of you guys.”

James Deibler, a public service and public policy major, is a transfer student and wants to work with people who have disabilities after he graduates.

“I have autism, and I am trying to overcome it by graduating from ASU like I graduated from Glendale Community College,” Deibler told the room full of people.

“I currently work at Basha’s and at the University of Phoenix Stadium to raise money for college. Without the support of the scholarship, I would not be able to go to ASU.”

Campaign ASU 2020 is rallying the campus community and beyond to support the university as it continues to redefine higher education. Following the public launch of Campaign ASU 2020 earlier this year, the ASU Foundation announced that donors set a new yearly fundraising record: $220 million in new gifts and commitments. For more information on the Sun Devil Family Association, click here.

Top photo: Freshman Jesse Nguyen meets Junette West, the donor who funded the Sun Devil Family Association scholarship that he received. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News