ASU alumnus honors Ted Brown’s memory by endowing a scholarship

School of Molecular Sciences grad salutes his late mentor

February 15, 2019

Professor Brian Rasley (ASU Class of ‘82) remembers clearly a conversation he had with Professor Ted Brown: Rasley told Brown he wasn’t sure how much he had really learned in the course of his undergraduate studies. Brown’s response? “One, you know more than you think you know, and two, don’t expect to win the Nobel Prize and you will probably be OK.” 

Even today the advice is pretty solid. Professor Brian Rasley ASU alumnus Brian Rasley, now an associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, has endowed an ASU scholarship in honor of Emeritus Professor Ted Brown. Download Full Image

Rasley took Brown’s inorganic chemistry class as an undergraduate and was impressed with his classroom presence. Eventually, he worked in Brown’s lab as an undergraduate while completing his senior year in college. Working in Brown’s lab was an eye-opening experience.  

“He was a great mentor,” said Rasley. “Getting to work with his grad students planted the idea of eventually going to graduate school.”

Although Rasley had graduated, he stayed in Tempe and worked in Brown’s lab for a summer. They kept in touch over the years and eventually Brown visited Rasley in Alaska, where he is now an associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the department of chemistry and biochemistry.  

The Ted Brown Memorial Chemistry Scholarship was established in 2018 in honor of Emeritus Professor Ted Brown through an endowment by Rasley. The purpose is to provide scholarship support for undergraduate students enrolled in the School of Molecular Sciences, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The scholarship pays tribute to Brown, whose mentorship Rasley credits as a guiding force in his growth as a student and eventually as a professor.

“I decided to start the scholarship for Ted because he was a very positive influence in my personal and academic life,” said Rasley. “He was a great person and a great educator.”

Alumni and Special Events Coordinator, School of Earth & Space Exploration


T.W. Lewis Foundation contributes $2.5M for Barrett Honors College student success, personal development centers

January 31, 2019

Tom and Jan Lewis envision a one-stop shop where students in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University can go for assistance with personal development, career coaching, self-awareness assessments, leadership training, networking opportunities and courses on finding success and happiness.

Their vision is set to become a reality with the establishment of the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development at the Tempe campus. Tom and Jan Lewis Tom and Jan Lewis, co-founders of the T.W. Lewis Foundation, are contributing $2.5 million to Barrett, The Honors College at ASU to support centers for student personal development and success. Download Full Image

The Lewises, founders of the T.W. Lewis Foundation, have agreed to contribute $1.5 million for the center, which will have a full-time director, four faculty members, an assessment coordinator, a speaker series and specialized curriculum. The goal is to have the center fully staffed and open to students by August.

In addition, they will contribute $1 million toward the construction of the Barrett Honors College Student Success Center, which is in the planning stages. The Student Success Center will have academic advising, writing tutoring and other programs to help students be successful at the university and beyond.

Approval for construction of the $10 million Student Success Center is pending this spring. Plans call for the center to be built adjacent to the Barrett Vista del Sol complex, near Apache Boulevard and McAllister Avenue in Tempe. The T.W. Lewis Center will be housed inside the Student Success Center.

The Lewises' contribution for the Student Success Center is a seed grant to encourage others to contribute construction funds during Campaign ASU 2020, the university’s multiyear fundraising campaign.

“The Honors College has long wished to have a central spot for all of the kinds of advising and teaching we do aimed at student success," said Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett, The Honors College and ASU vice provost. "There are the academic-oriented activities such as honors advising and writing tutoring, then there is international fellowships advising and then there is coaching and advising for students' personal and career success. The latter category has not been present — at Barrett or at most colleges and universities — and Tom and Jan Lewis believe it should be available to all honors students.

“The Lewis gift makes a Center for Personal Development possible, but it also contributes to the construction of the building housing our student success initiatives of every sort. It is a phenomenal and thoughtful gift that will redefine how colleges think about preparing their students for success after college,” Jacobs said.

The idea for the T.W. Lewis Center sprang from the Lewises' long time association with Barrett, The Honors College. For over a decade, they have annually awarded the T.W. Lewis Scholarship to 10 Arizona freshmen entering the college.

“We looked for students with academic potential, leadership potential and financial need," said Tom Lewis, founder, owner and CEO of the T.W. Lewis Company, which focuses on philanthropy, luxury property leasing and sales and other real estate investments. "We not only funded scholarships, but also included career counseling, personal development and networking opportunities, and we gave them inspirational books to read. In addition to academics, we were interested in helping students develop their personal strengths and values.” 

“The concept for a center for personal development grew out of the idea that instead of 10 students a year, let’s have a personal development program to support all Barrett students,” he said.

Why have courses on success and happiness as part of the center?

“There’s a lot of knowledge about career planning, personal strengths, success and happiness. There’s the idea that you follow your passion and everything will be fine. I think you need to find your strengths and your passion will follow. Every student is unique and we can help each one realize their strengths and better understand how to find success and happiness,” Lewis said.

Lewis hopes his gift will spark more support for the Barrett Student Success Center.

“It really is a donor opportunity for anyone who is interested in supporting Barrett and getting involved with the honors college,” he said.

“We are trying to develop successful people and successful leaders. We believe in young people and the value of education, and we want to focus on students and help them develop their strengths. We want them to become successful and happy.” 

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College


Community mourns the loss of Bob Bailey, who turned a tragedy into a legacy

January 17, 2019

On a February morning in 1998, tragedy struck the Bailey family and Arizona State University. A van carrying members of the Geography Club and the Friends of Geography group, who were on their way to visit a copper mine in Bagdad, Arizona, experienced a terrible accident resulting in the injury of several students and the death of Matthew Bailey.

Matthew was a senior geography student and active member of the Geography Club through the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, then known as the Department of Geography. Matthew, who lived in Japan for several years, was also minoring in Japanese. Through his travels, he gained a geographer’s insight into Japanese society. Bob Bailey presents the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship to Yining Tan during the 2018 awards ceremony for the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Download Full Image

Matthew may have found himself following in the footsteps of his father, Bob, who held a PhD in geography and whose research is foundational for other geographers. In the 1980s, Bob identified and described ecoregions in the United States. Ecoregions are large areas that have relatively homogenous ecological and geographic conditions. His work continues to inform geographical research nationally and globally.

“Throughout my research career I have used ecoregions in my own analysis,” said Trisalyn Nelson, director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “I was delighted when I first met Bob and realized that I had been using his work all these years.”

Matthew and Bob both enjoyed the fieldwork aspect of geography and would often work alongside each other. They had plans for research they would conduct following Matthew’s graduation. Sadly, they never had the opportunity to fulfill those plans.

Late ASU student Matthew Bailey

Matthew Bailey was a senior, majoring in geography, at the time of his death.

Following Matthew’s passing, Bob Bailey was instrumental in the creation of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship through the ASU Foundation. This scholarship fund helps to support the work of students to help them accomplish the fieldwork that is integral to their work — the fieldwork that was also important to both Matthew and Bob.

On Jan. 14, 2019, Bob Bailey passed away. He was just two months away from celebrating his 80th birthday.

Through Bob’s love of his son Matthew and generous support of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship, 50 young geographers have been awarded scholarships to help support their research through fieldwork. Each year, Bob would travel to Tempe from his home in Colorado to attend the school’s annual awards reception to announce the winners of the award created in honor of his son.

“I first met Bob under the worst of circumstances in February of 1998,” said Breandan O hUallachain, professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, who was serving as chair of the Department of Geography at the time of Matthew’s passing.  

Bob Bailey (center) presents the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship to two recipients, Gabriel Leon and Asif Ishtiaque, during the 2017 School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning awards ceremony.

“I don't have words to describe Bob's inspiring response to that tragedy. His immediate and lasting concern for others showed his deep love for his son and respect for so many people who knew Matt and the students who later benefited from the legacy Bob established at ASU.”

Our school’s community of geographers and urban planners, students and faculty, alumni and friends extend our deepest sympathies to the Bailey family on the loss of Bob. We continue to thank and will always remember Bob Bailey for his longstanding, generous support of our students and for his scholarly contributions to the field of geography.

In honor of Bob’s unending support of the Matthew G. Bailey Scholarship, donations to the scholarship account can be made here.

Manager, Marketing and Communication, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning


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Letting in the light: ASU, artist James Turrell to partner on masterwork in the desert

January 14, 2019

Collaboration will make Roden Crater — a creation of light and perception inside a dormant volcano — accessible to many in the future, will add academic component

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2019.

One of the most important large-scale artworks in the world sits in the desert of northern Arizona, where artist James Turrell has spent decades shaping the landscape into an immersive observatory.

His creation, Roden Crater, is a masterwork of light and perception inside a dormant volcano.

A new and innovative partnership between Turrell and Arizona State University will help complete the artist’s magnum opus on the edge of the Painted Desert, making it accessible to many more people in the future and developing an academic component for Turrell to share his artistic vision and inspire transdisciplinary approaches to creativity. The enterprise seeks to raise at least $200 million to preserve Turrell’s legacy by building infrastructure at the site, including a visitor center, and ensure conservation of one of the nation’s most renowned cultural assets.

ASU and the Skystone Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money and operates Roden Crater, are in the midst of a yearlong planning process, funded by an anonymous gift of $1.8 million, to determine the scope of the project and pilot academic programs. An online course is now being developed with Turrell, and four lab courses are under way this spring in which ASU students will visit the site.

Video by Klaus Obermeyer/

Turrell’s work at Roden Crater is a fusion of art, engineering, astronomy, architecture and neuroscience, and that approach is a natural fit with ASU, according to Steven Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“This one project is one of the best examples of an interdisciplinary exploration that we have,” he said.

“It’s a remarkable artistic and aesthetic expression, a remarkable feat of engineering, a remarkably reflective and contemplative space in a world that seems to be very hurried. It takes you out of your normal routine and puts you into a transformational space to experience the world.”

Tepper, who is helping lead the yearlong planning process, said that when completed, the project will be the first significant academic enterprise built around a singular piece of art.

“We saw all the ways it could connect with so many of our disciplines: sustainability, archeology, geology, astronomy, tourism, landscape architecture,” he said.

The project evolved after Turrell invited ASU President Michael Crow to the site last year to discuss a partnership. Michael Govan, president of the Skystone Foundation, is the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Last year, ASU entered into a partnership with LACMA to increase diversity among museum professionals.

Tepper said that Turrell is interested in accelerating completion of his project, creating new opportunities for teaching and learning, and ensuring access for future generations of visitors. The goal is for the ASU Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising unit of ASU, to help raise at least $200 million to complete the artistic vision within the crater and to build the infrastructure to support visitors in the future. 

The site, which is about a half-hour drive from Flagstaff, is on a dirt road. Inside the crater, which is a volcanic cinder cone, one will have a chance to experience a number of tunnels, rooms and spaces that are mind-altering in their impact.

“It’s been designed to the quarter inch, with each of the 23 spaces envisioned with full awareness of how it’s physically oriented to the cosmos and what is trying to be captured,” Tepper said.

Turrell, 75, who was born in California, is a pilot. He spent years flying around the Southwest to find the perfect site for his project and bought the site in the volcanic field near Sunset Crater in the late 1970s. He has been working on it ever since.

One of the installations at Roden Crater is a 900-foot-long tunnel that acts as a pinhole camera that visitors walk through. The experience is “mind-bending,” according to Kelly Fielder, a master’s degree student in the youth theater program in the Herberger Institute. She was among a handful of students who visited the site last fall in the inaugural lab class.

“I wish more words existed so I could use them to convey what it’s like,” she said.

“You’re walking along this really long tunnel and finally you reach this moment when you realize that you’ve been looking at the sky the whole time but you didn’t understand that until you reach a certain point. For me, it was almost a spiritual experience.”

In another viewing experience, visitors lie down to view the rim of the crater and then gaze upward.

“And then, you start to perceive the sky the way it actually exists and not the way our mind interprets it and you realize the sky is really a big oval on top of you,” Fielder said.

The true experience of Roden Crater is not so much the earth, the structures or the architectural interventions James has created inside, according to Olga Viso, a senior adviser to Tepper who is the liaison between ASU and the Skystone Foundation. She is a renowned independent curator and arts consultant who has known Turrell for years.

“As James likes to say, the work is really about you seeing yourself seeing,” she said.

“He’s creating conditions that allow you to pause, to sense, to isolate specific experiences like understanding the amplification of your own voice or of tracing the path or arc of the sun or moon across the landscape.”

Viso said that one of the planned installations will be a spherical space that, at certain times of the day, will project the adjacent Painted Desert into the crater, bringing this breathtaking exterior landscape inside and into the viewer’s field of perception.

The course that Fielder took was called “Volcanic Arts and Sciences,” taught by Lance Gharavi, a professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, and Ed Garnero, a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

“The class was all about finding the intersection between volcanic sciences and art and blending those to create a showcase performance that we will be performing in February,” Fielder said. “It was an interesting experience in combining different areas of art and science.”

That’s the kind of innovative collaboration that Roden Crater will inspire, Tepper said.

“That’s why James is interested in working with ASU — he wants this artwork to not be exclusive but to be generative of ideas and open to people who otherwise might not experience it, and open to people in other fields,” he said.

The academic work has been exciting for Turrell, Viso noted.

“He’s said it’s a fantastic learning experience ...” she said. “Working closely with an academic institution and with students is pushing him into areas of inquiry that he hadn’t anticipated.”

Viso is involved in working out details of what the site might look like, with a visitor and discovery center that educates participants on Turrell’s body of work as well as the volcanic, geologic and human history of the region. She said the hope is that Roden Crater will also boost tourism and provide economic development opportunities in the area, drawing visitors from around the world.

One of the field lab classes under way this semester is called “Indigenous Stories and Sky Science,” which is significant because the crater is located in the ancestral homelands of a variety of indigenous groups, including the Hopi and Navajo peoples. The course is taught by Wanda Dalla Costa, Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute, an architect and a member of the Saddle Lake First Nation in Alberta, Canada.

“James Turrell is one of the masters who’s not an architect but is an influential figure in architecture because it’s all about the perception, which is what we’re aiming to create in the best-case scenario,” she said.

“He’s very interested in seeing where the synergies are between what he’s done with light and perception and land art and the indigenous worldview.”

Dalla Costa teaches through an indigenous lens, which means collaborating with people from the local community. Her course will include talks by a Navajo math professor who teaches about the Navajo science of astronomy and an archeologist who is from the Hopi reservation, among others.

“They will help us navigate and mediate those sensitive cultural-knowledge boundaries, because it’s really important for me to get this right,” she said.

“We’ll ask ourselves, ‘Whose story is this, and how do we make it have value for the community?’”

Like all the field labs, her class will visit Roden Crater, but to give context, she’ll take the class to other locations in the Navajo and Hopi communities as well. The work will culminate in an exhibition.

“A lot of what we’re studying is representation and how we’re doing a service to contemporary representation and how we can make that authentic,” she said. “I think our exhibition will be an exploration and communication on how we’ve had this science here for a long time.”

While completion of Roden Crater is likely several years away, Viso said that this is a good time for the ASU community to be reminded of the power of Turrell’s work by visiting “Air Apparent,” just northeast of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 on the Tempe campus. The work, part of Turrell’s Skyspace series, was installed in 2012 and is open to the public 24 hours a day.

“Air Apparent” is best enjoyed at sunrise and sunset, when the changing effects of light can be observed over time, Viso said.

“James is trying to show us that the sky, the earth, humanity and everything around us are in a constant state of evolution and transformation.”

Top photo: Alpha (East) Tunnel looking toward the East Portal at Roden Crater. Copyright James Turrell/Photo by Klaus Obermeyer

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


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W. P. Carey Foundation's gift to boost ASU business school's mission

Foundation also launching a campaign with ASU to raise additional $25 million.
January 8, 2019

$25 million donation to expand career services, establish endowed chairs

A new donation to the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will establish two research chairs and expand career services for students.

The W. P. Carey Foundation will direct at least $15 million to enhancing the number and quality of career resources for nearly 16,000 current students, and $10 million to recruiting prominent professors and researchers as endowed academic chairs.

In addition, the W. P. Carey Foundation is partnering with the ASU Foundation in launching a giving campaign to raise an additional $25 million, bringing the total in new funding to the business school to $50 million.

The gift, announced today, adds to the $50 million that the W. P. Carey Foundation donated to the school 15 years ago.

Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School, said the foundation’s investment has driven success at the school.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

“For the past 15 years, we have been able to reach heights that simply could not have been possible without belief in what we do and support along the way from the foundation and our many other generous benefactors,” she said.

“This new investment reaffirms our stewardship of their previous gift and provides us what is required to innovate and enhance our standing in an evolving business and economic environment.”

The $15 million donation will boost the assistance the school provides to undergraduate and master’s degree students to acquire the skills and opportunities needed to succeed after graduation. The W. P. Carey Career Services Center will use the additional funding to increase job-placement rates for graduates, elevate starting salaries, develop new relationships with industry-leading recruiting partners and enhance lifelong learning for alumni. The school will also significantly grow the numbers of mentees and mentors, recognizing the increasingly important role mentorship plays in education and career development.

The two new endowed professorships, called Carey Chairs, will draw prominent professors who are outstanding teachers and researchers, and who are recognized as leaders in their fields.

The W. P. Carey Career Services Center works with undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and employers, according to Jessie Heidemann, the director.

“Since our last gift from the W. P. Carey Foundation, our school has doubled in size in students and in the number of employers we work with,” she said.

“We know business schools are so competitive, and we’re so excited to have this gift because it will allow us to better meet the needs of our students and our employers and provide better outcomes.”

Heidemann said the career coaches provide a full range of services.

“It’s everything from ‘What am I going to do with this major?’ to resume critiques, prepping for career-fair interviews, talking about what internships are like — all the way to salary negotiations,” she said.

“We also coach alumni. They might come back after a year or three years or 10 or even 30 and say, ‘I’m a career changer, and I need some help here.’”

Working with employers is a crucial part of what the center does, Heidemann said.

“We’ll talk to a startup that needs one student for an internship or to an employer who needs to hire 150 students who are graduating,” she said.

With a better economy, students have more options, so the center works with employers to better market their openings.

“It’s not just posting a job — it’s strategizing creative ways of engaging with students,” she said. “It’s looking at the job description to make sure it’s effective and marketable, getting involved with career fairs, engaging with student organizations and connecting with coffee chats.”

ASU President Michael Crow said the gift reinforces the foundation’s commitment to the university.

“The foundation’s support over the years has resulted in ASU having one of the top-rated and most highly sought-after business schools in the country,” he said. “I am grateful to the foundation for its support of our university, faculty and most importantly our students — who will be the primary benefactors of its generosity.”

The new gift has a legacy that goes back to the beginning of ASU. The foundation is named for businessman William Polk Carey, who founded the W. P. Carey Co. investment firm. Carey’s grandfather was John Samuel Armstrong, whose legislation launched Tempe Normal School, the precursor to ASU, in 1885.

In 1988, the W. P. Carey Foundation was formed to benefit education, and its $50 million gift to the ASU business school in 2003 was the second-largest private donation to an American business school at the time.

William P. Carey II, chairman of the W. P. Carey Foundation, said the donation honors the legacies of the Armstrong and Carey families.

“I am proud we can continue to honor all of their memories by providing additional support for the next generation of leaders to graduate from ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business,” he said.

“There is no better time to invest in the business school, and we look forward to other individuals and foundations partnering with ASU to build an even better future by attracting preeminent faculty while offering students the best possible career opportunities.”

The donation is the largest gift to date for the business school as part of Campaign ASU 2020.

“We look at this investment as something that will benefit us not only in 2019 and 2020 but also serve as the launchpad for thousands of careers in the future,” Hillman said.

“We have 22,000 first-generation college students at ASU. This level of support will advance all of our students, but one thing that stands out — and something we believe will resonate with other donors during our fundraising campaign — is how world-class career services at a top business school will bring new possibilities to first-generation students.”

Since taking its benefactor’s name, the W. P. Carey School of Business has become one of the world’s top business schools, with 20 programs and disciplines currently ranked in the top 30 by U.S. News & World Report. Among the nation’s top full-time MBA programs, ASU leads Ohio State, Penn State and the University of Notre Dame, while ASU’s part-time MBA program ranks above the University of Florida, Boston University and Texas A&M. On a global scale, The Financial Times ranks the W. P. Carey School’s Executive MBA in Shanghai among the top 30 worldwide.

Top photo: Career coach Elizabeth Tirkas shakes hands with computer information systems and business data analytics junior Austin Dang after talking about internships at the W.P. Carey School of Business Career Services center on Jan. 7, 2019. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


Rob and Melani Walton strengthen their commitment to ASU

Sustainability solutions remain central with expanded investment

January 7, 2019

Arizona State University is pleased to announce the permanent establishment of the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, furthering the institution’s efforts to become a global leader in sustainability education and applied research.

The solutions service will serve as the umbrella entity for all the programs previously seed-funded in earlier investments by Rob and Melani Walton through their charitable foundation. Rob and Melani Walton present at the Sustainability Solutions Festival, a signature sustainability event for Arizona State University. Rob and Melani Walton present to an international audience of sustainability professionals at the Sustainability Solutions Festival, an annual celebration of sustainability innovations and innovators hosted by ASU's Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service. Download Full Image

With new investments included as part of Rob and Melani Walton’s ongoing commitment to ASU, their total giving toward sustainability solutions at ASU has reached $31.8 million.

“Rob and I believe the breadth of the sustainability challenges across the globe require a comprehensive strategic approach,” said Melani Walton. “The permanent establishment of the solutions service will allow for more effective programming in all of the university’s sustainability initiatives.”

Rob and Melani Walton joined ASU’s efforts to become a global leader in sustainability education and research in 2006, by helping guide the ASU Sustainability Board.

In 2012, the Waltons bolstered their commitment in ASU’s sustainability efforts with a $27.5 million investment to accelerate scalable solutions to the economic, environmental and social challenges impacting the globe.

“The investment and support from Rob and Melani Walton, through their foundation, enables us to create a completely transformed university, one that uses all of its assets, thousands of faculty, tens of thousands of students, all devoted to sustainability solutions as our unifying reason for existence,” said Michael M. Crow, president of the university.

With this extended investment, the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service will complement the existing Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership, the Global Sustainability Studies Program, the Rob and Melani Walton National Teachers’ Academy and the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science and Technology Museums program.

Over the past six years, the previously named Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives have engaged more than 320 organizations that affected more than 500,000 people across six continents.

Based around seven cohesive programs designed to co-create solutions, educate future leaders and engage a diverse public, the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives have completed 86 projects, trained 7,271 students and professionals, provided continuing education for 816 teachers and science educators and engaged 114,182 event attendees around innovation and sustainability.

The solutions service is one of the original initiative programs and will be housed within ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development. This sustainability consultancy, an evolution of the traditional cooperative extension service model, will co-create solutions-based projects with faculty, students and external partners such as the city of Phoenix, international aid organizations and established and emerging businesses.

There currently is an international search underway for the Rob and Melani Walton Chair for Sustainability Solutions, a distinguished position that will lead business development and operations for the Sustainability Solutions Service.


One of the premier projects underway at the solutions service is the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network, or RISN, a partnership with the city of Phoenix to advance the use and reuse of resource streams such as waste to drive economic development and protect natural resources. RISN’s most impactful program thus far has been the RISN Incubator, a business accelerator designed to help startups and entrepreneurs take their circular-economy-focused enterprises to market. The RISN Incubator was initially funded through a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and is operated with support from ASU Entrepreneurship + Innovation. In its first year, the RISN Incubator has fostered 13 ventures that have created 30 full- or part-time jobs, generated $3.15 million in revenues and raised $1.345 million in capital.

“Our partnership with the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service and RISN has allowed us at the city of Phoenix to make a difference for our community and change our economy,” said Ginger Spencer, director of public works at the city of Phoenix. “Cities from around the world are contacting us and wanting to know more about this partnership and more about our work to become a zero-waste city.”

The Teachers’ Academy, Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership, Global Sustainability Studies Program and the Sustainability Fellowship program will continue to operate within the School of Sustainability. The Science Museums program will be housed at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

For more information about the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, please visit

Jason Franz

Senior manager, Marketing and Communications, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives


ASU alumnus establishes Charles J. Robel Dean’s Chair in Business; $3M gift to W. P. Carey School of Business

December 26, 2018

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University announced a generous $3 million gift from Chuck Robel to establish the Charles J. Robel Dean’s Chair in Business. 

Charles J. “Chuck” Robel is a 1971 graduate of the W. P. Carey School and a 2014 inductee into its Alumni Hall of Fame. Since 2008, he has been on the board of directors of GoDaddy Inc., an internet domain registrar and web hosting company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has served as its chairman of the board since 2015. Previously, he served as chairman of the board of McAfee, one of the world’s best-known computer-security software companies, prior to its multibillion-dollar sale to Intel.  Download Full Image

Robel spent the first 26 years of his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, leading its M&A technology group and software industry practice in Silicon Valley. Earlier this year, he was named to the board of directors of Sumo Logic, a cloud-native, machine data analytics platform, and was appointed chairman of the board of Model N Inc., a revenue management cloud solutions provider.

Robel has served on the boards of numerous public and private companies. He has been involved in more than 80 initial public offerings (IPOs) as an adviser, investor and board member. 

“Chuck has been a longtime supporter of the W. P. Carey School and of ASU in general,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School and recipient of the Charles J. Robel Dean’s Chair. “We’ve been fortunate to have his commitment for a number of years, and we are proud that this new position will extend a vital relationship for both of us. By giving back to his alma mater, this gift also speaks to the importance education plays in someone’s life.” 

Robel has previously supported the Chuck Robel Professorship in Business Ethics and the Chuck Robel Chair in Business.

“I’ve always felt like I have a very strong connection with ASU, and as a graduate of the business school, seeing how far it has come over the years has been tremendously gratifying,” Robel said. “I have been honored to assist in its mission in the past, and am thrilled to be a member of its prestigious hall of fame. Now, I’m very proud to continue my association with the W. P. Carey School through this gift and help the school build on its reputation for excellence.”

The donation to the business school comes as part of Campaign ASU 2020, an ongoing initiative to generate at least $1.5 billion in private funding for ASU, named the most innovative university by U.S. News & World Report the past four years, ahead of MIT and Stanford. 

An endowed chair is a coveted honor for faculty, recognizing years of thought leadership, leading-edge research and dedicated service. Through the endowment, a chair receives much-needed resources that assist its recipient in conducting research, devoting time to service projects and other extracurricular responsibilities. 

Rebecca Ferriter

Anonymous donor steps up to the plate to fund ASU foodpreneur program

December 21, 2018

With new funding and a new coordinator, Prepped — a free, early-stage food business incubator at Arizona State University — is accepting applications for its sixth cohort to begin in spring 2019.

The program is a collaboration from the office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation with additional support from the College of Health Solutions. Prepped participants at the fall showcase Prepped, a free, early-stage food business incubator at Arizona State University, is accepting applications for its sixth cohort to begin in spring 2019. Download Full Image

The new donors chose to remain anonymous, as they wanted the impact of their gift to be the focus.

“This couple was inspired by the accomplishments of the entrepreneurs over the past couple of years and they wanted to help ensure future success, so they’ve committed to funding Prepped for the next two years. We are incredibly grateful to them for their generosity,” said Rick Hall, director of health innovation programs and clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

In addition to providing funding to keep the program free for the business owners and to reimburse costs toward food-safety training and permits, the significant gift also allowed for a new program coordinator position.

Natalie Morris was recently hired for the job, bringing a wealth of experience to the role. Her academic background is in food culture, communications and culinary arts. She’s also a food entrepreneur herself and has worked in nutrition, academia and grassroots nonprofits over the past 12 years.

“Natalie is a perfect fit to coordinate the efforts of Prepped. She has worked in the local food ecosystem for several years and has developed a strong network in the community. Natalie has a passion for empowering food entrepreneurs and is also very interested in sustainability, an important issue that she is infusing into the curriculum,” Hall said.

Morris says Prepped essentially brings all of her interests and backgrounds together, helping small food-based businesses achieve liftoff and doing so in an inspiring academic setting.

One of her favorite aspects of the program and also the most rewarding is getting to work alongside the female entrepreneurs who participate.

“I'm just back here putting the pieces together each week; they're the ones who are managing their businesses in addition to being mothers, caretakers, bill-payers and everything else at all times. I love that I have the opportunity to contribute to making their lives even the tiniest bit more manageable and that Prepped has been designed to give them the tools to run businesses efficiently,” said Morris.

Her vision is to build on the momentum and achievements of previous cohorts while introducing new elements that support the sustained success of each of the participants.

“When we are thinking about the curriculum, the instructors or mentors, or our community partners, we are always thinking about how these pieces of the puzzle will be of value for everyone. One such example I'm proud to announce is that we've collaborated with the FoodLab at ASU's School of Sustainability to integrate more corporate sustainability techniques into the weekly lessons and, in looking ahead, having our own commercial kitchen (a priority need for food businesses) is on our radar,” Morris said.

Originally founded in 2016 by Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU, Prepped’s growth and the community it has created are two things she is incredibly proud of.

“When we started Prepped just over two years ago, we didn’t anticipate just how impactful the program would be. We have been able to support dozens of entrepreneurs in the scaling up of their food-based businesses, accelerating the growth of revenues exponentially, and helping create dozens of jobs. And perhaps most importantly, fostering a community where even long after participants have completed the program, they still come together around food, culture and helping each other in any way they can,” Choi said.

To date, 63 businesses have been prepped and, as Choi said, the supportive community they’ve built continues as they get ready to welcome the next cohort.

Devereaux Jackson from Q-Tsie was in one of the early cohorts and says the experience exceeded expectations and continues to even now.

“This is abundance. I am continually in awe at the wealth of industry knowledge and support that Prepped has made available to us. I am immensely grateful,” Jackson said.

For anyone on the fence about applying, Morris says if you fit the eligibility, don’t let fear stand in your way. Instead, just go for it.

The program runs each fall and spring with applications for the next cohort open now. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.

For eligibility and additional program information, visit the Prepped website:

Amanda Goodman

Senior communications specialist, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation


1995 alum Chris Jaap establishes $25,000 endowment for Barrett, The Honors College

November 20, 2018

Sustainability is a way of life for Barrett, The Honors College alumnus Chris Jaap. And he hopes to encourage that way of life in others, establishing a $25,000 endowment to provide scholarships for Arizona State University honors students with a passion for sustainability. 

Jaap divides his time between San Francisco and the Sea Ranch, a planned community that emphasizes an environmentally sensitive approach to development and “living lightly on the land.” The Sea Ranch stretches for about 10 miles along Highway 1 at the northern end of the Sonoma County coast north of San Francisco. The community spans 5,000 acres, approximately two-thirds of which is reserved open space with expansive meadows and hillsides covered by trees. Chris Jaap Chris Jaap, a 1995 ASU honors graduate, has supported Barrett, The Honors College as a member of its Alumni Council and by contributing to support programs associated with the Sustainability House at Barrett. Now, he has established an endowment for honors students committed to sustainability. Download Full Image

It is a place for anyone who loves the environment and who is committed to protecting it while living at the center of one of the most beautiful areas of California, said Jaap, who graduated from ASU with honors in 1995.

After serving on the community’s finance committee, he was elected to a three-year term on the board of directors in May 2018.

Jaap has a professional interest in the renewable- and smart-energy industry, having spent the majority of his 20-year career as a corporate attorney advising clients who design and manufacture renewable-energy products; develop, construct and operate power plants; and provide financing to the industry.

For years, Jaap has contributed to Barrett to support programs associated with the Sustainability House at Barrett (SHAB), a residence hall for students interested in living in an environmentally responsible way. SHAB is LEED-certified and has low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, low-energy-use lights and thermostats and a rooftop organic garden. Jaap also has been a member of the honors college’s Alumni Council, assisting with outreach to fellow alums and contributing to the growth and success of the college.

And now his endowment — part of Campaign ASU 2020, a university-wide fundraising effort — will further encourage a passion for sustainability among students.

Jaap said gifts from the endowment will be targeted toward “mission-driven Barrett students who intend to address specific sustainability challenges on a local, regional, national or global scale” with an emphasis on the so-called triple bottom line: people, planet, profit.

Students may use the funding for tuition, research and expenses related to their honors thesis, internships, study abroad, student and community engagement and other activities.

“I was motivated by the idea that the endowment will grow over time and provide ongoing support for Barrett students indefinitely,” Jaap said.

“The principle of investing in what we have today while protecting it for the future really speaks to me. My goal is to raise additional funds every year to grow the endowment over time, maximizing the investment in Barrett’s future,” he added.

Jaap, who was a Flinn Scholar, said he chose to attend ASU largely because of the honors college, so giving back is only natural.

“Barrett offers that small liberal arts college feel with large university resources. It really is the best of both worlds. While in Barrett, I had great professors and classmates. It piqued my intellectual curiosity, and I had a terrific time,” he said, citing his experience as a reason why he wanted to establish the endowment.

“I want the college to have freedom to do what’s needed to support students and help them achieve their dreams,” he said.

Barrett Dean Mark Jacobs said Jaap’s endowment is a significant and highly appreciated gift to the college.

“Chris is dedicated to environmental sustainability as well as to the success of his alma mater ASU and Barrett. He has been a great friend to Barrett as part of our alumni network, helping to grow its strength and value.”

Those who wish to donate to the Christopher Jaap Endowed Scholarship can do so on the Campaign ASU 2020 website.

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College


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Herm Edwards follows military father's footsteps

November 6, 2018

Sun Devil football coach talks about how having an Army dad influenced his view of leadership and discipline on the field

First-year Arizona State University football Head Coach Herm Edwards has earned a reputation throughout his career for being an inspirational leader, and he learned how from his dad.

Growing up in a military family with a German mother and a soldier father, Edwards credits his upbringing for who he became. His father, an Army master sergeant, joined the military at 17 and served more than 20 years. Edwards’ family instilled discipline and responsibility in him. 

“I understood that the most powerful possession I would ever inherit from my parents was my last name,” Edwards said. It is that valued possession that has driven Edwards to strive to get the job done and do everything well because “that represents who we are.” 

Edwards remains grateful for all who have served the nation.

“I am very honored and humbled to be a part of the culture of this university, of being the head coach. And the fact that there is a representation of the military here, and that’s a part of our DNA,” Edwards said. Service is important to the university, and it gets talked about and highlighted, he said.

“That’s a good thing, and I’m glad I am a part of it,” Edwards said.  

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

Top photo: Head Coach Herm Edwards leads the Sun Devils against the Michigan State Spartans on Sept. 8. Photo by ASU

In celebration of Veterans Day, Arizona State University proudly honors veterans and active members of the military through Salute to Service. Your support helps veterans succeed. Text ASUVets to 41444 to donate to the Veterans Education Fund or visit to learn how you can honor a veteran.