Arizona State University

Not to be confused with University of Arizona.
Arizona State University

Seal of Arizona State University
Type Public research university
Established 1885
Endowment $643.2 million (2015)[1]
President Michael M. Crow
Provost Mark Searle
Academic staff
Students 50,246 Tempe campus
11,277 Downtown Phoenix campus
4,173 Polytechnic campus
3,701 West campus
13,750 ASU Online[3]
Undergraduates 67,507
Postgraduates 15,794
Location Tempe, Arizona, U.S.[4]
Campus Urban
Tempe: 631.6 acres (2.556 km2)[5]
Polytechnic: 612.99 acres (2.4807 km2)[6]
West: 277.92 acres (1.1247 km2)[6]
Downtown Phoenix: 27.57 acres (111,600 m2)[6]
Newspaper The State Press
Colors ASU Maroon and Gold[7]
Athletics Pac-12, NCAA Division I
Nickname Sun Devils
Mascot Sparky
Affiliations URA
PLuS Alliance

Arizona State University (commonly referred to as ASU or Arizona State) is a public metropolitan research university[8] on five campuses across the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area,[9][10] and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. The 2016 university ratings by U.S. News & World Report rank ASU No. 1 among the Most Innovative Schools in America for the second year in a row.[11]

ASU is the largest public university by enrollment in the U.S.[12] It had approximately 82,060 students enrolled in 2014, including 66,309 undergraduate and 15,751 graduate students.[13] ASU's charter, approved by the board of regents in 2014, is based on the "New American University" model created by ASU President Crow. It defines ASU as "a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but rather by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves."

ASU is classified as a research university with very high research activity (RU/VH) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Since 2005, ASU has been ranked among the top research universities, public and private, in the U.S. based on research output, innovation, development, research expenditures, number of awarded patents and awarded research grant proposals. The Center for Measuring University Performance ranks ASU 31st among top U.S. public research universities.[14] ASU was classified as a Research I institute in 1994, making it one of the nation's newest major research universities (public or private).[15][16][17]

Students compete in 25 varsity sports.[18][19][20] The Arizona State Sun Devils are members of the Pac-12 Conference and have won 23 NCAA championships. Along with multiple athletic clubs and recreational facilities, ASU is home to more than 1,100 registered student organizations, reflecting the student body's diversity.[21] To keep pace with the growth of the student population, the university is continuously renovating and expanding infrastructure. The demand for new academic halls, athletic facilities, student recreation centers, and residential halls is being addressed with donor contributions and public-private investments.[22][23]


President Theodore Roosevelt addresses a crowd of students on the steps of the Old Main at Tempe Normal School (future Arizona State University), March 20, 1911.


Old Main on the Arizona Territorial Normal School (future Arizona State University) campus, circa 1890

Arizona State University was established as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe on March 12, 1885, when the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature passed an act to create a normal school to train teachers for the Arizona Territory. The campus consisted of a single, four-room schoolhouse on a 20-acre plot largely donated by Tempe residents George and Martha Wilson. Classes began with 33 students on February 8, 1886. The curriculum evolved over the years and the name was changed several times; the institution was also known as Arizona Territorial Normal School (1889–1896), Arizona Normal School (1896–1899), Normal School of Arizona (1899–1901), and Tempe Normal School (1901–1925). The school accepted both high school students and graduates, and awarded high school diplomas and teaching certificates to those who completed the requirements.[24][25][25][26]

In 1923 the school stopped offering high school courses and added a high school diploma to the admissions requirements. In 1925 the school became the Tempe State Teachers College and offered four-year Bachelor of Education degrees as well as two-year teaching certificates. In 1929, the legislature authorized Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees as well, and the school was renamed the Arizona State Teachers College.[24][25] Under the 30-year tenure of president Arthur John Matthews the school was given all-college student status. The first dormitories built in the state were constructed under his supervision. Of the 18 buildings constructed while Matthews was president, six are still currently in use. Matthews envisioned an "evergreen campus," with many shrubs brought to the campus, and implemented the planting of Palm Walk, now a landmark of the Tempe campus. His legacy is being continued to this day with the main campus having been declared a nationally recognized arboretum.[27]

During the Great Depression, Ralph W. Swetman was hired as president for a three-year term.[28] Although enrollment increased by almost 100 percent during his tenure due to the depression, many faculty were terminated and faculty salaries were cut.[29]


In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, became president of ASU, a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years. Like his predecessor, Gammage oversaw construction of a number of buildings on the Tempe campus. He also oversaw the development of the university's graduate programs. The school's name was changed to Arizona State College in 1945, and finally to Arizona State University in 1958. At the time, two other names considered were Tempe University and State University at Tempe.[30]

By the 1960s, with the presidency of G. Homer Durham, the University began to expand its academic curriculum by establishing several new colleges and beginning to award Doctor of Philosophy and other doctoral degrees.[31]

The next three presidents—Harry K. Newburn, 1969–71, John W. Schwada, 1971–81, and J. Russell Nelson, 1981–89—and Interim President Richard Peck, 1989, led the university to increased academic stature, creation of the West campus, and rising enrollment.

Example of a new academic village, taken at Barrett, The Honors College on the Tempe Campus


Under the leadership of Lattie F. Coor, president from 1990 to 2002, ASU grew through the creation of the Polytechnic campus and extended education sites. Increased commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development occurred over his 12-year tenure. Part of Coor's legacy to the university was a successful fundraising campaign: through private donations, more than $500 million was invested in areas that would significantly impact the future of ASU. Among the campaign's achievements were the naming and endowing of Barrett, The Honors College, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.[32]

ASU's Biodesign Institute on Tempe campus

In 2002, Michael M. Crow became the university's 16th president. At his inauguration, he outlined his vision for transforming ASU into a "New American University"[33] — one that would be open and inclusive, and set a goal for the university to meet Association of American Universities criteria and to become a member.[10] Crow initiated the idea of transforming ASU into "One university in many places" — a single institution comprising several campuses, sharing students, faculty, staff and accreditation. Subsequent reorganizations[34] combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced staff and administration as the university expanded its West and Polytechnic campuses. ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus was also expanded, with several colleges and schools relocating there. The university established learning centers throughout the state, including the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City and programs in Thatcher, Yuma, and Tucson. Students at these centers can choose from several ASU degree and certificate programs.

During Crow’s tenure, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, ASU began a years-long research facility capital building effort, resulting in the establishment of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and several large interdisciplinary research buildings. Along with the research facilities, the university faculty was expanded, including the addition of three Nobel Laureates.[35] Since 2002 the university's research expenditures have tripled and more than 1.5 million square feet of space has been added to the university's research facilities.[36]

The economic downturn that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Arizona, resulting in large cuts to ASU's budget. In response to these cuts, ASU capped enrollment, closed down about four dozen academic programs, combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced university faculty, staff and administrators;[37][38] however, with an economic recovery underway in 2011, the university continued its campaign to expand the West and Polytechnic Campuses,[39] and establishing a set of low-cost, teaching-focused extension campuses in Lake Havasu City and Payson, Arizona.[40][41]

In 2015, the existing Thunderbird School of Global Management became the fifth ASU campus, as the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU. Partnerships for education and research with Mayo Clinic established collaborative degree programs in health care and law, and shared administrator positions, laboratories and classes at the Mayo Clinic Arizona campus.

The Arizona Center for Law and Society, the new home of ASU’s Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, will open in fall 2016 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, relocating faculty and students from the Tempe campus to the state capital.[42]

Organization and administration

ASU college/school founding
Year founded
Barrett, The Honors College
School for the Future of Innovation in Society
College of Health Solutions
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
College of Letters and Sciences
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
College of Nursing and Health Innovation
College of Public Service and Community Solutions
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
School of Sustainability
Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU
University College
W. P. Carey School of Business
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The Arizona Board of Regents governs Arizona State University as well as the state's other public universities; University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.[43] The Board of Regents is composed of twelve members including eleven voting, and one non-voting member. Members of the board include the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction acting as ex-officio members, eight volunteer Regent members with eight year terms that are appointed by the Governor, and two Student Regents with two years term, serving a one-year term as non-voting apprentices. ABOR provides policy guidance to the state universities of Arizona. ASU has five campuses in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona including the Tempe campus in Tempe; the West campus and the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale; the Downtown Phoenix campus; and the Polytechnic campus in Mesa. ASU also offers courses and degrees through ASU Online and at the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City in western Arizona, and offers regional learning programs in Thatcher, Yuma and Tucson.

The Arizona Board of Regents appoints and elects the president of the university, who is considered the institution's chief executive officer and the chief budget officer.[44] The president executes measures enacted by the Board of Regents, controls the university's property, and acts as the university's official representative to the Board of Regents.[45] The chief executive officer is assisted through the administration of the institution by the provost, vice presidents, deans, faculty, directors, department chairs, and other officers.[46] The president also selects and appoints administrative officers and general counsels. The 16th ASU president is Michael M. Crow, who has served since July 1, 2002.[47]

Campuses and locations

ASU's academic programs are spread across campuses in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area; however, unlike most multi-campus institutions, ASU describes itself as "one university in many places," inferring that there is "not a system with separate campuses, and not one main campus with branch campuses."[48] The university considers each campus "distinctive" and academically focused on certain aspects of the overall university mission. The Tempe Campus is the university's research and graduate school center. Undergraduate studies on the Tempe campus are research-based programs designed to prepare students for graduate school, professional school, or employment.[49] The Polytechnic campus is designed with an emphasis on professional and technological programs for direct workforce preparation. The Polytechnic campus is the location of many of the university's simulators and laboratories dedicated for project-based learning.[50] The West campus is focused on interdisciplinary degrees and the liberal arts, while maintaining professional programs with a direct impact on the community and society.[51] The Downtown Campus focuses on direct urban and public programs such as nursing, public policy, criminal justice, mass communication, and journalism.[52] ASU recently relocated some nursing and health related programs to its new ASU-Mayo Medical School Campus. Inter-campus shuttles and light rail allow students and faculty to easily travel between the campuses. In addition to the physical campuses, ASU's "virtual campus", housed at the university's SkySong Innovation Center, provides online and extended education.

On the Quad of the Tempe Campus with Old Main

Tempe campus

Overlooking the Tempe campus from atop Hayden Butte
Arizona State University Bridge

ASU's Tempe campus is located in downtown Tempe, Arizona, about eight miles (13 km) east of downtown Phoenix. The campus is considered urban, and is approximately 642 acres (2.6 km2) in size. The campus is arranged around broad pedestrian malls and is completely encompassed by an arboretum.[53][54] The Tempe campus is also the largest of ASU's campuses, with 59,794a[] students enrolled in at least one class on campus.[55] The campus is considered to range from the streets Rural Road to Mill Avenue and Apache Boulevard to Rio Salado Parkway. Currently, Arizona State University is the 2nd largest campus in the United States, and only Ohio State University's campus is bigger.

The Tempe campus is ASU's original campus, and Old Main, the first building constructed, still stands today. Old Main was previously known as the Normal School when it was first constructed, and was originally a teachers college. There are many notable landmarks on campus, including Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Palm Walk, which is lined by 111 palm trees,[56] Charles Trumbull Hayden Library, the University Club Building, Margaret Gisolo Dance Theatre, and University Bridge. In addition, the campus has an extensive public art collection, considered one of the ten best among university public art collections in America according to Public Art Review.[57] Against the northwest edge of campus is the Mill Avenue district (part of downtown Tempe) which has a college atmosphere that attracts many students to its restaurants and bars. Students also have Tempe Marketplace, which is a shopping, dining, and entertainment center with an outdoor setting and is about 1.8 miles away from campus. The Tempe campus is also home to all of the university's athletic facilities.

Fletcher Library, West Campus

West campus

The West campus was established in 1984 by the Arizona Legislature and sits on 250 acres (1.0 km2) in a suburban area of northwest Phoenix. The West campus lies about 12 miles (19 km) northwest of downtown Phoenix, and about 18 miles (29 km) northwest of the Tempe campus. The West campus is designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride,[58] and is nearly completely powered by a 4.6MW solar array.[59] This campus is home to the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and selected programs of the W. P. Carey School of Business. The campus, patterned after the University of Oxford’s architecture, has recently opened a new residence hall, dining facility and recreation center.[60]

Polytechnic campus

Picacho Hall (left) and Peralta Hall (right) at the Polytechnic campus

Founded in 1996 as "ASU East," the ASU Polytechnic campus serves 10,521 students and is home to more than 40 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in professional and technical programs through the College of Technology and Innovation, and selected programs of the W. P. Carey School of Business/Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, the School of Letters and Sciences, and focuses on professional and technological programs including simulators and lab space in various fields of study.[50] The 600-acre (2.4 km2) campus is located in southeast Mesa, Arizona, approximately 25 miles (40 km) southeast of the Tempe campus, and 33 miles (53 km) southeast of downtown Phoenix. The Polytechnic campus sits on the former Williams Air Force Base.

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Downtown Phoenix Campus

Downtown Phoenix campus

The Downtown Phoenix campus was established in 2006 on the north side of Downtown Phoenix.[61] The campus has an urban design, with several large modern academic buildings intermingled with commercial and retail office buildings. In addition to the new buildings, the campus included the adaptive reuse of several existing structures, including a 1930s era Post Office that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Serving 17,151[55] students, the campus houses the College of Health Solutions,[62] College of Nursing and Health Innovation,[63] College of Public Service and Community Solutions[64] and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In the summer of 2013, the campus added the Sun Devil Fitness Center in conjunction with the original YMCA building. Expected to open in the summer of 2016, ASU's law school is moving from the Tempe campus to the Downtown Campus.

The Palm Walk is frequented by ASU students.

ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City

Main article: Colleges@ASU

In response to demands for lower-cost public higher education in Arizona, ASU developed the small, undergraduate-only college in Lake Havasu City. ASU Colleges will be teaching-focused and will provide a selection of popular undergraduate majors.[40] The Lake Havasu City campus offers high-demand undergraduate degrees with lower tuition rates than other Arizona research universities[65] and a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.[40]

Music Building on the Tempe Campus

ASU Online

ASU Online offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through an entirely online platform.[66] The degree programs delivered online hold the same accreditation as the university's traditional face-to-face programs. The ASU Online is headquartered at ASU's SkySong campus in Scottsdale, Arizona. ASU Online was ranked in the Top 10 for Best Online Bachelor's Programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Online students are taught by the same faculty and receive the same diploma as on-campus students. ASU online programs are designed to allow students to learn in highly interactive environments through student collaboration and through technological personalized learning environments (a type of gamification). As of 2015, three gamification geared classes have been incorporated into the curriculum: Introduction to Solar System Astronomy (AKA HabWorlds Beyond), Western Civilization: Ancient and Medieval Europe, and Human Origins.[67]

In April 2015, ASU Online announced a partnership with edX to form a one of a kind program called the Global Freshman Academy. The program is open to all potential freshman. The students do not need to send in a high school transcript or GPA to apply for the courses. Students only pay for the courses ($200 per credit) after they have passed the course if they want to earn the credits.[68]

As of fall 2014, 7,437 students were enrolled at ASU Online.[69] In April 2015, ASU Online and Starbucks announced a partnership called the College Achievement Plan. The College Achievement Plan offers all full-time and part-time employees full-tuition coverage when they enroll in any one of ASU Online's 49 undergraduate degree programs.[70]

ASU-Mayo Medical School Location

In 2011 ASU launched a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic to establish a medical school in Arizona.[71] As part of the collaboration with Mayo Medical, ASU moved some academic departments onto the Mayo Clinic campus in Scottsdale.[72] Mayo Medical and ASU have created an undergraduate "Barrett-Mayo Pre-medical Scholars Program" offered through ASU's Barrett, The Honors College.[73] Partnerships with organizations and hospitals throughout the region has been created as a vehicle to establish a network for knowledge sharing and peer testing of the innovations that arise as a result of the partnerships. Real-world training for students researching medical issues affecting the community will be a priority of the school which ranks in the top 25 for best medical schools in the research category.[74][75] ASU-Mayo Medical School began enrolling its first students in 2014. As a part of the preparation for the medical school opening, ASU began offering health and nursing degree programs on the Mayo Clinic Campus.[76] The program at the ASU-Mayo Clinic Campus began in the Fall of 2012 and provides hands-on education in world-class medical facilities to its students.[77] Unique MD degrees, believed to be the first in the nation, will be granted under the governance and oversight of Mayo Medical School and Arizona State University with a specialized master's degree in the Science of Health Care Management.[78]

Thunderbird Campus

Thunderbird School of Global Management is one of the newest units of "Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise." The flagship campus is located in Glendale, Arizona, at Thunderbird Field No. 1, a former military airfield from which it derives its name.



Fall Freshman Statistics[79][80][81][82][83]
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Applicants 22,581 21,770 30,696 29,722 29,785
Admits 19,042 17,465 26,986 26,452 25,795
% Admitted 84.3 80.2 87.9 88.9 86.6
Enrolled 7,647 7,114 9,265 9,254 9,544
Avg GPA 3.50 3.46 3.42 3.41 3.39
SAT Range* 1020–1270 1020–1270 980-1240 970-1240 970-1220
ACT Range 22-28 22-28 21-27 21-27 21-27
* SAT out of 1600

Admission to any of the public universities in Arizona is ensured to residents in the top 25% of their high school class with a GPA of 3.0 in core competencies.[84] For fall 2014, ASU admitted 84.3% of all freshman applicants and is considered a "selective" university by U.S. News & World Report.[85] Average GPA of enrolling freshman was 3.50; the middle 50% range of SAT scores was 1020–1270 for critical reading and math combined; and the middle 50% range ACT composite score was 22-28.[79] All freshmen are required to live on campus.[86]

Barrett, The Honors College is ranked among the top honors programs in the nation.[87] Although there are no set minimum admissions criteria for Barrett College, the average GPA of Fall 2014 incoming freshmen was 3.80, with average SAT scores of 1300/1600 and ACT scores of 28.9.[88] The Honors college enrolls 5,416 undergraduate students, with 409 National Merit Scholars.[88]

ASU currently enrolls 8,787 international students, 10.7% of the total student population.[89] The international student body represents more than 130 nations and more than 60 student clubs and organizations exist at ASU to serve the growing number of students from abroad.[90] The growth in the number of international students in 2014 at ASU is a 33.6% increase over the 2012 figure.[91]

Academic programs

ASU offers over 250 majors to undergraduate students, and more than 100 graduate programs leading to numerous masters and doctoral degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, design and arts, engineering, journalism, education, business, law, nursing, public policy, technology, and sustainability. These programs are divided into 16 colleges and schools which are spread across ASU's six campuses. ASU also offers the 4+1 accelerated program, which allows students in their senior year to attain their master's degree the following year.[92] However the 4+1 accelerated program is not associated with all majors, for example in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College the 4+1 accelerated program only works with Education Exploratory majors. ASU uses a plus-minus grading system with highest cumulative GPA awarded of 4.0 (at time of graduation). Arizona State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[93]


University rankings
ARWU[94] 51-61
Forbes[95] 278
U.S. News & World Report[96] 129
Washington Monthly[97] 31
ARWU[98] 101-150
QS[99] 222
Times[100] 189
U.S. News & World Report[101] 121

The 2017 U.S. News & World Report ratings of nearly 1,800 U.S. colleges and universities ranked ASU 62nd among public universities, 129th of national universities, and 121st in the world's top 1,000 global universities.[102] ASU was also ranked No. 1 among America’s 28 "Most Innovative Universities." The innovation ranking, new for 2016, was determined by a poll of top college officials nationwide asking them to name institutions "that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities."[11]

ASU is ranked 47th in the U.S. and 93rd in the world among the top 500 universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU),[103] and 55th U.S./97th world by the Center for World University Rankings.[104] Money Magazine ranked ASU 214th of nearly 1,500 U.S. schools it evaluated for its 2014 Best Colleges ranking.[105] The Daily Beast ranked ASU 172nd of nearly 2,000 U.S. schools in its 2014 Best Colleges ranking.[106] The Wall Street Journal ranks ASU 5th in the nation for producing the best-qualified graduates, determined by a nationwide poll of corporate recruiters,[107] and Forbes magazine named ASU one of America's best college buys.[108]

In 2012, Public University Honors wrote, "ASU students ranked fifth among all public universities in National Science Foundation grants for graduate study and 11th among all universities, including the schools of the Ivy League. Among other things, the high achievement in this area of excellence points to consistently strong advising and support, a logical outcome of Barrett (Arizona State University's honor college) investing more in honors staff than any other honors program [we reviewed]."[109]

Several ASU colleges and schools appear near the top of the 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings,[102] including the 35th-ranked W. P. Carey School of Business (along with its 5th-ranked program in Supply Chain Management), the 20th-ranked Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (along with its 7th-ranked program in Ceramics, 9th-ranked program in Photography and 5th-ranked program in Printmaking), the 12th-ranked School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the 25th-ranked Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (along with its 7th-ranked program in Legal Writing and 11th-ranked program in Dispute Resolution), the 43rd-ranked Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, the 13th-ranked School of Public Affairs (along with its 4th-ranked program in City Management and Urban Policy, 7th-ranked program in Environmental Policy and Management, 11th-ranked program in Public Finance and Budgeting and 11th-ranked program in Public Management and Administration), the 14th-ranked Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and the 30th-ranked College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Individual Ph.D. program rankings included Audiology (9th), Clinical Psychology (41st), Computer Science (48th), Earth Science (20th), Economics (36th), Nursing Practice (14th), Physics (50th), Psychology (38th), Social Work (32nd), and Speech-Language Pathology (17th).[102] In 2011, ASU was included in the Quacquarelli Symonds list as the 21st best school in the world for biological sciences.

ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has been named one of America's top 10 journalism schools by national publications and organizations for more than a decade. The most recent rankings (2012) include: NewsPro (6th), Quality Education and Jobs (6th), and International Student (1st).[110][111][112]

For its efforts as a national leader in campus sustainability, ASU was named one of the top 20 "Cool Schools" by the Sierra Club in 2009,[113] was named to the Princeton Review "Green Honor Roll,"[114] and earned an "A-" grade on the 2010 College Sustainability Green Report Card.[115]

ASU was ranked the #1 college offering an online bachelor's degree in communications by Online College Plan.[116]

Research and Institutes

ASU consistently ranks among the top 20 universities—without a traditional medical school—for research expenditures. It shares this designation with schools such as: Caltech, Georgia Tech, MIT, Purdue, Rockefeller, UC Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin.[117] ASU is classified as a "RU/VH: Research University (very high research activity)" by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The university has tripled research expenditures since 2002 and received $458.4 million in fiscal year 2015.[118] Like its research budget, the university's endowment continues to grow and was $643 million as of June 2015.[119][120] ASU is a NASA designated national space-grant institute and a member of the Universities Research Association.

ASU is one of the nation's most successful universities in terms of creating start-up companies through research. The university has raised more than $600 million in external funding, and almost 100 companies have been launched based on ASU innovations.[121] ASU ranks #2 in the nation for proprietary start-ups "created for every $10 million in research expenditures." In fiscal year 2015, ASU researchers were issued 62 patents,[122] a significant increase over 2014 when 48 patents were granted.[123][124] During fiscal year 2015, ASU faculty launched 12 new startup companies and submitted 270 invention disclosures to AzTE. Since its inception, AzTE has fostered the launch of more than 80 companies based on ASU innovations, and attracted more than $600 million in venture funding, including $96 million in fiscal year 2016 alone.[122][125] According to the Switzerland-based University Business Incubator (UBI) Index for 2013, ASU is one of the top universities in the world for business incubation, ranking 17th out of the top 25. ASU is one of only 14 universities and institutes from the United States to make the list, and the only university representing Arizona.[126] UBI reviewed 550 universities and associated business incubators from around the world using an assessment framework that takes more than 50 performance indicators into consideration.[127] As an example, one of ASU's spin-offs (Heliae Development, LLC) raised more than $28 million in venture capital in 2013 alone.[128] In June 2016, ASU received the Entrepreneurial University Award from the Deshpande Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports social entrepreneurship and innovation.[129]

The university's push to create various institutes has led to greater funding and an increase in the number of researchers in multiple fields. ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development (KED) advances research, innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, economic development and international development.[130] KED is led by Sethuraman Panchanathan.[131] KED supports several interdisciplinary research institutes and initiatives: Institute for Humanities Research, NewSpace Initiative, Biodesign Institute, Institute for the Science of Teaching and Learning, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Institute for Social Science Research, LightWorks, McCain Institute for International Leadership, Decision Theater Network, Flexible Electronics and Display Center, Complex Adaptive Systems @ ASU, Global Security Initiative.[131] Other notable and famed institutes at ASU are: The Institute of Human Origins, L. William Seidman Research Institute (W. P. Carey School of Business), Learning Sciences Institute, Herberger Research Institute, and the Hispanic Research Center. Much of the research conducted at ASU is considered cutting edge with its focus on interdisciplinarity.[132] The Biodesign Institute for instance, conducts research on issues such as biomedical and healthcare outcomes as part of a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic to diagnose and treat rare diseases, including cancer.[133] Biodesign Institute researchers have also developed various techniques for reading and detecting biosignatures which expanded in 2006 with an $18 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.[134] The institute also is heavily involved in sustainability research, primarily through reuse of CO2 via biological feedback and various biomasses (e.g. algae) to synthesize clean biofuels. Heliae is a Biodesign Institute spin-off and much of its business centers on Algal-derived, high value products.[135] Furthermore, the institute is heavily involved in security research including technology that can detect biological and chemical changes in the air and water. The university has received more than $30.7 million in funding from the Department of Defense for adapting this technology for use in detecting the presence of biological and chemical weapons.[136]

World-renowned scholars have been integral to the successes of the various institutes associated with the university. ASU students and researchers have been selected as Marshall, Truman, Rhodes, and Fulbright Scholars with the university ranking 1st overall in the U.S. for Fulbright Scholar awards to faculty and 5th overall for recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student awards in the 2015–2016 academic year.[137] ASU faculty includes Nobel Laureates, Royal Society members, National Academy members, and members of the National Institutes of Health, to name a few.[138] ASU Professor Donald Johanson, who discovered the 3.18 million year old fossil hominid Lucy (Australopithecus) in Ethiopia, established the Institute of Human Origins (IHO) in 1981. The institute was first established in Berkeley, California and later moved to ASU in 1997.[139] As one of the leading research organization in the United States devoted to the science of human origins, IHO pursues a transdisciplinary strategy for field and analytical paleoanthropological research.[140] The Herberger Institute Research Center supports the scholarly inquiry, applied research and creative activity of more than 400 faculty and nearly 5,000 students.[141][142] The renowned ASU Art Museum, Herberger Institute Community Programs, urban design, and other outreach and initiatives in the arts community round out the research and creative activities of the Herberger Institute. Among well known professors within the Herberger Institute is Johnny Saldaña of the School of Theatre and Film. Saldaña received the 1996 Distinguished Book Award and the prestigious Judith Kase Cooper Honorary Research Award, both from the American Alliance for Theatre Education (AATE).[143] The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is the center of ASU's initiatives focusing on practical solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. The institute has partnered with various cities, universities, and organizations from around the world to address issues affecting the global community.[144]

ASU is also involved with NASA in the field of space exploration. In order to meet the needs of NASA programs, ASU built the LEED Gold Certified, 298,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4) at a cost of $110 million in 2012.[145] The building includes space for the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and includes labs and other facilities for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.[146] One of the main projects at ISTB 4 includes the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES).[147] Although ASU built the spectrometers aboard the Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity, OTES will be the first major scientific instrument completely designed and built at ASU for a NASA space mission.[148] Phil Christensen, the principal investigator for the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), is a Regents' Professor at ASU.[149] He also serves as the principal investigator for the Mars Odyssey THEMIS instruments, as well as co-investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers. ASU scientists are responsible for the Mini-TES instruments aboard the Mars Exploration Rovers. The Center for Meteorite Studies, which is home to rare Martian meteorites and exotic fragments from space, and the Mars Space Flight Facility are both located on ASU's Tempe campus.[150][151]

The Army Research Laboratory extended funding for the Arizona State University Flexible Display Center (FDC) in 2009 with a $50 million grant.[152] The university has partnered with the Pentagon on such endeavors since 2004 with an initial $43.7 million grant. In 2012, researchers at the center created the world’s largest flexible full-color organic light-emitting diode (OLED), which at the time was 7.4 inches. The following year, the FEDC staff broke their own world record, producing a 14.7-inch version of the display.[153][154] The technology delivers high-performance while remaining cost-effective during the manufacturing process. Vibrant colors, high switching speeds for video and reduced power consumption are some of the features the center has been able to successfully integrate into the technology. In 2012, ASU successfully eliminated the need for specialized equipment and processing, thereby reducing costs compared to competitive approaches.[155]


The subterranean entrance to Hayden Library,[156] Tempe campus

ASU's faculty and students are served by two dedicated general-topic libraries: Hayden Library,[156] which is the largest of the ASU libraries and is located on the Tempe campus, and Fletcher Library, located on the West campus. In addition, the Ross-Blakley Law Library and the Noble Science Library are housed in dedicated facilities on the Tempe campus. Music and Architecture collections are housed in facilities within the schools of Music and Architecture, respectively. Smaller library facilities are also located on the Polytechnic and Downtown campuses.[157]

As of 2013, ASU's libraries held 4.5 million volumes.[158] In total, there are 7 libraries that service the university community. The Arizona State University library system is ranked the 34th largest research library in the United States and Canada, according to criteria established by the Association of Research Libraries that measures various aspects of quality and size of the collection.[159] The University continues to grow its rare special collections, such as the recent addition of a privately held collection of manuscripts by poet Rubén Darío.[160]

Hayden Library is located on Cady Mall in the center of the Tempe campus.[161] It opened in 1966 and serves as the library system's reference, periodical, and administrative center and houses the most extensive special collections in ASU’s library system.[156] An expansion in 1989 created the subterranean entrance underneath Hayden Lawn and is attached to the above ground portion of the original library. There are two floors underneath Hayden Lawn with a landmark known as the "Beacon of Knowledge" rising form the center. The beacon is lit at night by the underground library’s lights.

The 2013 Capital Improvement Plan, approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, incorporates a $35 million repurposing and renovation project for Hayden Library.[162] The moat area that is currently open air and serves as an outdoor study space will be enclosed in order to increase indoor space for the library. Along with increasing space and renovating the facility, the front entrance of Hayden Library will be rebuilt.


Solar panel array on the roof deck of ASU's parking structure on Apache Blvd. in Tempe, AZ.

As of April 2013, ASU is the only institution of higher education in the United States to generate over 24 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar arrays containing 81,424 solar panels.[90] This is an increase over the June 2012 total of 15.3 MW.[163][164] ASU has 72 solar photovoltaic (PV) installations across all four campuses. The largest concentration of solar PV installations are on the Tempe campus, producing over 12.8 MW.[165]

Additionally, there are six wind turbines installed on the roof of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability building on the Tempe campus that have been in operation since October 2008. Under normal conditions, the six turbines produce enough electricity to power approximately 36 computers.[166]

ASU's School of Sustainability is the first school in the United States dedicated to exploring the principles of sustainability. ASU's School of Sustainability is part of the Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.[167] The School was established in spring 2007 and began enrolling undergraduates in fall 2008. The school offers majors, minors, and a number of certificates in sustainability. ASU is also home to the Sustainability Consortium which was founded by Jay Golden in 2009.[168]

The School of Sustainability has been essential in establishing the university as "a leader in the academics of sustainable business." The university is widely considered to be one of the most ambitious and principled organizations when it comes to embedding sustainable practices into its operating model.[169] The university has embraced several challenging sustainability benchmarks.[170] Among the numerous benchmarks outlined in the university's prospectus, is the creation of a large recycling and composting operation that by 2015, will eliminate 90% of the solid waste generated by all on-campus activities.[171] This endeavor will be aided by educating students about the benefits of avoiding overconsumption that contributes to excessive waste. Sustainability courses have been expanded to attain this goal and many of the university's individual colleges and schools have integrated such material into their lectures and courses.[172][173] Second, ASU is on track to reduce its rate of water consumption by 50%. The university's most aggressive benchmark is to be the first, large research university to achieve carbon neutrality as it pertains to its Scope 1, 2 and non-transportation Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.[169]


Maroon and gold

Sparky the Sun Devil with his trident, 2011

Gold is the oldest color associated with Arizona State University and dates back to 1896 when the school was named the Tempe Normal School.[174] Maroon and white were later added to the color scheme in 1898. Gold signifies the "golden promise" of ASU. The promise includes every student receiving a valuable educational experience. Gold also signifies the sunshine Arizona is famous for; including the power of the sun and its influence on the climate and the economy. The first uniforms worn by athletes associated with the university were black and white when the "Normals" were the name of the athletic teams. The student section, known as The Inferno, wears gold on game days.[175] Maroon signifies sacrifice and bravery while white represents the balance of negativity and positivity. As it is located in the city of Tempe, Arizona, the school's colors adorn the neighboring buildings during big game days and festive events. "Emotional and Psychological Meaning of Colours." MyLifeMyStuff. N.p., 26 Apr. 2012. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.

Mascot and Spirit Squad

Main article: Sparky the Sun Devil

Sparky the Sun Devil is the mascot of Arizona State University and was named by vote of the student body on November 8, 1946.[176] Sparky often travels with the team across the country and has been at every football bowl game in which the university has participated. The university's mascot is not to be confused with the university’s new emblem and logo, The Trident, colloquially referred to as the fork or the pitchfork, which is a hand gesture used by those associated with the university. The new logo and emblem are used on various university property, sport facilities, uniforms and documents.[177] Arizona State Teacher’s College had a different mascot and the sports teams were known as the Owls and later, the Bulldogs. When the school was first established, the Tempe Normal School’s teams were simply known as the Normals.[178] Sparky is visible on the sidelines of every home game played in Sun Devil Stadium or other ASU athletic facilities. His routine at football games includes pushups after every touchdown scored by the Sun Devils. He is aided by Sparky's Crew, male yell leaders that must meet physical requirements in order to participate as members. The female members are known as the Spirit Squad and are categorized into a dance line and spirit line. They are the official squad that represents ASU. The spirit squad competes every year at the ESPN Universal Dance Association (UDA) College Nationals in the Jazz and Hip-Hop categories. They were chosen by the UDA to represent the USA at the World Dance Championship 2013 in the Jazz category.[179] Currently, ASU's varsity intercollegiate cheerleading team is not allowed to participate at athletic events (e.g. football and basketball games) due to dismissal regarding prior misconduct.[180] ASU Cheerleading has since become a club sport, through the Student Recreation Center, competing locally and nationally as a Collegiate Co-Ed Division IA-Level VI team. They have reestablished their commitment to excellence, winning various championships.[181] The team has a strict code of conduct and is seeking reinstatement from the university to participate at athletic events.[182]

Annual tradition of Whitewashing "A" Mountain, Arizona State University
Hayden Butte, also known as "A Mountain"
Ringing of the Victory Bell, Arizona State University circa 1956

"A" Mountain

Main article: Tempe Butte

A letter has existed on the slope of the mountain since 1918. A "T" followed by an "N" were the first letters to grace the landmark. Tempe Butte, home to "A" Mountain, has had the "A" installed on the slope of its south face since 1938 and is visible from campus just to the south. The original "A" was destroyed by vandals in 1952 with pipe bombs and a new "A", constructed of reinforced concrete, was built in 1955.[183] The vandals were never identified but many speculate that the conspirators were students from the rival in-state university (University of Arizona). Many ancient Hohokam petroglyphs were destroyed by the bomb; nevertheless, many of these archeological sites around the mountain remain. There are many traditions surrounding "A" Mountain, including a revived "guarding of the 'A'" in which students camp on the mountainside before games with rival schools.[184] "Whitewashing" of the "A" is a tradition in which incoming freshmen paint the letter white during orientation week and is repainted gold before the first football game of the season.[185] Whitewashing dates back to the 1930s and it grows in popularity every year, with thousands of students going up to paint the "A" every year.[186]

Sun Devil Marching Band Battery, performing the pregame drum cadence in 2007
Old newspaper clipping describing the Lantern Walk tradition at ASU, May 30, 1929

Lantern Walk and Homecoming

The Lantern Walk is one of the oldest traditions at ASU and dates back to 1917.[187] It is considered one of ASU’s "most cherished" traditions and is an occasion used to mark the work of those associated with ASU throughout history. Anyone associated with ASU is free to participate in the event, including students, alumni, faculty, employees, and friends. This differs slightly from the original tradition in which the seniors would carry lanterns up "A" Mountain followed by the freshman. The senior class president would describe ASU's traditions and the freshman would repeat an oath of allegiance to the university. It was described as a tradition of "good will between the classes" and a way of ensuring new students would continue the university's traditions with honor. In modern times, the participants walk through campus and follow a path up to "A" Mountain in order to "light up" Tempe. Keynote speakers, performances, and other events are used to mark the occasion. The night is culminated with a fireworks display. The Lantern Walk was held after the Spring Semester (June) but is now held the week before Homecoming, a tradition that dates back to 1924 at ASU. It is held in the fall and in conjunction with a football game.[188]

Victory Bell

Arizona State University reintroduced the tradition of ringing a bell after each win for the football team in 2012.[189] The ROTC cadets associated with the university are responsible for the transportation of the bell to various events and for ringing the bell after games are won by the Sun Devils. The first Victory Bell, in various forms, was used in the 1930s but the tradition faded in the 1970s when the bell in use was removed from Memorial Union for renovations.[190] The bell cracked and was no longer capable of ringing. That bell is located on the southeast corner of Sun Devil Stadium near the entrance to the student section. That bell, given to the university in the late 1960s, is painted gold and is a campus landmark today.

Sun Devil Marching Band, Devil Walk and Songs of the University

The Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band, created in 1915 and known as the "Pride of the Southwest", was the first of only two marching bands in the Pac-12 to be awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy.[191] The John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the band the trophy in 1991. The Sun Devil Marching Band remains one of only 28 bands in the nation to have earned the designation. The band performs at every football game played in Sun Devil Stadium. In addition, the Sun Devil Marching Band has made appearances in the Fiesta Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, and the Super Bowl XLII, in addition to many others.[192] Smaller ensembles of band members perform at other sport venues including basketball games at Wells Fargo Arena and baseball games. The Devil Walk is held in Wells Fargo Arena by the football team and involves a more formal introduction of the players to the community; a new approach to the tradition added in 2012 with the arrival of head coach Todd Graham.[193] It begins 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to the game and allows the players to establish rapport with the fans. The walk ends as the team passes the band and fans lined along the path to Sun Devil Stadium. The most recognizable songs played by the band are "Alma Mater" and ASU's fight songs titled "Maroon and Gold" and the "Al Davis Fight Song". "Alma Mater" was composed by former Music Professor and Director of Sun Devil Marching Band (then known as Bulldog Marching Band), Miles A. Dresskell, in 1937.[194] "Maroon and Gold" was authored by former Director of Sun Devil Marching Band, Felix E. McKernan, in 1948. The "Al Davis Fight Song" (also known as "Go, Go Sun Devils" and "Arizona State University Fight Song") was composed by ASU alumnus Albert Oliver Davis in the 1940s without any lyrics. Recently lyrics were added to the song.[195]

Student life

Extracurricular programs

Arizona State University has an active extracurricular involvement program (Sun Devil Involvement Center).[196] Located on the 3rd floor of the Memorial Union,[197] the Sun Devil Involvement Center (SDIC) provides opportunities for student involvement through clubs, sororities, fraternities, community service, leadership, student government, and co-curricular programming.[198]

Changemaker Central is student-run centralized resource hub for student involvement in social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, service learning and community service that catalyzes student-driven social change. Changemaker Central locations have opened on all campuses in fall 2011, providing flexible, creative workspaces for everyone in the ASU community. The project is entirely student run and advances ASU’s institutional commitments to social embeddedness and entrepreneurship. The space allows students to meet, work and join new networks and collaborative enterprises while taking advantage of ASU’s many resources and opportunities for engagement.[199] Changemaker Central has signature programs, including Innovation Challenge and 10,000 Solutions, that support students in their journey to become changemakers by creating communities of support around new solutions/ideas and increasing access to early stage seed funding.[200] The Innovation Challenge seeks undergraduate and graduate students from across the university who are dedicated to making a difference in our local and global communities through innovation. Students can win up to $10,000 to make their innovative project, prototype, venture or community partnership ideas happen.[201] The 10,000 Solutions Project leverages the power of collaborative imagination and innovation to create a solutions bank. As an experimental problem solving platform, the project showcases and collects ideas at scale with local and global impact. The 10,000 Solutions Project aims to see what can be accomplished when passionate people join a collaborative community that builds upon each other’s innovative ideas.[202]

In addition to Changemaker Central, the Freshman Year Residential Experience (FYRE) and the Greek community (Greek Life) at Arizona State University have been important in binding students to the university, and providing social outlets. The Freshman Year Residential Experience at Arizona State University was developed to improve the freshman experience at Arizona State University and increase student retention figures. FYRE provides advising, computer labs, free walk-in tutoring, workshops, and classes for students. ASU is also home to one of the nation's first and fastest growing gay fraternities, Sigma Phi Beta, founded in 2003;[203] considered a sign of the growing university's commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion.

The second Eta chapter of Phrateres, a non-exclusive, non-profit social-service club, was installed here in 1958.

There are multiple councils for Greek Life, including the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Multicultural Greek Organization (MCG), National Association of Latino and Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), Panhellenic Association (PHA), and the Professional Fraternity Council (PFC).

Student media

The State Press is the university's independent, student-operated news publication. The State Press covers news and events on all four ASU campuses. Student editors and managers are solely responsible for the content of the State Press website. These publications are overseen by an independent board and guided by a professional adviser employed by the university.

The Downtown Devil is a student-run news publication website for the Downtown Phoenix Campus, produced by students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.[204]

ASU has two radio stations. KASC The Blaze 1330 AM, is a broadcast station that is owned and funded by the Cronkite School of Journalism, and is completely student-run save for a faculty and professional adviser. The Blaze broadcasts local, alternative and independent music 24 hours a day, and also features news and sports updates at the top and bottom of every hour.[205] W7ASU is an amateur radio station that was first organized in 1935. W7ASU has about 30 members that enjoy amateur radio, and is primarily a contesting club.[206]

Student government

Associated Students of Arizona State University (ASASU) is the student government at Arizona State University.[207] It is composed of the Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA). Members and officers of ASASU are elected annually by the student body.

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) of Arizona State University is the student government for every ASU student living on-campus. Each ASU campus has an RHA that operates independently of each other. The purpose of RHA is to enhance the quality of residence hall life and provide a cohesive voice for the residents by addressing the concerns of the on-campus populations to university administrators and other campus organizations; providing cultural, diversity, educational, and social programming; establishing and working with individual community councils.

On-campus living

Arizona State University offers on-campus living arrangements on all three campuses. On the main Tempe campus it includes dorms such as Palo Verde East, Palo Verde West, Palo Verde Main (under construction), University Towers, Arcadia, Manzanita, Hassayampa Academic Village, San Pablo (otherwise known as "CLAS Academy"),[208] the Sonora Center, and multiple Barrett dorms.[209] Recently, ASU has added Vista Del Sol on Apache road to the on campus living for upper class honors college students. Coming Fall 2017, the new Palo Verde Main will be completed. Each dormitory is identified with a specific college, institute, major, or sport, and are relatively close to all the classes the student would be taking according to their major (excluding the Sonora Center which is meant to house 'overflow' students that do not fit in the other dormatory complexes, as well as students who have declared their major as 'exploratory'). For example, University Towers is strictly all Engineering students. Aside from the on-campus dorms, Arizona State also offers residential halls for upper-division housing and Greek life housing. Greek Life housing is only available for sororities that are current members of ASU Panhellenic. There are currently 12 sororities residing in Greek life housing. Sororities are housed in a gated complex called Adelphi Commons and it is only accessible to members of the sororities.[210]


Arizona State Football Team in September 2011
James Harden, ASU Basketball

Arizona State University's Division I athletic teams are called the Sun Devils, which is also the nickname used to refer to students and alumni of the university. They compete in the Pac-12 Conference in 20 varsity sports. Historically, the university has highly performed in men's, women's, and mixed archery; men's, women's, and mixed badminton; women's golf; women's swimming and diving; baseball; and football. Arizona State University's NCAA Division I-A program competes in 9 varsity sports for men and 11 for women. ASU's athletic director is Ray Anderson,[211] former executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League. Anderson replaced Steve Patterson, who was appointed to the position in 2012 after Lisa Love, the former Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Southern California, was relieved of her duties.[212] Love was responsible for the hiring of coaches Herb Sendek, the men's basketball coach, and Dennis Erickson, the men's football coach.[213] Erickson was fired in 2011 and replaced by Todd Graham.[214] The rival to Arizona State University is University of Arizona.

ASU has won 23 national collegiate team championships in the following sports: baseball (5), men's golf (2), women's golf (7), men's gymnastics (1), softball (2), men's indoor track (1), women's indoor track (2), men's outdoor track (1), women's outdoor track (1), and wrestling (1).[215]

In September 2009 criticism over the seven-figure salaries earned by various coaches at Arizona's public universities (including ASU) prompted the Arizona Board of Regents to re-evaluate the salary and benefit policy for athletic staff.[216] With the 2011 expansion of the Pac-12 Conference, a new $3 billion contract for revenue sharing among all the schools in the conference was established.[217] With the infusion of funds, the salary issue and various athletic department budgeting issues at ASU were addressed. The Pac-12's new media contract with ESPN allowed ASU to hire a new coach in 2012. A new salary and bonus package (maximum bonus of $2.05 million) was instituted and is one of the most lucrative in the conference.[218] ASU also plans to expand its athletic facilities with a public-private investment strategy to create an amateur sports district that can accommodate the Pan American Games and operate as an Olympic Training Center.[219] The athletic district will include a $300 million renovation of Sun Devil Stadium that will include new football facilities.[220] The press box and football offices in Sun Devil Stadium were remodeled in 2012.[221]

Arizona State Sun Devils football was founded in 1897 under coach Fred Irish.[222] Currently, the team has played in the 2012 Fight Hunger Bowl, the 2011 Las Vegas bowl, the 2016 cactus bowl, and the 2007 Holiday Bowl.[223] The Sun Devils played in the 1997 Rose Bowl and won the Rose Bowl in 1987. The team has appeared in the Fiesta Bowl in 1983, 1977, 1975, 1973, 1972, and 1971 winning 5 of 6. In 1970 and 1975 they were champions of the NCAA Division I FBS National Football Championship. The Sun Devils were Pac-12 Champions in 1986, 1996, and 2007. Altogether, the football team has 17 Conference Championships and has participated in a total of 29 bowl games as of the 2015–2016 season with a 14-14-1 record in those games.[224]

The university also participates in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and is billed as the top program within that league.[225] Beginning in 2013, ASU will be a founding member of the new Western Collegiate Hockey League (WCHL). ASU Sun Devils Hockey will compete with NCAA Division 1 schools for the first time in 2012, largely due to the success of the program.[226] In 2016 they will begin as a full-time Division 1 team. Competing as an independent for their first year, then joining a respective conference in 2017. The conference will either be the NCHC or the WCHA.[227]

Eight members of ASU's Women's Swimming and Diving Team were selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team on April 5, 2010. In addition, five member of ASU's Men's Swimming and Diving Team were selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team on April 6, 2010.[228]

In April 2015, Bobby Hurley was hired as the men's basketball coach, replacing Herb Sendek. Previously, Hurley was the head coach at the University of Buffalo as well as an assistant coach at Rhode Island and Wagner University.

In 2015, Bob Bowman was hired as the head swim coach. Previously, Bowman trained Michael Phelps through his Olympic career.[229]

As of Fall 2015, ASU students, including those enrolled in online courses, may avail of a free ticket to all ASU athletic events upon presentation of a valid student ID.[230]



Arizona State University has produced over 400,000 alumni worldwide.[231] The university has produced many notable figures over its 125-year history, including influential U.S. Senator Carl Hayden, and Silver Star recipient Pat Tillman, who left his National Football League career to enlist in the United States Army in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Other notable alumni include nine current or former U.S. Representatives, including Barry Goldwater, Jr., Ed Pastor, and Matt Salmon. Arizona governors Doug Ducey, Jane Dee Hull, and Evan Mecham also attended ASU. Peterson Zah, who was the first Navajo President and the last Chairman of the Navajo Nation, is an ASU graduate. The economy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, is another ASU graduate. Business leaders that attended ASU include: Eric Crown, CEO and co-founder of Insight Enterprises, Inc.; Ira A. Fulton, philanthropist and founder of Fulton Homes; Craig Weatherup, former Chairman of PepsiCo; Kate Spade, namesake and co-Founder of Kate Spade New York; and Larry Carter, CFO of Cisco Systems.

In addition to Pat Tillman, ASU has had many renowned athletes attend the school. Those athletes include: World Golf Hall of Fame member Phil Mickelson, Baseball Hall of Fame member Reggie Jackson, Major League Baseball home run king Barry Bonds, National Basketball Association All-Star James Harden, and 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs. ASU alumni that are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame include: Curley Culp, Mike Haynes, John Henry Johnson, Randall McDaniel, and Charley Taylor. Other notable athletes that attended ASU are: Major League Baseball All-Stars Dustin Pedroia, Sal Bando, and Paul Lo Duca; National Basketball Association All-Stars Lionel Hollins and Fat Lever, and NBA All-Star coach Byron Scott; National Football League Pro Bowl selections Jake Plummer and Danny White, as well as current Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler; and three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmers Melissa Belote and Jan Henne.

Celebrities who have attended ASU include: Jimmy Kimmel Live! host Jimmy Kimmel; Steve Allen, who was the original host of The Tonight Show; Academy Award nominated actor Nick Nolte; 11-Time Grammy Award winning singer Linda Ronstadt; Saturday Night Live and Tommy Boy actor David Spade; Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter; and Road to Perdition actor Tyler Hoechlin. Influential writers and novelists include: Allison Dubois, whose novels and work inspired the TV miniseries Medium; novelist Amanda Brown; author and spiritual teacher Howard Falco; and best-selling author and Doctor of Animal Science Temple Grandin. Journalists and commentators include: former Monday Night Football announcer, and current Sunday Night Football announcer Al Michaels, and writer and cartoonist Jerry Dumas, who is best known for his Sam and Silo comic strip. Radio host Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan and actress Jane Wyman, also briefly attended.

Among American research universities, Arizona State is ranked 4th for total recipients of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in the 2012–2013 academic year.[232] ASU has made this list for more than 9 consecutive years. ASU alumni and students are also noted for their service to the community and have officially been recognized as a top university for contributing to the public good.[233] The Arizona State University Alumni Association is located on the Tempe campus in Old Main. The Alumni Association is responsible for continuing many of the traditions of the university.


ASU faculty have included former CNN host Aaron Brown, meta-analysis developer Gene V. Glass, feminist and author Gloria Feldt, physicist Paul Davies, and Pulitzer Prize winner and The Ants coauthor Bert Hölldobler. Donald Johanson, who discovered the 3.18 million year old fossil hominid Lucy (Australopithecus) in Ethiopia, is also a professor at ASU, as well as George Poste, Chief Scientist for the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative.[234] Current Nobel laureate faculty include Leland Hartwell,[235] and Edward C. Prescott.[236] On June 12, 2012 Elinor Ostrom, ASU's third Nobel laureate, died at the age of 78.

ASU faculty's achievements as of 2012 include:[138]

Presidential visits

Arizona State University has been visited by nine United States presidents. President Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to visit campus, speaking at the dedication for the Roosevelt Dam on the steps of Old Main on March 20, 1911.[238] President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke at ASU's Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium on January 29, 1972 at a memorial service for ASU alumnus Senator Carl T. Hayden.[238] Future president Gerald R. Ford debated Senator Albert Gore, Sr. at Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium on April 28, 1968, and Ford returned to the same building as a former president to give a lecture on February 24, 1984.[238] President Jimmy Carter visited Arizona PBS at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on July 31, 2015 to promote a memoir.[239] Future president Ronald Reagan gave a political speech at the school's memorial union in 1957, and returned to campus as a former president on March 20, 1989, delivering his first ever post-presidential speech at ASU's Wells Fargo Arena (Tempe).[238] President George H.W. Bush gave a lecture at Wells Fargo Arena (Tempe) on May 5, 1998.[238]

President Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to visit ASU on October 31, 1996, speaking on the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium lawn. He returned to ASU in 2006, and in 2014 President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton came to campus to host the Clinton Global Initiative University.[238] President George W. Bush became the second sitting president to visit the school's campus when he debated Senator John Kerry at the university's Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium on October 13, 2004.[240] President Barack Obama visited ASU as sitting president on May 13, 2009. President Obama delivered the commencement speech for the Spring 2009 Commencement Ceremony, speaking to a crowd of more than 60,000 people at Sun Devil Stadium.[241] President Obama had previously visited the school twice as a United States Senator.[238] President Richard Nixon did not visit ASU as president, but he did visit Phoenix, Arizona as president on October 31, 1970 at an event that included a performance by the Arizona State University Band, which President Nixon acknowledged. As part of President Nixon's remarks, he stated that, "when I am in Arizona, Arizona State is number one."[242]


Sexual assault investigation

On May 1, 2014, ASU was listed as one of fifty five higher education institutions under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights "for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints" by Barack Obama's White House Task Force To Protect Students from Sexual Assault.[243][244] The publicly announced investigation followed two Title IX suits.[245] In July 2014, a group of at least nine current and former students who alleged that they were harassed or assaulted asked that the federal investigation be expanded.[246] In August 2014 ASU President Michael Crow appointed a task force[247] comprising faculty and staff, students, and members of the university police force to review the university’s efforts to address sexual violence. Crow accepted the recommendations of the task force in November 2014.[248]

Faculty plagiarism

In 2011, Professor Matthew Whitaker was accused of plagiarizing material in six books he had written, as well as in a speech he made to local high school students. After watching a video of the speech, a plagiarism analyst said he could pretty much read along from a newspaper article as Whitaker spoke. To the intense consternation of ASU faculty members (the chairman of the tenure committee resigned in protest) an investigating committee concluded there was no pattern of deceit and that the copying had been inadvertent. It all popped up again in 2014 with another Whitaker book, “Peace Be Still: Modern Black America From World War II to Barack Obama.” A blogger writing under an apparent pseudonym set out side-by-side excerpts from Whitaker’s book and material available on the Web at sites like and the Archive of American Television. They are more than just similar in tone. Whitaker has also been accused of appropriating training materials produced by the Chicago Police Department which he used as the basis for a lucrative contract with the Phoenix Police Department. Whitaker was to receive $268,800 to provide “cultural-consciousness training” to Phoenix police. The Phoenix Police Department wants back the $21,900 it has paid thus far. He was placed on administrative leave on September 17, 2015, while the university investigated allegations that "his behavior has fallen short of expectations as a faculty member and a scholar."[249]


^ a: Campus enrollment figures at ASU are defined by the number of students taking at least one course offered by a department housed on a particular campus. Students who are enrolled in classes on more than one campus (estimated to be 27,484) are counted within each campus's total.

^ b: ASU is the largest research university in the US under a single administration (one President, Provost, VPs, etc.). In addition ASU's Tempe campus is one of the largest single university campuses in the US.


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