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Considering the innovative research, sustainability-designed campuses, and the sheer size of graduating classes that result from Arizona State University, it can be hard to imagine the university’s humble beginnings. But when it was established more than 100 years ago, the Territorial Normal School was a single room containing just 33 students.
For over 50 years, ASU has commemorated Founders’ Day annually by honoring faculty, staff, alumni and advocates who display a drive to influence change through innovation and leadership. Covering a wide range of areas, the awards acknowledge excellence in teaching, research, leadership, philanthropy and service. These honors include the Faculty Research Achievement Award, the Faculty Service Achievement Award, the Faculty Teaching Achievement Award, the James W. Creasman Award of Excellence, the Young Alumni Achievement Award and the Alumni Achievement Award.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is proud to be affiliated with five of this year's incredible award recipients including Nancy Gonzales, Robert Page, Ariel Anbar, Sambo “Bo” Dul and Missy M. Farr-Kaye.
This year’s winner of the Faculty Research Achievement Award is Nancy Gonzales, the Associate Dean of Faculty for the college, who graduated from ASU in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Since graduating, she has gone on to win multiple awards as a clinical psychologist and for her work in understanding the root of why some students are more successful than others, and what changes can be made to remedy surrounding issues.
“Her research resonates directly with the twin pillars of access and excellence of the New American University,” said Dean Patrick Kenney. “Her work represents the epitome of locating the intersection between top-tier scholarship and its applicability to people’s everyday lives.”
Robert Page is the Founding Director of the School of Life Sciences, as well as an ASU Regents’ Professor and Foundation Chair of Life Sciences. The recipient of the James W. Creasman Award of Excellence, Page has gone above and beyond in his contributions to the ASU Alumni Association and the university. Among other accomplishments, he has served as ASU vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“Rob’s great strength is his honesty and forthrightness; his commitment to giving to others,” said ASU Regents’ Professor Jane Maienschein. “He embraces every student and helps every one of them find a way to succeed — that kind of service doesn’t feel like service, but it is extremely important for making ASU what it is.”
The 2018 Faculty Teaching Achievement Award has been awarded to Ariel Anbar, ASU President’s Professor for the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences. A dedicated teacher, Anbar has worked hard toward the development of next-generation adaptive digital learning experiences by working with a team of students and staff in ASU’s Center for Education.
Involved in multiple levels of interactive teaching, Anbar allows students the opportunity to learn using logic and sound problem-solving skills while developing a new theory of digital learning design. His goal to reimagine the world of online education is a prime example of ASU’s innovative mission.
Sambo “Bo” Dul has been awarded the 2018 Young Alumni Achievement Award for her incredible accomplishments as a summa cum laude graduate with three different degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences including two Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and Spanish, as well as a Bachelor of Science in economics.
Dul and her family relocated from a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border to Arizona, where she began her journey to success. Among her many projects, Dul works as counsel to the Perkins Coie LLP Political Law Group and has recently kickstarted the Phoenix Legal Action Network in an effort to increase pro bono legal services to organizations aimed at improving social justice in Arizona.
The Alumni Achievement Award for 2018 has been awarded to ASU women’s golf head coach, Missy Farr-Kaye. A graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication in 1990, Farr-Kaye has gone on to excel in her contributions to the university. She has exercised her leadership skills for 16 years as coach, and has won multiple awards and national championships. She shows her students what it means to be a leader in every sense.
"This is my dream job in every sense of the word,” said Farr-Kaye. “I graduated from Arizona State and won an NCAA title under Linda Vollstedt. To become the head women’s golf coach of my alma mater is the pinnacle of my career.”
The celebration of the founders and leaders of ASU will take place on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Founders’ Day is celebrated each year in February or March to coincide with what was the first day of classroom instruction at the original Territorial Normal School at Tempe on Feb. 8, 1886.
Since that day, ASU has grown into an innovative, unique and diversified school because of the hard work and contributions of those within its community. Founders’ Day is a way to recognize the staff, faculty, alumni and supporters of the university for the hard work and devotion they commit to growing even greater.
The honorees and affiliates of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are leading examples of how dedication to excellence and a strong support system can pave the way to success, and affect communities at every level for the promise of a better future.