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Arizona State University (also referred to as ASU, or Arizona State) is the largest public research university in the United Statesmarker under a single administration, with a 2009 student enrollment of 68,064. ASU is spread across four campuses in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

ASU was founded in 1885 as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in Tempe, Arizonamarker. In 1945, the school came under control of the Arizona Board of Regents and was renamed "Arizona State College." In 1958, a statewide ballot measure renamed the school "Arizona State University," making ASU the only institution of higher education to have achieved university status by popular mandate. From its original campus in Tempemarker, ASU expanded in 1984, establishing the West campusmarker in northwest Phoenixmarker, followed by the 1996 addition of the Polytechnic campusmarker in eastern Mesamarker and the 2006 addition of the Downtown Phoenix campusmarker. All four campuses are accredited as a single institution by the Higher Learning Commission.

In the 2008-2009 academic year, 15,610 students graduated from ASU. In 2009, 156 National Merit Scholars chose to attend ASU, many of which are part of Barrett, The Honors College. Under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, ASU is classified as a Research University with Very High research activity.


Originally named the Tempe Normal Schoolmarker, the institution was founded on March 12, 1885 after John Samuel Armstrong first introduced House Bill 164, "An Act to Establish a Normal school in the Territory of Arizona to the 13th Legislative Assembly of the Arizona Territory. Instruction was instituted on February 8, 1886 under the supervision of Principal Hiram Bradford Farmer. Land for the school was donated by Tempemarker residents George and Martha Wilson, allowing 33 students to meet in a single room.

Early years

At the beginning of the 20th century, the school's name was changed from Tempe Normal Schoolmarker to the Normal School of Arizona. Before becoming a college, the Normal School enrolled high school students with no other secondary education facilities.

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 shrubbery brought to the campus. He also implemented the planting of Palm Walk, now one of the feature landmarks of the school. His legacy is being continued to this day with the main campus having the honor of being declared a nationally recognized arboretum.

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

Gammage years

In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaffmarker, became president of Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe, a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years.

Like his predecessor, Dr. Gammage oversaw the construction of a number of buildings on the Tempe campus. Dr. Gammage oversaw the development of the university, graduate programs, and the renaming of the Arizona State College to Arizona State University in 1958.

Years of growth and stature

University Center, West Campus
During the 1960s, with the presidency of Dr. G. Homer Durham, Arizona State University began to expand its academic curriculum by establishing several new colleges and beginning to award Doctor of Philosophy and other doctoral degrees.

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 Campusmarker, and rising enrollment.

Under the leadership of Dr. Lattie F. Coor, from 1990 to June 2002, ASU grew to serve the Valley of the Sun through the creation of the Polytechnic campusmarker and extended education sites. His commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development underscored the university’s significant gains in each of these areas over his 12-year tenure. Part of Dr. Coor’s legacy to the university was a successful fund-raising campaign. Through private donations, primarily from the local community, more than $500 million was invested in targeted areas that significantly impact the future of ASU. Among the campaign’s achievements were the naming and endowing of the Barrett Honors College, the Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts, and the Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management at the Polytechnic campus; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.

The Crow Era

The Biodesign Institute is the result of a major capital campaign designed to increase ASU's involvement in biotechnology.
On July 1, 2002, Michael Crow would become the university's 16th president. At his inauguration, President Crow outlined his vision for transforming ASU into a New American University—one that would be open and inclusive. As the only research university serving the metropolitan Phoenix area, Crow has stated that ASU is in a unique position to evolve together with the city into one of the great intellectual institutions in the world.

Under Crow's leadership, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, ASU has embarked on its most aggressive capital building effort in more than a decade. The university is adding one million square feet of world-class research infrastructure, and is continuing its development and expansion of the West, Polytechnic and Downtown campuses.


Arizona State University comprises four campuses: the Tempe campusmarker, which is the original and largest campus, the West campusmarker in northwest Phoenixmarker, the Polytechnic campusmarker located in eastern Mesa, and the Downtown Phoenix campusmarker in downtown Phoenix. Although there is some redundancy in undergraduate academic offerings across the campuses, each campus was designed to host a unique set of colleges and departments. In addition to the physical campuses, ASU includes a fifth "virtual campus" for online and extended education. All campuses offer both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Unlike a university system, the ASU campuses are all part of a single university, with a common administration presiding over the faculty, staff, and students. The campuses do not have separate admissions, and students receive the same diplomas regardless of which campus they primarily attended. In addition, an estimated 13,269 students are enrolled in classes on more than one campus, making campus-based enrollment counts difficult to ascertain.

Tempe campus

Underground entrance of Charles Trumbull Hayden Library- Tempe campus.
ASU's Tempe campus lies in the heart of Tempe, Arizonamarker, about eight miles (13 km) east of downtown Phoenix. The campus is considered urban, and is approximately in size. ASU's Tempe campus is arranged around broad pedestrian malls and is completely encompassed by an arboretum. The Tempe campus is also the largest of ASU's campuses, with 55,552 students enrolled in its programs.

The Tempe campus is ASU's original campus, and Old Mainmarker, the first building constructed, still stands today. There are many notable landmarks on campus, including Grady Gammage Memorial Auditoriummarker, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Palm Walk, which is lined by 111 palm trees, Charles Trumbull Hayden Library, the University Club Building, 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. Against the northwest edge of campus is the Mill Avenue district (part of downtown Tempemarker) which has a college atmosphere that attracts many students to its restaurants and bars. ASU's Tempe Campus is also home to all of the university's athletic facilities.

West campus

Robert L.
Fletcher Library in background- West campus

The West campus was established in 1984 by the Arizona Legislature and sits on in a suburban area of northwest Phoenix, bordering the city of Glendale, Arizonamarker. The West campus lies about northwest of downtown Phoenix, and about northwest of the Tempe campus. The programs on the west campus currently enroll 10,380 undergraduate and graduate students.

The West campus primarily consists of five cloistered academic buildings arranged around a quad, with several smaller satellite buildings housing auxiliary and administrative offices. The campus is currently scheduled for the addition of a student union and a second building in which to house faculty and administrative offices. In 2008, the West campus was designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride, and in 2009, construction began on a large solar array that will power nearly the entire campus with solar power.

Polytechnic campus

Founded originally as ASU East, the Polytechnic campus opened in fall 1996 on the former Williams Air Force Basemarker in eastern Mesa, Arizonamarker. The campus opened with nearly 1,000 students enrolled in one of the eight degrees offered. The small campus started with the School of Technology and the School of Management and Agribusiness. Today, 9,146 students are enrolled in over 40 degree programs on the campus.

The ASU Polytechnic campus shares its of land with Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa Community Collegemarker, a United States Air Force research laboratory, a Veteran's Administrationmarker Clinic and the Silvestre Herrera Army Reserve Center.

Downtown Phoenix campus

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Building - Downtown Phoenix campus

The newest of ASU's four campuses, the Downtown Phoenix campus was established in 2006 on the north side of Downtown Phoenix. 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 1930's era Post Office that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Initially, the campus housed the colleges of Nursing and Public Programs. In 2008, The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communicationmarker moved to the campus, followed by the Public Television station KAETmarker in 2009. As of the fall 2009 semester, 11,503 students were enrolled at this campus.

Online and Extended Education

This "virtual" campus is responsible for all of ASU’s web-based and off-campus-classroom-based academic programs and is headquartered at Skysong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Centermarker. Currently, ASU Online offers twelve undergraduate and twenty-one graduate degree programs in disciplines such as business, engineering, education, nursing and the humanities. The degree programs delivered online hold the same accreditation as the university’s traditional face-to-face programs. As of spring 2009 more than 1,300 students were enrolled in online degree programs at ASU.



To ensure college access to all Arizona residents, the three public Arizona universities have relatively liberal admission standards, ensuring admission to anyone in the top 50% of their high-school class, or anyone with 24 credits of community college work with a 2.0GPA. As of Fall, 2008, the average high school GPA of incoming freshmen was 3.41, and the average SAT/ACT scores were 1082 and 23.5, respectively.

However, Barrett, The Honors College serves as a virtual university-within-a-university and maintains strict admissions standards and provides a more rigorous curriculum with smaller classes and increased faculty interaction. Although there are no set minimum admissions criteria for Barrett College, the average GPA of incoming freshmen was 3.86, with average SAT scores of 1320 and ACT scores of 29. The Honors college enrolls nearly 3000 undergraduate students, 539 of whom are National Merit Scholars.

Academic programs

ASU offers over 250 majors to undergraduate students, and more than 100 graduate programs leading to masters and doctoral degrees. These programs are divided into 17 colleges and schools which are spread across ASU's four campuses. The largest college is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which houses two dozen programs and departments.

Degrees awarded include the B.A., B.S., B.S.E.,B.S.N.,B.I.S., B.A.S., M.A., M.S., M.F.A., M.B.A.,M.S.N.,L.L.M., M.M., M.Eng., Ph.D., J.D., Ed.D., D.M.A., and D.S.N.

Reputation and ranking

ASU is ranked 121st of 262 "national universities" by the 2010 US News and World Report ranking of US colleges and universities (58th among public universities); and, for the second year in a row, ASU was ranked as one of the top five "Up and Coming" universities in the US, for substantial improvements to academics and facilities. In addition, ASU is ranked 93rd in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, is included in the Fiske Guide to Colleges, and was named as one of "America's Best College Buys" by Forbes magazine.

For its efforts to be a national leader in campus sustainability, ASU was named one of the top 20 "cool schools" by the Sierra Club, was named to the "Green Honor Roll" by the Princeton Review, and earned an "A-" grade on the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card.

Ranked graduate programs include the following:

In addition, ASU maintains several programs that are ranked among the top ten nationally according to the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index: Ecology & Evolution, Accountancy, Marketing, Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Leadership, Industrial Engineering, Interdisciplinary Studies, Speech & Hearing Science, Spanish, Physical Anthropology, Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, Justice Studies, Political Science, and Social Psychology.

International programs

ASU is currently collaborating with several world class institutions in several countries such as Chinamarker, Switzerlandmarker and Mexicomarker. In Mexico, ASU collaborates with Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Méxicomarker (ITAM) in the ITAM/W.P. Carey School of Business Executive MBA Program. In Switzerland, ASU collaborates with HEC Lausanne, the affiliated business school of the University of Lausanne.

Fundraising and endowment

Created in 1955, the ASU Foundation is one of Arizona’s oldest 501 organizations. It raises, invests and manages private resources for Arizona State University. The foundation coordinates and directs major fundraising campaigns on behalf of ASU and its colleges and schools, and partners with the university to provide complementary support for entrepreneurial activities in technology transfer and real estate investment.

In fiscal 2007-2008, the university received private cash gifts of more than $120 million – only the third time in history that private support for the university has topped the $100 million mark. This gift total included six outright gifts of $1 million or more. In addition, there were five gift pledges of between $5 and $20 million each to ASU for strategic initiatives.

The ASU endowment has doubled in size over the past four years. During fiscal year 2008, the endowment increased by $29 million in gifts to new endowed funds or existing endowments reaching a total value of $493 million on June 30, 2008. The average annual return on endowment investments for the past three years was 11.2 percent, outperforming both the benchmark and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index for this period. In addition, the total assets managed by the foundation, which includes non-endowment assets, increased by $41 million, capping a six-year, $578 million growth.


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-10 Conference in 20 varsity sports. Historically, the university has shown great athletic dominance in men's, women's, and mixed archery; men's, women's, and mixed badminton; women's golf; women's swimming and diving; and baseball. In 1987, the football team won the Rose Bowlmarker, and they have been to the Fiesta Bowl five times.

Arizona State University's NCAA Division I-A program competes in 9 varsity sports for men and 11 for women. The Sun Devil mascot is a devil named Sparky. The university is a member of the Pacific-10 Conference in all varsity sports. ASU's current athletic director is Lisa Love, who was the former athletic administrator at USCmarker and in her tenure is responsible for hiring new coaches Herb Sendek, the men's basketball coach, and Dennis Erickson, the men's football coach.

ASU won national championships in men's archery 15 times, women's archery 21 times, mixed archery 20 times, men's badminton 13 times, women's badminton 17 times, mixed badminton 10 times, baseball 5 times, women's tennis 3 times, men's gymnastics once, men's track and field once, women's indoor track and field twice, men's indoor track and field once, wrestling once, men's golf twice, women's golf 13 times, women's softball three times, and women's swimming and diving 7 times, for a total of 136 national championships.

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.


The Arizona State Sun Devils football team was founded in 1897 under coach Fred Irish. Currently, the team has played in the 2007 Holiday Bowl, 1997 Rose Bowlmarker and also won the Rose Bowl in 1987 as well as the Fiesta Bowl in 1982, 1975, 1973, 1972, and 1971. In 1970 they were co-champions of the NCAA Division I FBS National Football Championship.

Student activities

Palm Walk- Tempe Campus

Extracurricular programs

Arizona State University has an active extracurricular involvement program (Sun Devil Involvement Center) with over 600 registered clubs and organizations on campus. Located on the 3rd floor of the Memorial Union, the Sun Devil Involvement Center (SDIC) provides opportunities for student involvement through clubs, sororities, fraternities, community service, leadership, student government, and co-curricular programming.

"ASU Cares" is the largest community service project sponsored by the university. It is an annual event that allows students to give back some time by helping residents and communities clean up, rebuild, and/or serve each other. Faculty, staff, alumni, members of the community and their families and guests are also invited to be part of this large ASU effort to help residents of the various communities surrounding the metropolitan area.

From 1958 until the 1990s, Arizona State University was home to the Eta chapter of Phrateres, a philanthropic-social organization for female college students. Eta was the second chapter to use that name (after the defunct Colorado Statemarker chapter) and the 18th overall. Phrateres eventually had over 20 chapters in Canadamarker and the United Statesmarker, including the Lambda chapter at the University of Arizonamarker which closed in 2000.

Hayden Butte, also known as 'A' Mountain- Tempe Campus
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. In 2003, U.S. News and World Report ranked FYRE as the 23rd best first year program in the nation.

The ASU Student Emergency Medical Services marker,a student-run organization, is the ambulance company dedicated to serving the ASU campus community.

Student media

ASU Student Media includes The State Press (student newspaper), the Web Devil (online news site) and Sun Devil Television (television station broadcast on campus and in student residence halls). The State Press is a daily paper published on Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters, and weekly during the summer sessions. Student editors and managers are solely responsible for the content of all Student Media products. They are overseen by an independent board and guided by a professional adviser employed by the University.

During the fall and spring semesters 13,500 copies of the State Press are printed each week day. More than 96% of ASU students on all four campuses read The State Press at least once per week, and 65% read it every day or most days. There are an average of 2.5 readers per each copy of the State Press, resulting in more than 45,000 readers across all four campuses. In addition, the State Press Magazine, a weekly arts and culture publication, comes out on Wednesdays. The Web Devil, the online arm of the State Press, publishes the paper's daily content online, as well as independent news and editorial content.

The campus has two radio stations. KASC The Blaze 1260 AM, is a broadcast station and is not an official part of Student Media - it is owned and funded by the Cronkite School - but 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. 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.

Student government

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

The Graduate & Professional Student Association marker is the graduate student government at Arizona State University. GPSA provides a unified voice for all graduate students at Arizona State University and provides support and resources for graduate students. GPSA also has one of the only graduate-student only spaces in the nation with its Graduate Student Center. On October 1, 2009, the students at the Tempe Campus passed a referendum to allow all graduate students at ASU to become members of the organization, which used to only represent the students of the Tempe campus. The association currently represents about 14,000 graduate students and is the largest (by membership) graduate student organization in the Pac-10. GPSA is currently working on opening Graduate Student Centers on all four of the ASU campuses..

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) of Arizona State University-Tempe is the student government for every ASU student living on-campus. 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 hall councils. In 2008, the RHA of ASU-Tempe was voted "Best School of the Year" out of over 400 higher education institutions.

Residence halls

Notable people and places

Alumni and former students

Faculty and staff

Points of interest


Barack Obama honorable degree

On April 7, 2009 it was reported that the university would not award President Barack Obama an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony on May 13. “Because President Obama’s body of work is yet to come, it’s inappropriate to recognize him at this time,” University spokeswoman Sharon Keeler explained. Additionally, according to ASU President Michael Crow the true reason Obama was not given a degree was "When I took office - you can blame me if you want - I said, 'We're not giving any honorary degrees to any donors. We're not giving any honorary degrees to sitting politicians,'. Crow continued, "Obviously, President Obama is an immensely qualified person, but he's a sitting politician."

The University was mocked and criticized for this decision, with many arguing that he had already made significant accomplishments as a U.S. senator and in the beginning of his Presidential term. On April 11, 2009, ASU responded to the criticism by announcing that it would honor Obama by renaming a major scholarship program the "President Barack Obama Scholars.". Crow explained in a statement that, "It has always been our intention to recognize and honor President Obama's accomplishments during his visit, but we had not yet determined the best or most appropriate way to do so. Although the focus and attention of the media and others has been on an honorary degree, we never felt that was the only — or even the best — means of honoring his tremendous service to our country."

Now, in all seriousness, I come here not to dispute thesuggestion that I haven’t yet achieved enough in mylife. First of all, Michelle concurs with thatassessment. She has a long list of things thatI have not yet done waiting for me when I get home. Butmore than that, I come to embrace the notion that I haven’tdone enough in my life; I heartily concur; I come to affirmthat one’s title, even a title like President of the UnitedStates, says very little about how well one’s life has been led-- that no matter how much you’ve done, or how successfulyou’ve been, there’s always more to do, always more tolearn, and always more to achieve. - President Barack Obama during Spring 2009 Commencement


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