Founders' Day

This Founders’ Day, join ASU President Michael M. Crow, the Alumni Association and thousands of fellow Sun Devils virtually as we celebrate the legacy and innovation of ASU and the remarkable achievements of this year’s honorees. 

There is no cost to attend the 2021 virtual celebration.


Register today to watch live

Wednesday, March 24 at 5 p.m. MST/PST

No matter where you live, be a part of ASU’s virtual celebration along with fellow Sun Devils around the world at no cost. 

Founders’ Day is a time to commemorate distinguished ASU faculty, alumni and philanthropists who are outspoken advocates for academic excellence and inclusivity in higher education.

These pioneering leaders exemplify the university’s emergence into a New American University™ — an academically rigorous institution that advances research, champions discovery of public value and assumes fundamental responsibility for the communities it serves.

Meet the changemakers who are moving ASU forward. Discover how these movers and shakers continue to propel ASU into the future as the most visionary public university in the nation.

Register today to watch live

Kara Goldin

‘89 BA Communication

Alumni Achievement Award

Founder and CEO, Hint Inc.; podcast host, “The Kara Goldin Show”; bestselling author; “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters”

Campaign ASU 2020 donors

Philanthropist of the year

Campaign ASU 2020 donors embody the spirit of ASU’s founding

Flavio F. Marsiglia, PhD

Faculty Research Achievement Award

Regents Professor and center director, Global Center for Applied Health Research, School of Social Work, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Jeffrey R. Wilson, PhD

Faculty Service Achievement Award

Co-chair, ASU Advisory Council on African American Affairs; professor in Economics Department, W. P. Carey School of Business

Brian DeMaris

Faculty Teaching Achievement Award

Associate professor and artistic director of music theatre and opera, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Arizona State University annually celebrates the vision and contributions of the institution's founders. A tradition known as Founders' Day, this signature event has taken place since 1964. ASU faculty, staff, alumni and advocates who exemplify the pioneering and innovative spirit of ASU’s founders are honored with excellence-in-achievement awards at the event.

Founders’ Day is celebrated each year in February or March, commemorating the first day of classroom instruction at the original Territorial Normal School in Tempe on Feb. 8, 1886.

founders day 1887

Opening day on Feb. 8, 1886

Today, Arizona State University is a leading public research university and an internationally prestigious higher education institution recognized by leading rankings publications and services. ASU launched the groundbreaking prototype of the New American University in 2002, and the ultimate journey from a simple schoolhouse to a world-class institution is a testament to the vision, tenacity and hard work of its founders, leaders, faculty, students and alumni through the years. Founders’ Day is a celebration of this founding spirit.

founder day territorial

Arizona Territorial Normal School

It takes many sponsors to support Founders’ Day. We’re grateful for their partnership throughout the years and particularly this year.

Interested in being a sponsor? Learn more about the sponsorship opportunities and benefits for Founders’ Day 2021 and experience the event live as a member of the virtual in-studio audience. 

Become a sponsor

Sustaining sponsor

Premier sponsors

Herff Jones

Innovator sponsors

Liberty Mutual

Gold sponsors

Desert Financial

Maroon sponsor


Pitchfork sponsors

Bell Bank
Benefits By Design
JE Dunn Construction
Mirabella at ASU
The Philanthropy Outsource
Valley Metro

Award Sponsors

ABIC (Susan Udall)
Dircks Moving and Logistics
Chad Kolodisner

Traditions Fund donors

Chris Hill
Rick Nakazawa
Michelle and Fred Reish
Kristen and Ira Rotenberg
Andrew Vandertoorn
Christine and Don Wilkinson
Work in Sports

*Sponsors as of 3/3/2021