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Founders' Day

This year marked the 60th anniversary of Founders' Day! Learn more about the event and our honorees below.

Founders' Day, a rich tradition

Every February or March, Arizona State University celebrates Founders' Day, commemorating the first day of classroom instruction at the original Territorial Normal School in Tempe on Feb. 8, 1886. 

Founders’ Day is ASU’s signature event honoring the changemakers whose pioneering achievements and visionary philanthropy have shaped ASU’s spirit of excellence and innovation. It's a time to learn more about the breakthrough research, philanthropy and community work that is driving the future of ASU and the world, to honor the university's growth from humble beginnings to the model of a New American University. Every year, we celebrate some of the ASU alumni, faculty and staff who have contributed to this success. You can learn more about this year's honorees as you scroll down the page. 

See pictures from Founders' Day 2024

2024 honorees

Founders' Day 2023

In front of a record-breaking crowd of nearly 980 community leaders, business executives and Arizona State University alumni on March 2, the 2023 Founders’ Day Awards program honored ASU alumni, faculty members and benefactors for their distinguished achievements.

Founders’ Day 2023 celebrated seven honorees who exemplify the spirit of ASU’s founders and the university charter. Among them were the first female director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an alum whose medical device has helped thousands of infants survive jaundice, and a faculty member who led the conversion of ASU’s Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory into a COVID-19 testing facility that administered more than 1 million tests.


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.

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.

Past Award Recipients


It takes many partners to support Founders’ Day and we are grateful for each of our Founders’ Day sponsors!

Sustaining Sponsors

Premier Sponsors

Dinner Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Maroon Sponsors


  • Aliento
  • Anasazi Investment Group, Inc.
  • Andrew Cohn
  • Architekton
  • ASU Career and Professional Development Services
  • ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
  • ASU Educational Outreach and Student Services
  • ASU Foundation
  • ASU Knowledge Enterprises
  • ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
  • ASU New College
  • ASU President’s Club
  • ASU Provost Office
  • ASU Sr. VP and Secretary of the University
  • ASU The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • ASU W.P. Carey School of Business
  • Atmosphere Commercial Interiors/ Steelcase
  • Barbara Dickerson
  • Barrett, The Honors College at ASU
  • Benefits by Design / Chris Hill
  • Biodesign Institute at ASU
  • CASA Unlimited Enterprises
  • CHASSE Building Team
  • Dircks Moving & Logistics
  • Duffy Group
  • Ferran Garcia-Pichel
  • Intel
  • Kitchell Corporation
  • Lagunitas
  • Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Mark Kerrigan
  • McCarthy
  • Opus Group
  • Pat Tillman Veteran Center
  • Phoenix Business Journal
  • Southwest Gas
  • Sun Devil Athletics
  • Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
  • The Valley College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • ViaWest Group
  • Wespac