Founders' Day

At ASU’s signature event, distinguished faculty, alumni and philanthropists receive awards commemorating their service to the ASU community and the world at large. Founders’ Day 2020 commemorated these individuals whose groundbreaking research, unparalleled success and visionary philanthropy is at the core of the nation’s fastest-growing research enterprise and the recognized No. 1 school for innovation in the U.S.

Devoney Looser, PhD

Faculty Research Achievement Award

ASU Foundation Professor of English; Guggenheim Fellow; National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar; author of a Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book, Nonfiction.

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James P. Collins, PhD

Faculty Service Achievement Award

Virginia M. Ullman professor of natural history and the environment, School of Life Sciences, Henry S. Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Distinguished Faculty Award and Gary KrahenBuhl Difference Maker Award, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the Association for Women in Science, past president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

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Richard Herrera, PhD

Faculty Teaching Achievement Award

Associate professor, Department of Political Science; Department of Political Science Distinguished Teaching Award; School of Politics and Global Studies Outstanding Teaching Award.

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Anthony Robles

’11 BIS interdisciplinary studies

Young Alumni Achievement Award

NCAA Wrestling Champion, author, motivational speaker 2011, Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.

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Karrin Taylor Robson

’88 BA political science, ’88 BA history, ‘94 JD

Alumni Achievement Award

Founder and president, Arizona Strategies; Arizona Board of Regents secretary of the board, chair of the Finance, Capital and Resources committee and member of the Audit Committee and Academic Affairs and Educational Attainment Committee.

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Annette and Leo Beus

Philanthropist of the Year Award

Annette and Leo Beus are longtime supporters of ASU, generating a lasting impact through a series of philanthropic investments.  They have enriched a range of units and programs through their generosity, including research, student scholarships, service groups, a teaching award and an endowed chair, and Sun Devil Athletics.

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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

Make Founders’ Day your day!

Carry out the Founders' Day mission in 2021. Become a sponsor!

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2020 Founders' Day Sponsors

Sustaining sponsor – $25,000

American Campus

Premier sponsors – $15,000

Herf Jones
Wells Fargo

Dinner sponsors – $8,000

Phoenix Business Journal
Liberty Mutual

Gold sponsors – $6,000

Desert Financial
R B C Capital Markets
Sun Devil Campus Stores

Maroon sponsors – $4,000


Annette and Leo Beus

Atmosphere Commercial Interiors



Maricopa Community Colleges

Michelle and Fred Reish

The Opus Group

Pitchfork sponsors

Anton Sports

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Diamondbacks

ASU Knowledge Enterprise

ASU Office of the Senior Vice President and Secretary of the University

Benefits by Design

The Biodesign Institute

Christine and Don Wilkinson

Christophel & Hagan


Diane and Gary Tooker

Dircks Moving & Logistics

Gregg and Tracy Brewster

Hospice of the Valley

Kitchell & hardison/downey

Mark Kerrigan

Mayo Clinic

Mirabella at ASU


Nationwide Insurance

One AZ Credit Union

Optima Consulting LLC

Pro Copy Office Solutions



Shamrock Foods Company

SmithGroup JJR

Southwest Gas


Sundt Construction

Tiffany and Bosco


Valley Metro

Award sponsors

Arrow Stage Lines

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Dots Seats

Sparky sponsors

Dunn Transportation/Ollie the Trolley

Eddie DeVall

Goodman’s Interior Structures


Los Angeles ASU Alumni Chapter

Phoenix Children's Hospital