ASU’s Gammage Auditorium, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, became president of ASU, a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years. Like his predecessor, Gammage oversaw construction of a number of buildings on the Tempe campus. He also oversaw the development of the university, graduate programs. The school’s name was changed to Arizona State College in 1945, and finally to Arizona State University in 1958. At the time, two other names considered were Tempe University and State University at Tempe.
By the 1960s, with the presidency of G. Homer Durham, the 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 campus, and rising enrollment.
Example of a new academic village, taken at Barrett, The Honors College on the Tempe Campus
Under the leadership of Lattie F. Coor, president from 1990 to 2002, ASU grew through the creation of the Polytechnic campus and extended education sites. Increased commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development occurred over his 12-year tenure. Part of Coor’s legacy to the university was a successful fundraising campaign: through private donations, more than $500 million was invested in areas that would significantly impact the future of ASU. Among the campaign’s achievements were the naming and endowing of Barrett, The Honors College, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.
ASU’s Biodesign Institute on Tempe campus
In 2002, Michael M. Crow became the university’s 16th president. At his inauguration, he outlined his vision for transforming ASU into a “New American University” — one that would be open and inclusive, and set a goal for the university to meet Association of American Universities criteria and to become a member. Crow initiated the idea of transforming ASU into “One university in many places” — a single institution comprising several campuses, sharing students, faculty, staff and accreditation. Subsequent reorganizations combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced staff and administration as the university expanded its West and Polytechnic campuses. ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus was also expanded, with several colleges and schools relocating there. The university established learning centers throughout the state, including the ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City and programs in Thatcher, Yuma, and Tucson. Students at these centers can choose from several ASU degree and certificate programs.
During Crow’s tenure, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, ASU began a years-long research facility capital building effort, resulting in the establishment of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and several large interdisciplinary research buildings. Along with the research facilities, the university faculty was expanded, including the addition of three Nobel Laureates. Since 2002 the university’s research expenditures have tripled and more than 1.5 million square feet of space has been added to the university’s research facilities.
The economic downturn that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Arizona, resulting in large cuts to ASU’s budget. In response to these cuts, ASU capped enrollment, closed down about four dozen academic programs, combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced university faculty, staff and administrators; however, with an economic recovery underway in 2011, the university continued its campaign to expand the West and Polytechnic Campuses, and establishing a set of low-cost, teaching-focused extension campuses in Lake Havasu City and Payson, Arizona.
The Arizona Board of Regents appoints and elects the president of the university, who is considered the chief executive officer and the chief budget officer of the institution. The president is responsible for the execution of measures enacted by the Board of Regents, controls the property of the university, and acts as the official representative of the university to the Board of Regents. The chief executive officer is assisted through the administration of the institution by the provost, vice presidents, deans, faculty, directors, department chairs, and other officers. The president also selects and appoints administrative officers and general counsels. The 16th and current ASU president is Michael M. Crow, who has served since July 1, 2002.
Campuses and locations
ASU’s academic programs are spread across campuses in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area; however, unlike most multi-campus institutions, ASU describes itself as “one university in many places,” inferring that there is “not a system with separate campuses, and not one main campus with branch campuses.” The university considers each campus “distinctive” and academically focused on certain aspects of the overall university mission. The Tempe Campus is the university’s research and graduate school center. Undergraduate studies on the Tempe campus are research-based programs designed to prepare students for graduate school, professional school, or employment. The Polytechnic campus is designed with an emphasis on professional and technological programs for direct workforce preparation. The Polytechnic campus is the location of many of the university’s simulators and laboratories dedicated for project-based learning. The West campus is focused on interdisciplinary degrees and the liberal arts, while maintaining professional programs with a direct impact on the community and society. The Downtown Campus focuses on direct urban and public programs such as nursing, public policy, criminal justice, mass communication, and journalism. ASU recently relocated some nursing and health related programs to its new ASU-Mayo Medical School Campus. Inter-campus shuttles and light rail allow students and faculty to easily travel between the campuses. In addition to the physical campuses, ASU’s “virtual campus”, housed at the university’s SkySong Innovation Center, provides online and extended education.
On the Quad of the Tempe Campus with Old Main