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I had the honor of welcoming thousands of ASU graduates and their families and friends to our university commencement ceremonies to confer their new degrees.
These celebrations are special opportunities to acknowledge our 7,700 new and talented alumni and the collective efforts of the faculty members, loved ones, staff and mentors who contributed to the achievement of these milestone moments. Rather than focusing on graduation as a bittersweet ending, I ask our graduates to grasp the excitement of the limitless possibilities that lie ahead.
With only a few minutes to convey my congratulations and best wishes for their future success, my remarks this year reminded our departing students to reflect on the privilege inherent with their degrees and the responsibilities that come with it. I also urged them to be bold and to take big risks for the purpose of making a difference in the world. They have worked hard to acquire knowledge and hone their skills, and now is the time to apply that to creating positive change.
I invite you to visit the link below to see the many ways we commemorate our graduates.
During graduation week, we also announced that the Thunderbird School of Global Management will be moving from its current location in Glendale to the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Thunderbird CEO and Director General Allen Morrison joined me to share this exciting news.
Thunderbird has a long and prestigious history. We are excited to continue its evolution by advancing an elite graduate school model that draws students from around the world and that is housed in a vibrant metropolitan city, with all of the opportunities and amenities that offers.
Although Thunderbird’s footprint will change, its faculty and curriculum will remain intact, with some expansion to include new executive education programs and specialty master’s programs. The Thunderbird brand will stay connected to the West Valley with the continuation of its undergraduate program on the ASU West campus.
ASU Enterprise Partners, a separate not-for-profit organization, has initiated discussions with Glendale officials regarding the creation of a new master plan for the site of the original Thunderbird campus.
I traveled to Washington, DC recently to participate in the National Competitiveness Forum hosted by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. I have served as the organization’s University Vice Chairman since 2013, and was on-hand for the announcement of its 2017 Clarion Call report on the state of U.S. competitiveness, and to help launch the Council’s National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness.
While the Council remains optimistic regarding America’s economic status, it highlights significant concerns related to the cultivation of American talent, lagging research investment, technology manufacturing and infrastructure investment. The Council offers federal policymakers recommendations for addressing these issues – such as enhancing support for lifelong learning, implementing technology to prevent cyberattacks, and expanding trade agreements – but believes that the federal government does not bear sole responsibility to enhance American competitiveness and prosperity.
To that end, the Council has completed a two-year collaboration with the National Science Foundation, which serves as the basis for its new initiative, the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness. The Commission aims to capitalize on our nation’s tradition of pioneering ingenuity and entrepreneurship to evolve new, groundbreaking frontiers of U.S. innovation. Only by working across organizations and industries can we achieve the progress needed.
As ASU continues looking for new and better ways to improve personalized learning with the help of leading-edge learning technology, I am often invited to discuss our efforts and progress in this space. Last month, I visited Beijing, China in fulfillment of such an opportunity offered by the Global Education Summit. Hosted by our partners at GSV, GES 2017 convened hundreds of education and corporate leaders from across China to explore the future of education technology.
During my plenary session, I shared ASU’s evolution as a driver of American higher education innovation. I focused heavily on our progressive integration of varied tech teaching and learning tools for the purpose of diversifying the ways we can teach a subject and how students can master a topic in the manner that best suits their learning style. It was enlightening to share this with a whole new audience, especially one that has not yet embraced broad online learning, and to discuss how ASU’s commitments to access and tech-enabled learning are intertwined.
Among other highlights of my visit were a special visit with graduates of our W. P. Carey Shanghai Executive MBA program and learning that President Barack Obama mentioned ASU as an innovation leader during his remarks at GES 2017.