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Updates from the President

Updates from President Crow: February 10, 2021

  • ASU ends 2020 strong, launches 2021 with record enrollment
  • New American Film School renamed for film legend, Sidney Poitier
  • Helping Arizona to lead in the New Economy
  • Student innovators win XPRIZE with groundbreaking mask design

ASU students walking on the Tempe campus

Students return to the Arizona State University Tempe campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo Credit: Charlie Leight, ASU Now)

ASU ended 2020 strong and launched 2021 with record enrollment

We are four weeks into the spring 2021 semester at Arizona State Universityand we are moving ahead at full speed. Despite the many challenges posed in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, ASU finished the old year strong and began the new one with a record spring enrollment of 122,000 students (more than spring 2020), and a steady count of on-campus, full-immersion students from throughout Arizona. That was accompanied by significant increases in first-time students, including graduate and transfer learners.

In addition to ASU’s consistent educational quality and value, our ongoing COVID-19 management strategy has kept the spread of the virus on our campuses below community rates, and our three learning modalities have provided students with heightened safety, service and flexibility. It is heartening to see so many students and their families recognize our comprehensive efforts and choose to join our ASU community. We appreciate the confidence placed in our university and we will continue working diligently to meet the needs of our fast-growing Sun Devil family.

Sidney Poiter: Honoring a legend

On January 25, ASU hosted a special announcement of the Sidney Poitier New American Film School. (Image credit: Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts)

New American Film School renamed for film legend, Sidney Poitier

2021 is an exciting opportunity to make new ASU history and new memories. Two weeks ago, we were thrilled to announce the renaming of our New American Film school in honor of legendary actor, director and ambassador, Sidney Poitier.

Our university is a microcosm of the world and our film school, like all our programs, strives to reflect the full spectrum of talent, beauty and creativity in society. All learners, artists, storytellers and creative visionaries need access to leading-edge opportunities to gain knowledge and skill. As our film program moves into a new frontier of innovation, it means a great deal to have a trailblazing namesake whose life’s work demonstrates a commitment to excellence, inclusiveness and social impact that resonates with our university.

We are deeply honored by this affiliation and the opportunity to add to the legacy of a national treasure and international icon through the Sidney Poitier New American Film School and its graduates. This is an exciting new chapter in ASU history and I invite you to enjoy the video below of our celebration, which includes some very special remarks by the Poitier family.

ASU student and professor working on an engineering project

The Arizona Board of Regents has proposed a plan to ensure that ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering are prepared to meet future workforce needs. (Image credit: ASU Now)  

Helping Arizona to lead in the New Economy

At ASU, we are always looking for new ways to move our university and the communities we serve forward. While Arizona’s established industries have unquestionably evolved one of the fastest growing states in the nation, what else can be done to advance a more resilient and multi-faceted economy? On top of its challenges, the pandemic rapidly focused our attention and made clear that technology and innovation will play major roles in how our future unfolds.

As we continue to navigate the short-term management of COVID-19, our state also has a valuable opportunity to imagine and begin building the long-term economic future we would like to have. Health care, energy, manufacturing, information technology, and business services are all fast-growing sectors of vast potential for Arizona. They rely on skilled and adaptable engineering and technology graduates who are prepared for the fast-moving, 21st century workforce.

Recognizing that Arizona’s universities will play a major part in diversifying and fortifying our regional economy, the Arizona Board of Regents is continuing to advance its New Economy Initiative in order to ensure that the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (FSE) at ASU is ready to meet the needs of our state’s future workforce.The initiative calls for a $46 million investment in Arizona’s economic growth that directs $10 million to the expansion of FSE’s world-class faculty; $10 million to the establishment of five Science and Technology Centers in industries related to energy, human performance, extreme environments, advanced manufacturing, and future communications technologies; and $26 million for faculty, classroom space, learning programs, and student support services.

I recently discussed this bold effort and its importance with the Arizona Capitol Times, and I hope you will take a few minutes to learn more and consider how we might work together to support Arizona’s success.

Next Gen Mask ASU Luminosity Lab Team

A student team from ASU’s Luminosity Lab designed a new anti-fogging face mask that won $550,000 in the XPRIZE competition. (Image Credit: ASU Luminosity Lab)

Student innovators win XPRIZE with groundbreaking mask design

The million-dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Challenge asked young innovators worldwide to redesign face masks that limit the spread of COVID-19 while enhancing their comfort, efficiency and affordability. A select team of students from ASU’s Luminosity Lab took up the test and created a winning, anti-fogging mask against nearly 1,000 other teams. Three teams total emerged victorious and the Luminosity team won half of the total $1 million prize.

The Luminosity Lab is a unique, transdisciplinary research and development lab driven by a group of high-performing ASU students. Students from the lab also rapidly realized the personal protective equipment (PPE) network that helped to provide critical safety gear to Arizona communities during COVID-19. The team is an excellent example of the incredible talent and creativity our students possess, and why we work to provide every opportunity possible to advance and realize their ideas.