ASU Gammage Auditorium

History and milestones

On Feb. 8, 1886 — almost 30 years before Arizona was granted statehood — the Territorial Normal School, Arizona’s first higher education institution, opened its doors to 33 students in a four-classroom building in Tempe.

From humble beginnings, and through a series of name changes that led to a 1958 vote of the people and a 2-to-1 margin of victory for the advancement of Arizona State College to Arizona State University, ASU’s century-plus trajectory has led to its being recognized as the “most innovative” university in the country by U.S. News & World Report — six years in a row.

University milestones timeline

The history of Arizona State University is rich, bold and vibrant. The timeline below reflects an honored tradition of excellence and inclusion while also celebrating the growth and development forged to meet – and make – the future.

Jump to:

1885-1950: Becoming a university

1951-2001: 50 years of innovation

2002-Present: New American University

To move forward or backward in the timeline, you can do any of the following:
  • Drag the scrollbar handle (the white arrow below) to the left or right.
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  • Territorial Normal School

    Territorial Normal School established

    ASU’s predecessor is created in 1885 by the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature to train teachers and teach agriculture and mechanical arts. Today, Arizona State University offers high-quality, nationally and internationally recognized programs on five metro Phoenix campuses, the Colleges at Lake Havasu and at learning centers across the state.

  • Old Main Building

    Old Main dedicated, brings electricity to Tempe

    Constructed before Arizona achieved statehood, Old Main is dedicated on Feb. 4, and is the first building in the township of Tempe to be wired for electricity. Today, Old Main is headquarters for the ASU Alumni Association — home to a half-million ASU graduates who have positively impacted our global community.

  • Teddy Roosevelt visiting ASU

    Roughriders, one and all

    President Theodore Roosevelt speaks at Tempe Normal School: “It is a pleasure to see such buildings, and it is an omen of good augury for the future of the state to realize that a premium is being put upon the best type of educational work. Moreover, I have a special feeling for this institution, for seven of the men of my regiment came from it."

  • People from the Department of Commerce

    ASU launches business career services

    The Department of Commerce first appears in the 1916 course catalog. The commercial employment bureau was specifically created by the Department of Commerce, and was the first unit within ASU to offer career services outside of teaching.

  • Arizona State Teachers College personnel

    First graduate degree offered

    Arizona State Teachers College offers its first graduate degree, a master’s in education. Today, ASU's nationally ranked Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is a leader in teacher education, excelling at both teacher preparation and academic research while creating knowledge, mobilizing people and taking action to improve education.

  • Personnel from Arizona State College

    Arizona State Teachers College becomes Arizona State College

    ASC earns authorization to grant bachelor’s degrees. Today, ASU offers more than 350 undergraduate degrees and 400-plus graduate degrees across 17 colleges and schools and ASU Online.

  • Student Placement office in Bureau of Business Services

    Business school launches Bureau of Business Services

    The Arizona State College BBS offers students an at-the-time rare venue for real-world, hands-on experience. Today, more than 53 percent of ASU students complete at least one internship before graduating.

  • Voters with ASU signs

    The people’s choice — Arizona State University

    A measure placed on the ballot by citizen initiative recognizes the longstanding efforts to advance the fast-growing college. The measure — Prop 200 — is passed by the state’s voters by a 2-to-1 margin and results in the college’s new moniker: Arizona State University.

  • Students and Faculty in the School of Engineering

    School of Engineering is created

    The School of Engineering is launched and the first engineering class graduates. Today, the nationally recognized Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is home to leading world-class research centers, including two National Science Foundation-funded Engineering Research Centers.

  • Television studio

    PBS station KAET-8 launches from ASU

    KAET-TV launches at ASU, offering educational programming directed at students attending the university. Today, with studios located at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, more than 80 percent of Arizonans receive the Emmy Award-winning KAET signal, among the most-viewed public television outlets per capita in the country.

  • Person studying a meteor

    Center for Meteorite Studies founded at ASU

    ASU purchases the Nininger Meteorite Collection, keeping it in the U.S., and launches the Center for Meteorite Studies. Today, the collection is the largest of its kind in the world.

  • ASU West

    ASU West campus established

    ASU West campus is established by Arizona Legislature as the university’s second campus. Located on the western edge of Phoenix, bordering the city of Glendale, today the West campus is home to the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees across six colleges, and is designated a “Phoenix Point of Pride.”

  • 1987 Rosebowl

    Sun Devils 22, Michigan 15

    The 7th-ranked football Sun Devils beat the Michigan Wolverines in the 1987 Rose Bowl, the first of two ASU appearances in “The Granddaddy of Them All.” Today, Sun Devil Athletics boasts 26 NCAA varsity sports, third-most in the Pac-12 Conference.

  • Barrett opening

    America's first residential honors college

    University Honors College at ASU is the first of its kind in the U.S. In 2005, Reader’s Digest ranks Barrett, The Honors College as No. 1 in the U.S. In 2014, The New York Times recognizes it as “the gold standard” among the country’s honors programs.

  • Phil Mickelson

    Unprecedented in golf

    The ASU men’s and women’s golf teams win their respective NCAA championships. Led by Phil Mickelson and Missy Farr, respectively, the teams’ same-year title achievement is unprecedented in college golf still today.

  • Newspaper article about ASU research

    ASU gains Research I status

    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies ASU as a Research I institution. Says ASU President Lattie Coor: “No university in the country has come further, faster than ASU.” Today, ASU is recognized by the National Science Foundation as the fastest-growing research university in the U.S., ahead of Harvard, Yale, Duke and others.

  • Air Force plane on display

    ASU Polytechnic campus established

    Founded as ASU East, the Polytechnic campus today offers degree programs in interdisciplinary sciences, engineering, management, technology and education, and is home to ASU’s aviation programs, including a state-of-the-art flight simulator.

  • Lucy skeleton

    Institute of Human Origins comes to ASU

    Recognized as an international leader in the field of paleoanthropology, the Institute of Human Origins moves to ASU, led by “Lucy” discoverer Donald Johanson. Today, the institute is one of the preeminent research organizations in the world, devoted to the science of human origins.

  • Michael Crow

    New American University launched

    Michael M. Crow becomes the university’s 16th president and unveils his vision for a “New American University.” Since 2002, ASU has established more than a dozen new transdisciplinary schools and launched large-scale research initiatives and innovative programs in the humanities and social sciences. During Crow’s tenure, ASU has nearly quadrupled research expenditures and completed an unprecedented infrastructure expansion.

  • Mayo Clinic exterior

    Partnership with Mayo Clinic established

    ASU and Mayo Clinic partner in the advancement of medical research and education to improve health care delivery. Among the first initiatives: the ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation-Mayo Clinic Campus program, allowing cohorts of senior nursing students to complete clinical training on the Mayo campus, instructed by Mayo Clinic nursing faculty.

  • Biodesign Institute exterior

    Biodesign Institute a U.S. first

    The ASU Biodesign Institute launches as the country’s first interdisciplinary research institute entirely devoted to the principles of bio-inspired innovation. It is Arizona’s single-largest research infrastructure investment in the biosciences. Today, Biodesign Institute scientists have disclosed more than 500 inventions, resulting in more than 200 U.S. and international patent filings, 45 patents issued and a dozen startup ventures.

  • George W. Bush

    ASU hosts 'Super Bowl of Politics'

    Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is the site of the final presidential debate before the 2004 election, featuring nominees John Kerry and George W. Bush. Today, ASU Gammage, an architectural landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is one of the largest university-based presenters of performing arts in the world.

  • Solar panels

    ASU implements solar power

    An installation atop the Tyler Street Parking Structure on the Tempe campus marks the launch of solar energy generation at ASU. Today, solar energy at the university avoids more than 23,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide output, roughly the same as the annual emissions of 4,800 passenger vehicles.

  • Downtown Phoenix campus

    ASU-Phoenix partner on Downtown Phoenix campus

    ASU and the City of Phoenix announce a transformative partnership for the development of the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, which is approved by a 2-to-1 margin by the city’s voters. Opened for classes in 2006, today the campus offers degree programs across seven colleges and schools and is home to the Beus Center for Law and Society.

  • ASU School of Sustainability

    ASU School of Sustainability is first in U.S.

    The nation’s first comprehensive degree-granting school of sustainability is established at ASU. Today, as part of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the school offers 11 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees, certificate and minor programs, and has graduated nearly 1,000 sustainability master learners.

  • SkySong Innovation Center

    SkySong Innovation Center opens

    After two years of construction, a unique hub for innovation and technology opens — the ASU SkySong Scottsdale Innovation Center. Today, SkySong is a 42-acre, mixed-use development with more than 1.2 million square feet of space, a 21st-century center for innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurship and business development.

  • Barack Obama

    "ASU commitment is real success" — President Obama

    In what may have been the largest U.S. graduation in history, sitting U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the May ASU commencement address. “The commitment at an institution like ASU, which is diverse and gives opportunity to all, that’s the hallmark of real success,” he tells a crowd of more than 70,000. ASU announces the Obama Scholars program, an expansion of the university’s key student financial aid program. Today, more than $200 million has been invested in the program and nearly 2,500 Arizonans have graduated as Obama Scholars.

  • Curiosity rover

    'Curiosity' rover lands on Mars with ASU-developed instruments

    “Curiosity,” a car-sized, six-wheeled robot, touches down at Gale Crater on Mars. Professors, researchers and students from ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, as well as university alumni, are involved with several of the Rover’s instruments.

  • Paddleboarder on Lake Havasu

    ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City opens

    ASU creates its Colleges at Lake Havasu City to bring the university’s innovative approach to higher education to a location unserved by the state university system. Today, students at Havasu choose from more than 20 four-year undergraduate degree programs in high-demand career fields.

  • Thunderbird School of Global Management

    Thunderbird becomes part of ASU Knowledge Enterprise

    The internationally recognized Thunderbird School of Global Management becomes ASU’s fifth metro Phoenix campus, combining the strength of a global business-education powerhouse with the resources of the country’s most innovative university.

  • Faculty

    School for Future of Innovation in Society launches

    Founded by Michael M. Crow at Columbia University in 1999 and moved to ASU in 2004, the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes is the predecessor to ASU’s newest school, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, which launches in 2014.

  • Charles Arntzen

    Professor advances lifesaving Ebola drug


    ASU Regents Professor Charles Arntzen’s research helps advance the production and delivery of a promising treatment for the Ebola virus. For his innovative work — using specially modified tobacco plants that are harvested, ground up into a green liquid, purified and turned into tiny doses of the drug ZMapp — Arntzen is the No. 1 honoree among Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.”

  • CubeSat

    NASA picks ASU for moon mission

    CubeSat, a spacecraft the size of a shoebox, is chosen by NASA to orbit the moon and create a map of water-ice on its surface. CubeSat will be designed, built and operated at ASU, and the project is the third major space mission involvement for which NASA selected ASU in 2015.

  • Starbucks at ASU

    ASU partners with Starbucks, edX for unique degree offerings

    Groundbreaking ASU partnerships with Starbucks and edX create unique entry points to an undergraduate degree. ASU unites with edX to create the Global Freshman Academy, a collaboration offering first-year college-level courses for academic credit on the edX platform, dramatically increasing access to higher education for students around the world. With Starbucks, the partnership creates the College Achievement Plan, offering 100-percent tuition coverage for every eligible U.S. Starbucks employee, providing access to and opportunity at a world-class, discovery-oriented university.

  • Fulbright scholars

    ASU faculty, students dominate Fulbright awards

    ASU faculty earn the top spot among all U.S. universities, as 10 are awarded coveted Fulbright fellowships. ASU students rank No. 5 in the country for Fulbright scholarships, ahead of Columbia, Princeton, USC, Johns-Hopkins and others.

  • mosquito

    ASU researchers unveil low-cost test for Zika virus

    Hoping to foil Zika’s rapid advance, ASU researchers collaborate with the Wyss Institute in Boston to develop a $1-per-test diagnostic that can be administered anywhere in the world. The platform holds the potential to diagnose a broad range of infectious disease.

  • Top 10 for graduate employability

    A top university for graduate employability

    ASU earns top-10 recognition as a leading U.S. university for graduate employability, according to Global University Employability Survey 2016. ASU is designated as a “top-tier” recruiting university among the country’s top 50 corporations, joining peer institutions like MIT, UC Berkeley, Notre Dame, Purdue and others.

  • Nobel prizes

    Two Nobels join ASU faculty

    ASU adds a pair of Nobel laureates to its world-class faculty. Frank Wilczek and Sidney Altman are the fourth and fifth winners of the prestigious international award to become ASU faculty members, joining Leland Hartwell and Edward Prescott and the late Elinor Ostrom.

  • Sunset

    ASU tops U.S. News & World Report list of most innovative schools

    ASU is named the most innovative university in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. “Most innovative” is a new category for the widely touted set of annual rankings by the news magazine which compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans across the nation nominated up to 10 colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements to curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.

  • asteroid

    ASU selected for NASA deep-space mission

    ASU’s Psyche mission, a journey to a metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter marks the university’s first deep-space NASA Discovery Program mission and the first time scientists will be able to see what is believed to be a planetary core. Led by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, managing director of ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative, the Psyche mission is scheduled to launch in 2022 and arrive at the asteroid Psyche in 2026.

  • ASU graduates

    Campaign ASU 2020

    To accelerate the ASU mission and raise support for the university’s educational priorities, Campaign ASU 2020 is a comprehensive universitywide effort designed to fuel the innovation and solutions that will shape our future.

  • ASU West

    ASU opens young scholars academy

    The new home for the Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy at ASU’s West campus offers a state-of-the-art teaching, learning and discovery environment for highly gifted students in grades 7–12.

  • Researchers at a computer

    adidas-ASU Global Sport Alliance launches

    Combining ASU’s world-class resources with adidas’ global reach, the strategic partnership aims at shaping the future of sport and amplifying athletics’ positive impact on society. Bringing together education, athletics, research and innovation, the Global Sport Alliance will explore topics including diversity, race, sustainability and human potential, all through the lens of sport.

  • Businessperson

    Transforming cryptocurrency

    ASU launches an interdisciplinary initiative called the Blockchain Research Lab, the first of its kind in academia. The lab’s mission is to advance the research and development of blockchain-based technologies for use in business, finance, economics, mathematics, computer science and more.

  • Young woman assisting a man

    ASU scientists fight Alzheimer's

    An ASU team discovers a promising step in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by examining the effects of the illness decades before symptoms first appear. A debilitating condition that depletes brain cells of their primary energy source, Alzheimer’s currently affects cognitive functioning in 36 million people worldwide.

  • Person in business suit

    Sustainability leader

    ASU takes the next bold step to become the world leader in sustainability research and education. The newly founded Global Futures Initiative (currently the Global Futures Laboratory) harnesses the innovative capacity of academia to develop options for the sound management of our planet.

  • ASU Students

    ASU recognized nationally for 'Excellence in Diversity'

    The university wins the 2018 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in International Education Award for its unique program that helps first-generation college students overcome obstacles to studying abroad.

  • Illustration of robots

    Bots that battle cancer

    In a major advancement in nanomedicine, ASU scientists collaborate with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to create cancer-fighting nanobots that seek and destroy tumors. For his work, ASU researcher Hao Yan is later named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business of 2019.

  • ASU building in Washington D.C.

    ASU expands impact in nation's capital

    The Ambassador Barbara Barrett and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center opens, expanding ASU’s presence in Washington, D.C. Located in a historic building just two blocks from the White House, the 32,000-square-foot, eight-story center is the new home to various ASU programs such as the Cronkite News Washington Bureau, the McCain Institute for International Leadership, as well as other think tanks and research facilities.

  • Student with a VR headset

    Spearheading virtual learning

    With the help of Google and Labster partners, ASU launches first-in-the-U.S. virtual reality biology lab courses. Students are enrolled in cell and molecular biology, animal physiology and ecology courses.

  • Man kissing woman on forehead

    ASU Uber partnership

    Advancing inclusivity and accessibility in higher education, ASU and Uber form a partnership enabling drivers to achieve a degree in entrepreneurship and English language learning with 100% tuition coverage.

  • Illustration of a star

    'Starbirth' research top 10 'Breakthrough of the Year'

    When ASU physicists discover the first clues in the decades-long search for the nature of dark matter in the universe, they open a new window on how early stars — and later, black holes and galaxies — formed and evolved. Their research is highlighted in Physics World as one of its top 10 “Breakthroughs of the Year.”

  • A scientist

    Solar cell efficiency

    ASU researchers continue to break solar cell efficiency records in an effort to harness the sun’s energy more economically as a renewable source for electricity. The perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell created by ASU scientists in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has the potential to transform mainstream silicon technology and lower the cost of solar energy.

  • Mayo Clinic exterior

    Helping health care companies grow

    The Mayo Clinic-ASU MedTech Accelerator is established to help companies take their business to the next level. The program offers personalized business development plans to collaborate with Mayo Clinic and ASU, as well as accelerate go-to-market and investment opportunities.

  • Sun Devil Stadium

    Innovative new model for a sustainable stadium

    Given that most university stadiums cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and maintain, yet often are used less than 10 times a year, ASU reinvisions Sun Devil Stadium by transforming it into a cultural hub that’s used 365 days a year. The 365 Community Union features exciting programming, concerts, film festivals, restaurants and cultural activities.

  • Student with a camera

    PBS NewsHour West launches

    The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication becomes the only home of a national newscast embedded in a journalism school, creating more opportunities for student journalists’ work to air nationally.

  • Man with solar panels

    Addressing the global water crisis

    ASU Fulton Schools of Engineering professor Cody Friesen wins the 2019 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention by developing solar-powered technology that can generate drinking water from sunlight and air. The 2017 invention lays the foundation for Zero Mass Water, an ASU startup that provides clean drinking water in communities, refugee camps, government offices, hotels, hospitals, schools, restaurants and homes around the world. Friesen donates the prize to a Zero Mass Water project in Colombia.

  • Thunderbird School of Global Management

    ASU breaks ground on new Thunderbird headquarters

    The Thunderbird School of Global Management breaks ground on its new global headquarters on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus with an expected completion date of April 2021 — its 75th anniversary. Driving change on the world’s most critical challenges, Thunderbird joins the United Nation’s Global Compact Network USA as its official institutional and academic partner, an organization that creates a roadmap for companies to make a positive social and financial impact on a global scale.

  • MechanicalTree

    Combating climate change

    The MechanicalTree, invented by ASU Professor Klaus Lackner and his colleagues at the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions in 2017, is highlighted as a breakthrough by Popular Science: “A forest of 1,200 mechanical ‘trees,’ … is poised to pull more carbon dioxide out of the air than any human-made endeavor before it.” Lackner plans to produce MechanicalTree farms worldwide over the next decade.

  • Hayden library

    Hayden Library reinvented for the 21st century

    Reopening following a comprehensive renovation, Hayden Library’s five-story tower now features nearly double the student space, enhanced study areas, community driven book collections, two reading rooms, a variety of research services and interdisciplinary labs, and an entire floor devoted to innovation. The remodel advances a new vision of what an academic library can be at a time when demand for student space on campus continues to grow and knowledge is being created, accessed and shared with an ever-expanding set of tools. 

  • shovels

    ASU at Mesa City Center breaks ground

    ASU breaks ground on ASU at Mesa City Center, a state-of-the-art project that will jump-start the revitalization of downtown Mesa and train students in one of the biggest industries in the United States: media production. The three-story academic building, which is scheduled to open in spring 2022, will offer programs in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in digital and sensory technology, experiential design, gaming, media arts, film production, and entrepreneurial development and support.

  • Michael Crow and colleagues

    State Farm, ASU announce new learning initiative

    ASU prepares learners of all ages to succeed in a transformed workplace thanks to a $30 million gift from State Farm. The funding will drive the new State Farm Pathways for the Future workforce-development initiative providing new programs and scholarships to high school and community college students as well as adults in the workforce seeking to update their skills.

  • People in hardhats with shovels at groundbreaking event

    Downtown residence hall focuses on entrepreneurship and the arts

    ASU breaks ground on the Downtown Phoenix Residence Hall and Entrepreneurship Center, a 16-floor building at the southwest corner of Fillmore Street and First Avenue. The 283,000-square-foot project, expected to open in fall 2021, will house more than 500 students in the top 13 floors. The first three floors will offer academic space for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts programs in popular music, fashion and design.

  • A person teaching an online class

    ASU for You ensures continued learning opportunities

    ASU gathers a vast collection of its online resources onto a single platform called ASU for You to ensure learning continues throughout the COVID-10 pandemic and beyond.  ASU for You offers a wide array of content, much of it at no cost, for all learners — from elementary school students to adults — as well as resources for teachers and parents who are navigating teaching and learning at home

  • Scientists in the lab of Joshua LaBaer

    ASU develops state's first saliva-based COVID-19 test

    In an effort to make COVID-19 diagnostic testing easier and more readily available to Arizonans, researchers led by ASU Biodesign Institute Executive Director Joshua LaBaer, develop the state’s first saliva-based test. The saliva diagnostic test starts with a collection kit that is as simple as spitting into a screw-top tube through a straw, making collections possible at drive-thru sites, doctors' offices, the workplace, and even at home. 

  • People

    'To Be Welcoming' curriculum offers tools to counteract bias

    Free online courses, developed in 2018 by ASU for Starbucks, strive to foster empathy and understanding. Made available to the public at no cost by Starbucks, the interactive courses were created by ASU faculty experts to share research and information that can help people to think about how they view the world and to consider how other people experience it. 

  • Teacher in classroom with remote and present students

    ASU introduces fully interactive remote learning modality

    To create a seamless, socially responsible classroom experience for the fall 2020 semester, the university rolls out ASU Sync, a technology enhanced, fully interactive remote learning modality that provides in-person instruction for some students, while others interact virtually.  By reimagining the learning experience, ASU keeps students fully engaged wherever they are amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Mars rover

    ASU creates camera for Mars rover mission

    ASU is selected to develop the color panoramic zoom camera for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover Perseverance. Known as Mastcam-Z, the cameras will help scientists characterize the planet’s geology, pick out the best rocks for coring and caching and search for signs of ancient microbial life.

  • Remote call with many participants

    ASU outlines commitment to Black students, faculty, and staff

    In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the nation, ASU reaffirms its pledge to always pursue the highest levels of social inclusion and impact by committing to 25 courses of action to improve racial diversity and education on campus. These actions include increasing efforts to hire faculty of color, creating an advisory council on African American affairs and establishing plans to build a multicultural facility on campus. 

  • The earth from above at night

    ASU launches Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory

    ASU launches a laboratory dedicated to keeping our planet habitable and enhancing the options for future generations to thrive. The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory represents the next quantum leap in the evolution of ASU as one of the world’s premier centers for studies of sustainability, Earth’s life-supporting systems and the future of life on our planet. The laboratory aims to engage with speed and urgency to address the existential threats facing the planet and global society. 

  • Virtual landscape

    Dreamscape Immersive, ASU partner to bring virtual reality to learners worldwide

    ASU and Dreamscape Immersive, the world’s leading virtual reality company, team up to transform education through exploration. The partnership, Dreamscape Learn, merges the emotional power of storytelling with the nation’s leader in online and digitally enhanced education to deliver fully immersive VR learning systems to the ASU community and beyond.

  • Sidney Poitier

    Film school renamed after trailblazing actor and filmmaker Sidney Poitier

    ASU renames its film school after the first Black man to win the Academy Award for best actor, Hollywood icon Sidney Poitier. The move signifies the university’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity, according to ASU President Michael M. Crow. The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, with nearly 700 students, is one of five schools in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

  • Starbucks at ASU

    Starbucks, ASU partner on new research and rapid innovation facility

    Building on a long-standing partnership, Starbucks and ASU join forces to create the ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People and the Planet — a new research and rapid innovation facility created to find new ways to design, build and operate Starbucks stores. In the first year, the work will focus on initiatives such as greener stores, food and wellness, community betterment and innovation test stores.

  • Canals from above

    #1 university in the U.S. for global impact

    Times Higher Education magazine ranks ASU the No. 1 university in the U.S., ahead of MIT, UNC-Chapel Hill, Penn State and Purdue University, for global impact in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in research, outreach and stewardship in 2021. The ranking is driven by work on issues such as poverty and hunger, gender equality, clean water and air, climate change and providing quality education.

  • ASU Health Futures

    ASU Health Futures Center opens

    ASU’s new Health Futures Center, home of Mayo Clinic and ASU Alliance for Health Care, is the latest development in the nearly two-decades-long relationship between the nation’s most innovative university and the recognized world leader in patient care, medical education and research. The alliance brings the brightest minds together to accelerate cutting-edge research discoveries, improve patient care through innovation, and transform medical education to enhance health outcomes at individual, community and national levels.

  • Natalie Diaz

    Poet Natalie Diaz wins Pulitzer Prize

    Natalie Diaz, associate professor in the Department of English, wins the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection, “Postcolonial Love Poem.” The honor comes mere months after the MacArthur Fellow made history by becoming the youngest chancellor ever elected to the Academy of American Poets.

  • Coral reefs

    First global coral reef maps completed

    Using Earth-mapping technology, the team led by the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science identifies areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, and provides an estimate of the total amount of land area requiring protection to address biodiversity loss and climate change.

  • ASU buildings on Tempe campus

    #1 in sustainability

    Recognized as one of North America’s greenest colleges and universities, ASU ranks No. 1 on Sierra magazine's 15th annual "coolest schools" competitive ranking, ahead of UC Berkeley, Penn State, UCLA and Yale. This marks the first time the university attained this honor out of a record 328 institutions, rising from No. 4 previously, thanks to its comprehensive approach to sustainability that spans academia, campus operations, student life and endowment investments. 

  • VR landscape

    Most innovative in U.S. — 7 years in a row

    For seven years in a row, ASU tops the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings as the country’s “Most Innovative” university, based on a survey of top educators. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans point to ASU as making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. ASU has placed ahead of MIT and Stanford since the survey’s inception.

  • Solar panels

    ASU is one of two U.S. universities to achieve net zero emissions

    Times Higher Education recognizes ASU as one of only two universities in the U.S. — and one of 43 globally — to achieve net zero emissions. The ranking appears in THE’s new data-led report on higher education’s climate-neutral commitments, The Race to Net Zero, which shows how universities worldwide are lowering their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero. 

  • Scientists in a lab

    1 millionth COVID-19 test

    The university completes its 1 millionth COVID-19 test, a marker that commemorates the Biodesign Institute’s massive effort to marshal all its resources and respond to the pandemic statewide. ASU invented and developed enough tests to administer one to 1 in 7 Arizonans. 

  • Lucy explorer

    NASA Lucy Mission carries ASU instrument, namesake

    In October 2021, the Lucy Mission to the Trojan asteroids lifts off. It is named for the fossil discovered in 1974 by Donald Johanson, founding director of the Institute of Human Origins. On board is the ASU-led Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer. Watching the launch are STEM students nationwide who attended the ASU-led Lucy Mission L’SPACE Academy.

  • Spacecraft above earth

    ASU, Blue Origin to create business park in orbit

    ASU announces it is part of a team led by Blue Origin and Sierra Space to develop a commercial space station called Orbital Reef. The station will make its home in low-Earth orbit and offer the infrastructure to support new markets in space including research, manufacturing, travel, education and exploration.

  • Solar panels

    #2 in the U.S. in EPA Green Power Partnership

    ASU ranks No. 2 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 30 College & University Partners listing. 78% of ASU’s total electricity use is green power derived, helping to reduce the effects of air pollution and emissions while supporting the development of clean energy resources.