ASU Alumni — Founders’ Day

Nancy Gonzales, PhD — Faculty Research Achievement Award

Founders’ Day is Arizona State University’s signature event in recognition of the university founders, leaders of the effort to create an institution that has become the nation’s largest public research university and holds the unique distinction of being ranked №1 in innovation for three consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. Founders’ Day showcases ASU faculty, alumni and philanthropists who embody the pioneering spirit of those who helped establish the university, and exemplify how the university continues to evolve into a New American University, an educational institution that advances research, champions discovery of public value and assumes fundamental responsibility for the communities it serves.

Arizona State University annually celebrates the vision and contributions of the founders of the institution. This signature event has taken place since 1964 and is a tradition known as Founders’ Day. 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 Founders’ Day.

Founders’ Day is celebrated each year in February or March to coincide with the first day of classroom instruction at the original Territorial Normal School at Tempe on Feb. 8, 1886.

Nancy Gonzales, PhD

ASU Foundation Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

ASU Foundation Professor Nancy Gonzales, a 1984 graduate of ASU (BS, psychology), is the 2018 recipient of the Founders’ Day Faculty Research Achievement Award.

In tandem with large teams of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and research scientists, Professor Gonzales’ work views culture in a broad and multi-dimension fashion, spanning biological to broader community levels of influence. An award-winning clinical psychologist, she is recognized for her ability to explore and explain when, how and why some students are more successful in their educational endeavors than others, and what society might do to help.

The value of her work, says Patrick Kenney, ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean and Foundation Professor, is its ability to be translated from basic, theoretically motivated and empirically rigorous research findings to outcomes improving the lives of young people as they grapple with their educational experiences and other challenges in life. As evidence of the value of her discovery, findings demonstrate that young people working with her programs in Arizona have fewer problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse and are more likely to stay in school, and these insights are now being transported to other locations in California, North Carolina and Nicaragua.

“Her research resonates directly with the twin pillars of access and excellence of the New American University,” says Dean Kenney. “She is striving to improve the college-going rate of many students of color, not only in Arizona but across the nation, and she is driven by the excellence in her own research. Her work represents the epitome of locating the intersection between top‐tier scholarship and its applicability to people’s everyday lives.”

Learn more about Founders’ Day here.

Official Medium account of ASU. № 1 in innovation. Top 10 of all universities worldwide for U.S. patents awarded. Find more ASU news at

Official Medium account of ASU. № 1 in innovation. Top 10 of all universities worldwide for U.S. patents awarded. Find more ASU news at