There was no shortage of changes for the nation and Arizona State University in 2017. In a year that celebrated the 15th anniversary of the New American University, the faculty, staff and students have made advancements in many fields of research, formed new partnerships and found innovative ways to help the communities they serve.

Here are some of the top stories of 2017.


ASU researchers and scientists were busy this year, with new findings in many fields, including tuberculosis testing, the effects of divorce and autism treatment. Not to mention a thumbs-up on a NASA mission.

ASU to lead deep-space NASA mission for 1st time

To start the year, ASU’s Psyche Mission was selected for flight, marking the first time the school will lead a deep-space NASA mission and the first time scientists will be able to see what is believed to be a planetary core.

Gut microbe study shows promise

A team led by ASU researchers took a novel approach in the search for effective autism treatments by focusing on improving the gut microbiome through fecal microbial transplants — and early results were promising.

Dad time benefits kids of divorce

Some psychologists worried that if children frequently spend the night at their father’s home, it might disturb the relationship with their mother. ASU research showed that children of divorce benefit from having time with each parent.

Led by ASU’s Tony Hu, eight research groups are harnessing the new field of nanomedicine to improve worldwide tuberculosis control. Hu is an associate professor in ASU’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and the Biodesign Institute’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

ASU-led team develops test to rapidly diagnose TB

A group of maverick scientists from Arizona, Texas and Washington, D.C., teamed up to develop the first rapid blood test to diagnose and quantitate the severity of active tuberculosis cases.

To work or not to work: Mom’s happiness rests on what she wants

ASU research showed that among well-educated moms, when employment status is aligned with her preference, well-being soars.

Scientist Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering and the lead author of the Florence Statement, a declaration signed by more than 200 scientists and medical professionals that laid out a convincing case against triclosan and triclocarban, has long contended these two antimicrobials are often ineffective and, further, pose significant risks to human health and the environment.

ASU scientist scores major victory with FDA

A ban on personal-care products containing prominent antimicrobials that went into effect in September was a direct result of Rolf Halden’s research.

ASU experts put gluten-free diet under the microscope

In an effort to understand the gluten-free phenomenon, ASU Now spoke with three ASU professors about its nutritional value, the food industry’s take and the psychology behind its popularity.


From the 15th anniversary of the New American University to a startup idea for easier parking around campus, the faculty, staff and students at ASU sought out ways to better their world.

New ASU school aims to elevate political discourse

ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership launched in March, and director Paul Carrese hopes it will help restore the ancient notion that strong leaders and civil discourse are necessary in public affairs.

ASU research uncovers early detection technique for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer kills 80 percent of those diagnosed within a year, but according to a 2017 study an ASU researcher has devised an early detection technique that could help improve those odds.

ASU researcher finds ways to reduce stress in shelter dogs

Lisa Gunter, a doctoral candidate studying behavioral neuroscience, found that shelter dogs benefit from sleepover programs like the one offered at at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

ASU aviation chair on why the heat might affect your travel plans

Why can’t some planes fly when it’s scorching? ASU Now talked to Marc O’Brien, chair of Arizona State University’s aviation program, after more than 40 flights out of Phoenix were canceled in June.

Mayo Clinic School of Medicine welcomes 1st cohort of students

The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine welcomed 50 students in Scottsdale in July. The curriculum will include a focus on the science of health care delivery jointly developed by experts at both Mayo Clinic and ASU.

ASU students’ startup AirGarage to relieve parking distress

With many major universities nationwide charging $500 or more a year for parking, two students at ASU created a company to alleviate stress associated with finding affordable parking options near campus.

ASU President Michael M. Crow with freshman Medallion Scholar Trey Leveque.

The velocity of change

Fifteen years ago, Michael M. Crow brought his idea of the New American University to ASU. Neither naysayers nor the Great Recession could derail his vision, and he has no plans to slow down anytime soon. Here’s a look at how he got here.


The creative juices were flowing for ASU in 2017: 3-D printing classes, a film production employing students on the Tempe campus and a movie star’s ceramics show are just a sampling.

AZLoop team places among top at hyperloop competition

AZLoop — a team made up of students from ASU, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and NAU — finished in the top eight out of 35 teams in August at the second hyperloop competition sponsored by SpaceX.

ASU professor’s ‘Border’ poem part of U2 tour

Fans attending shows on U2’s Joshua Tree Tour 2017 got a little taste of Arizona: ASU Regents’ Professor Alberto Rios’ poem “The Border: A Double Sonnet” was projected on giant video screens during pre-show segments.

An ASU water experiment to remember

Bring eight people together for a month in an almost-abandoned hamlet in the middle of the Mojave desert, restrict them to four gallons of water per day each, and see what happens. That was the project, a hybrid science-art experiment with ASU students.

ASU debuts Franco brothers’ art exhibit

A new exhibition by actor James Franco and his brother, sculptor Tom Franco, debuted in June at the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center. “Pipe Brothers: Tom and James Franco” consisted of nine carved and painted ceramic sewer pipes.

Finding resilience is a lifelong journey

What practices and strategies help people overcome adversity? The ASU community explored that question in a variety of ways in 2017.

ASU Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate, standing with fused deposition modeling polymer printers, is teaching three additive manufacturing courses on the Polytechnic campus, preparing engineering students for careers that involve industrial or aerospace-grade 3-D printing.

Building tomorrow: 3 things to know about 3-D printing

Additive manufacturing is becoming a hot job market, and ASU courses are answering the call. “We are at the start of something exciting,” said Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate.

Behind-the-scenes “Rhea” shoot photos by Jamie Ell/ASU

Students land key jobs for sci-fi thriller shot at ASU

“Rhea,” a futuristic sci-fi production from Arizona filmmaker Robert Conway, marked the first outside film production to involve the participation of ASU students in key production roles.


ASU’s entrepreneurial spirit got a shot in the arm in 2017 from some big-name campus visitors, high-profile appearances for Arizona-based inventors and a heck of a lot of patents.

Steve Wozniak tells ASU students to create something they ‘desperately want’

The Apple co-founder and PC pioneer visited the Tempe campus in February and shared secrets of success — among them: “Motivation is more important than knowledge.”

ASU-developed app seeks to improve medical diagnosis

Founded by ASU alums Robert Yao and Neel Mehta, EpiFinder uses machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to help ensure more accurate diagnoses and treatments.

ASU climbs 8 spots in global patent ranking

ASU gained in the rankings of U.S. patents granted to universities worldwide, moving up to 30th from 38th, according to news released in June. Sixty-two patents helped ASU outpace universities including Duke and Yale.

HEALab to offer entrepreneurial services

ASU’s reputation of supporting entrepreneurial endeavors extended to budding health-care professionals in September with the soft launch of HEALab on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban tells ASU students: ‘Aspire to be you’

Cuban visited ASU in October and talked about how learning about business in college gave him a leg up, and he encouraged students to make as much of an impact as possible.

Sun Devils in Silicon Valley

From a poet coder to a culture conductor, ASU alumni shared what it takes to get to startup mecca and how to flourish there.

ASU-based entrepreneurs take a trip to the ‘Shark Tank’

Maria Luna and Hector Rodriguez, who invented a payment and tipping app called Bravo and whose business is based at ASU, scored a $150,000 investment on a November episode of TV show “Shark Tank.”

Global engagement

Partnerships with China, work in developing countries and a slew of international scholars — both home and abroad — led ASU’s contributions to the world stage in 2017.

ASU is top public university in US for international students

For the third year in a row, ASU hosted more international students than any other public university in the country, according to a report released in November by an international education nonprofit.

ASU a top producer of Fulbright winners

ASU ranked among the top for prestigious Fulbright award winners, with six faculty members and 15 students abroad in 2017. The Fulbright is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

ASU professor wins prize for SolarSPELL innovation

Laura Hosman’s solar-powered digital library brings educational opportunities to remote, off-grid communities. Her innovative device was awarded one of the inaugural PLuS Alliance Prizes in September.

Rice was the first African-American woman to serve as secretary of State.

Condoleezza Rice encourages students to be the solution

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the Barrett Distinguished Global Leader Series in October, sharing her advice and encouraging students to find their passion and act on it.

ASU forging partnerships with China to speed global innovation

An entrepreneurial “boot camp,” a tourism college in Hainan and a master’s degree program in three countries are among the newest initiatives that ASU has forged in China. Cultural exchange is another vital aspect.

Fulbright Day highlights elite league

ASU has a Marshall, Rhodes and, for the first time, Churchill Scholar — and is one of only four schools to achieve that distinction for 2017. The others are Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago.

Arizona impact

Students, faculty and administrators were deeply entrenched in Arizona-centric projects this year, including launching a program to shore up numbers of Arizona K-12 teachers, designing a shadier bus stop shelter for Valley Metro and optimizing the use of the Salt River bed.

ASU students have it made in the shade

Phoenix will install 400 bus stops using the design of seniors Ethan Fancher, Dan Duquette, Derek Smoker and sophomore Erlend Meling — all industrial design majors in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

New online school integrates high school, university courses

The ASU Prep Digital High School will integrate the Cambridge International Curriculum in an innovative program that can accelerate the path to a high school degree. Read about one rural Arizona school’s experience.

Gary K. Herberger, ASU patron, dies at 79

Herberger, one of Arizona State University’s most generous supporters, died Feb. 28. He was 79. Herberger was an architect as well as a businessman and philanthropist whose family donated more than $40 million to ASU.

Crow calls for ‘new abolitionists’

ASU President Michael M. Crow told a group of Valley faith leaders there are many lessons that can be taken from the tragedy of Charlottesville and displays of hate and racism — mostly that positive action can change history.

Arizona Teachers Academy announced

ASU is offering a scholarship to boost the number of teachers in Arizona’s K-12 classrooms as a response to Gov. Doug Ducey’s call for the state’s public universities to help ease the critical teacher shortage.

ASU graduate programs rank among nation’s best

Two of ASU’s largest graduate programs showed big improvement in U.S. News & World Report rankings in March: the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and the W. P. Carey School of Business full-time MBA program.

ASU, McCain team up to transform Phoenix riverbed

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and ASU gave a preview in August of a new effort to transform the entire Salt River bottom into an urban and environmental amenity, aiming to engage the creativity of the university community.

Sun Devil life

It was an eventful 2017 for past and present Sun Devils alike: an innovative new residence hall opened its doors, a magazine for Native American students launched and ASU football mourned one legend and enshrined another.

Enshrining a legend

A gleaming bronze statue of Pat Tillman — who played football at ASU before sacrificing his life as an Army Ranger — was unveiled in August in a ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium attended by the Tillman family, ASU leaders and football players.

ASU journalism students get in on Final Four action

In March, more than 50 students from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication covered games, created content for social media channels and assisted with Final Four-related show operations.

Howard Schultz speaks to ASU’s newest grads

At May’s Undergraduate Commencement, members of ASU’s Class of 2017 were encouraged by the Starbucks executive to go beyond what they learned in the classroom to create the future that they want. ‘Entrepreneur’ dubbed his commencement speech one of 2017’s most inspiring.

Tooker House brings engineering education home

Everything about Tooker House, a brand-new 1,600-student community that opened in August, is designed to enhance and extend what engineering students learn in classrooms and labs.

‘Hamilton’ actor speaks about passion at ASU West

Tony Award-winning actor Leslie Odom Jr., Broadway’s original Aaron Burr, spoke at ASU’s West campus in October about the creation of “Hamilton” and his observations of the process. His talk was part of the annual Summer Community Read.

ASU initiatives help Native students reach a ‘Turning Point’

A first-of-its-kind magazine geared specifically for Native American students and written by an all-indigenous staff found its way into the hands of ASU’s Native student population in November.

Remembering Sun Devil legend Frank Kush

Frank Kush, Arizona State University and College Football Hall of Fame inductee and the winningest coach in Sun Devil football history, died June 22 at age 88.

ASU news

ASU was in the headlines this year for some grade-A excitement: a record number of incoming Arizona freshmen, a global partnership with adidas, another school making its way downtown, and a threepeat in innovation rankings.

ASU announces $1.5 billion comprehensive campaign

Arizona State University announced in January it is embarking on Campaign ASU 2020, a strategic effort that will focus the entire university’s development energies on one goal — to permanently raise the long-term fundraising capacity of the university.

ASU, adidas announce partnership

The strategic partnership is aimed at shaping the future of sport and amplifying sport’s positive impact on society. It will bring together education, athletics, research and innovation to explore various topics through the lens of sport.

ASU welcomes record number of Arizona freshmen

For the fifth year in a row, ASU is enrolling more freshmen from Arizona than the year prior, the fruit of the university’s continued commitment to help educate the state it serves. Take a look at ASU Move In weekend.

ASU selected as nation’s most innovative school

U.S. News and World Report selected ASU as the nation’s most innovative school for the third year in a row. The selection is based on a survey of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the country.

‘Transformational’ former ASU provost dies

Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips, the energetic, purpose-driven and passionate educator who served as ASU’s provost and executive vice president during a time of explosive growth for the university, died Sept. 23 , Florida. She was 72.

New Student Pavilion serves as central hub

ASU’s brand-new Student Pavilion is located at the center of student activity and student traffic, and plans are for it to host a variety of shows, productions and guest lecturers, in addition to providing classroom and office space.

New sustainable home opens for Herberger scholars

The Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy opened in November on the ASU West campus. The state-of-the-art educational facility provides a sustainable, open and inviting space for Herberger Academy students.

ASU announces move of Thunderbird

ASU announced in December the relocation of the iconic Thunderbird School of Global Management’s graduate programs and the Thunderbird Executive Education program to the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Sights and sounds of ASU

Photos of the year from ASU Now photographers Charlie Leight and Deanna Dent and top 2017 video stories from Ken Fagan.

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