To follow the progression of Arizona State University from its beginnings in 1885 as a Territorial Normal School to its present stature as an internationally renowned research university is to take a fascinating journey. What stands out is the extraordinary effort made by key individuals such as its founder John Samuel Armstrong and the community and student involvement that pushed for building and expanding and developing and recognizing the growth and merit of this institution. With their efforts, the Normal School evolved into a Teachers College in 1925, into Arizona State College in 1945, and into Arizona State University in 1958. In 2002 it started its course of ongoing transformation as a New American University, envisioned by President Michael M. Crow at his inauguration.
Today, ASU holds the distinction of being the largest public university in the country, with 72,254 students and 2900 faculty members across four campuses. The University offers 458 major courses of study, 207 graduate degrees, and 136 undergraduate degrees. Students come from all 50 states and 150 foreign countries. A third of its undergraduates are from minority ethnic groups, half of whom are Hispanic. Even with this largeness the university maintains a faculty student ratio of 23 to one and four out of 10 classes have less than 20 students. In the U.S. News rankings of freshman retention rate as a measure of student satisfaction among 275 colleges, ASU fell in the middle at 82.2 percent.
The Tempe campus where the university originated is the largest of the four campuses with 59,794 students. It is located directly southeast of Phoenix, five miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Tempe is a youthful city where four out of 10 residents are young employed college grads. The hub of the city is Mill Street where students can shop, eat, relax, and enjoy a night life. The Tempe Towne Lake at the edge of the University is where music festivals are held and which provide kayaking and fishing and a trail circling the lake for jogging.
Besides the wide choices of courses and programs available at this university, there are 850 registered student organizations which will give every student an opportunity to be involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. ASU students and alumni are loyal fans of the Sun Devils football and baseball teams that compete in Division I of the NCAA. In the fierce competition with the Wildcats of the University of Arizona, they will make sure to have a huge showing at the Tucson games.
There are many unique and interesting things about ASU such as the presence of two Nobel Laureates on the faculty: Leland H. Hartwell, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Health, and W. Edward C. Prescott, Economics Professor in the W.P. Carey School of Business. The late Elinor Ostrom, also a Nobel Laureate, was a Research Professor and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity. A visitor to the campus on traditional celebration days such as Homecoming in the fall will be awed by the enthusiasm and energy generated by students and alumni. But the one site that puts into practice and expresses the visionary leadership of the university is the Global Institute of Sustainability. The Institute is housed in a building that had implemented every principle of sustainability, from wind turbines and solar panels on the roof to construction material and furniture made of recycled material, to an irrigation system that conserved water. Here, researchers, scientists and experts from vastly different disciplines interact and produce papers on every known issue that challenges urban development today and tomorrow. A perusal of the Sustainability Series will show where our world is heading.
ASU is not for everyone. When you read the student reviews, you find those that give it the minimum one-star rating saying they hated it and in essence found the largeness and the problems that come with that largeness added up to a negative experience. Then there are those that give it five-star ratings who say they have gained and grown so much over the four years. ASU is a college that is driven by a vision. It will keep adding and changing to meet new challenges in society with its vast manpower of both students and faculty. A student who is ready to face those challenges, to make choices in that huge diversity both academically and socially, will grow and thrive. These are the students whom President Obama addressed in the graduation ceremony of 2009 when he exhorted them "to find the greatness that lies within each of us."
Total undergraduate enrollment: 33985
Total institution enrollment: 44126
School type: 4-year public
School classification: Doctoral/Research Universities--Extensive: These institutions typically offer a wide range of baccalaureate programs, and they are committed to graduate education through the doctorate. They award 50 or more doctoral degrees per year across at least 15 Disciplines.
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
1001 S Mill Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Male undergraduate population: 48%
Female undergraduate population: 52%
Undergrad visible minorities: No Data
Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree