Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) incorporates four campuses located across the Phoenix metro area. As one of the largest public universities in the country, ASU’s official enrollment was over 80,000 in 2018! The students and faculty of the university spread their energy and vitality throughout the community.
Classified as a research facility, the university offers over 350 degrees to undergraduates and 400 graduate and certificate programs. The 17 colleges spread throughout the four campuses and four regional learning centers, and each campus focuses on specific areas of study and has a unique atmosphere from the other campuses. A system of shuttles and a light rail provide ease of travel between the campuses.
The university’s research and grad school center are bustling with people and activity. This urban campus is centered in downtown Tempe and is enveloped by the Arizona State University Tempe Arboretum. This is the largest ASU campus and the original campus. This campus houses all of ASU’s athletic facilities, and it is also home to the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Tempe Marketplace – the destination for shopping, dining and nightlife in Tempe – acts as a border for the campus to the north.
The Polytechnic campus focuses on professional and technological programs and occupies what was Williams Air Force Base, in Mesa, Arizona.
Urban and public programs (such as nursing, criminal justice and journalism) are located in the Downtown Phoenix campus. This campus has a very urban feel with its new academic buildings mixed in with the city’s commercial and retail buildings. Established in 2006, this campus combines new modern buildings with renovated buildings like the old Post Office which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law was recently relocated to this campus.
The West campus, located in a suburban area of Phoenix, is dedicated to interdisciplinary degrees and the liberal arts, and is almost completely powered by solar energy. ASU also has a strong on-line program, and a small undergraduate college in Lake Havasu City helps meet the needs for less expensive higher education.
ASU takes its commitment to the academics of sustainability seriously. Wind turbines and solar photovoltaic installations are spread across all campuses, as are recycling and composting areas. And in 2007, Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability was the first school to offer degrees in sustainability.
ASU has produced some pretty famous alumni over the years. Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Kimmel, Nick Nolte, Lynda Carter, Linda Ronstadt, and Kate Spade. Famous athletes include Phil Mickelson, Pat Tillman (Silver Star recipient), Barry Bonds, James Harden, Brock Osweiler and Terrell Suggs.
For architectural buffs, we’ve already mentioned the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium. In addition, the Arizona State University Tempe Art Museum at Fine Arts Center was designed by Antoine Predock.
The ASU Art Museum houses over 12,000 items and is well-known as a contemporary art mecca. The museum focuses on contemporary art, crafts (with an emphasis on post-WWII ceramics), prints (contemporary and historic, American and European), and Southwest Art (with an emphasis on Latino artists). The Ceramics Research Center at Brickyard houses their impressive ceramics collection – a must-see for any ceramics enthusiast. Visit their website for additional information.
The Arboretum surrounding the Tempe Campus offers guided tours, enabling visitors and students alike to learn more about the hundreds of native and arid-adapted trees from around the world. Several of the older trees are now designated as “Great Trees of Arizona”.
The “A” Mountain – Tempe Butte – is home to the famous “A” and its Sun Devil Stadium. The short, steep Tempe Butte hike is popular with students, locals and visitors alike.
Downtown Tempe and the Mill Avenue District are both close by and offer a variety of choices of large shops, small boutiques, restaurants and bars and activities. You can take a foodie tour of one of the local brew pubs and distilleries. You can paddleboard, kayak or raft on the many lakes and rivers in the area including popular Canyon Lake and the Snake River.