Sun Devil Athletics Celebrates Student-Athletes, Scholarship Endowment Success

Sun Devil Athletics Sun Devil Club Endowment

Sun Devil Athletics and the Sun Devil Club celebrated the impact of scholarship support at its annual Scholarship Endowment Dinner on April 19.

The event recognizes the successes, both in competition and in the classroom, of all 600-plus student-athletes, including the many student-athletes who are recipients of endowed scholarships.

Nearly $3.5M have been raised toward athletics scholarship endowments since July 1, 2017, including the establishment of 19 new athletics scholarships and the addition of planned gifts to four existing athletics scholarships. In the 2017 fiscal year, the return on the Arizona State University endowment was 12.8 percent and the total endowment reached a value of $665 million.

Overall, there are more than 150 athletics scholarship endowments supporting student-athletes across 16 of our 26 sports.

“Endowments present a powerful way for supporters of the university and athletics to build a perpetual source of funding that will have a resounding impact each and every year, while also allowing you to create an everlasting connection to what you are truly passionate about,” said Mike Olsen, Sun Devil Club Executive Board Member and Chair of the Sun Angel Endowment Match Program Committee. “The return on the investment – for the donor, the student and their respective team, the department and university, and the community – is incredible.”

The Scholarship Endowment Dinner on April 19 included supporters who have established athletics scholarship endowments, as well as other top supporters, and coaches and student-athletes from nearly all of Sun Devil Athletics’ 26 programs. Attendees had the opportunity to tour the Watts Center for Academic Excellence and Championship Life followed by dinner and a program in the Founders’ Club on the west side of Sun Devil Stadium.

Three student-athletes, including women’s basketball’s Courtney Ekmark, baseball’s Hunter Bishop, and wrestling’s Zahid Valenica, spoke at the event about the importance of their scholarship, their respective journeys to becoming student-athletes, and how a dedicated community helps them achieve their goals and dreams. 

“Scholarship support and scholarship endowments are the backbone of our department and the lifeline of the Sun Devil Club,” said Scott Nelson, Senior Associate Athletics Director and Executive Director of the Sun Devil Club, during the event on April 19. “As we saw earlier this evening with the Watts Center for Academic Success and Championship Life, and as we sit here now in a reinvented Sun Devil Stadium that will soon be a world-class 365-day-use community union, facilities are extremely important in our ability to provide a first-class student-athlete experience. But we are not defined by bricks and mortar and our fundraising efforts do not stop there. The student-athletes seated with you tonight are a testament to the positive power of scholarships.”

Endowments can be established with a minimum gift or pledge of $25,000, which may be fulfilled over a period of up to five years or through a planned gift. Funds can also be added to an existing endowment with no minimum contribution amount.

For more information on how to establish or contribute to an athletics scholarship endowment, please contact Julie Miller, Director of Major Gifts for the Sun Devil Club, at 480-727-2825 or


Jul 16 2019
For the 650-plus young men and women competing in ASU’s 26 NCAA varsity sports, Sun Devil Club support is the foundation for their collegiate experience, which is unlike any other in the nation.Wendy and Michael Miller are passionate Sun Devil fans with a deep connection to the university and community. They currently live in Mesa, Arizona, and Michael is a two-time ASU graduate.
Apr 30 2019
More than $4M have been raised toward athletics scholarship endowments since July 1, 2017, including more than $620,000 in fiscal year 2019 through the establishment of 21 new athletics scholarships and increased contributions by 10 individuals to pre-existing endowments. 

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