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In 1989, student protests triggered by incidents of discrimination prompted ASU to create a Campus Environment Team devoted to promot¬ing diversity. Professor A. Wade Smith, chair of ASU’s department of sociol¬ogy, stepped up to chair the committee, developing a reputa¬tion as a tireless ad¬vocate for improving race relations.
When he died of cancer at the age of 43, Smith’s family and friends secured his legacy by endow¬ing a gift to establish the A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture, an annual event that brings to campus some of the coun¬try’s foremost voices on race relations and civil rights.
Speakers have included Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, author of “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which chronicles the migration of 6 million African Americans out of the American South.
Darin Shebesta recalls the motto coined by Wil¬liam Polk Carey, benefactor and namesake of ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business: “Doing good while doing well.” The tagline is included in all his emails, and guides the philanthropic life he leads with his wife, Tiffany House.
Both are financial planners who pas¬sionately advocate for their profession – and for ASU. Shebesta (‘06) was just 29 when he drafted a will and decided to reserve a portion of his assets for the business school in what is commonly known as an estate plan. “I started learning the different strategies and concepts and thinking, if I’m speak¬ing to clients about this, I should be doing this myself,” he says. Inspired to edu¬cate the next gener¬ation, Shebesta and House’s gift will sup¬port scholarships for students interested in pursuing a similar career.
“It’s never too early to start thinking about your legacy,” he says.
“What are you going to do about it?”
That question haunted Jude LaCa¬va, a longtime Valley sportscaster, ever since his mother, Dorothy, died of breast cancer when he was a teenager.
LaCava, his sister, Sandy, and his wife, Jill, decided to make a difference in the fight against cancer by establishing a foundation that brings people together in the field of cancer re¬search, facilitating the sharing of information and supporting effec¬tive treatments.
The Dorothy Foun¬dation has become an advocate for the ASU Biodesign Insti¬tute, channeling more than $100,000 to support the institute’s cancer research.
A mom and avid cy¬clist, Trisalyn Nelson is passionate about creating safe condi¬tions for cyclists. Nelson, director of ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, founded BikeMaps. org, which gathers crowd-sourced data to identify hot spots of cycling safety and risk.
According to Bike¬Maps, only 30 per¬cent of bike collision data is collected. BikeMaps uses infor-mation contributed by citizens to map bicycling safety con¬cerns, analyze data to determine factors that influence safety, and help cities im¬prove decision-mak¬ing. State Farm recently provided a grant to BikeMaps to promote its work.
In August, the City of Tempe recognized Nelson’s work with its 2019 Bike Hero award.