Crow joins groundbreaking for ASU Poly-LDS Institute
ASU President Michael M. Crow and dignitaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turned gold shovels this week in a symbolic groundbreaking for a new 24,000-square-foot LDS Institute building on ASU’s Polytechnic campus in the East Valley.
An unusually rainy day moved the ceremony indoors to the Student Union where a packed room was welcomed by the church’s Elder Neil L. Andersen, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He introduced Crow, who noted that the integration of academic teaching and religious teaching on the 600-acre Polytechnic campus in southeast Mesa helps to advance a complete set of knowledge.
“We don’t focus on the spiritual education or spiritual development of the person,” Crow said. “We work with groups such as this church to advance this institute so we can provide in one environment the complete and total education that we think a person needs to have.”
Calling ASU “our friend,” Andersen asked the group to share photos of the event with LDS members and youth.
“There is every bit of an advantage, and maybe more, to stay and go to Arizona State as it would be to go off to some of those universities in that barren country of Utah,” he joked. “Many of you have known Dr. Crow for many years. We are thankful to him. He has been a friend since he came to ASU and very inclusive of us.”
The new ASU Polytechnic campus-LDS Institute will be located on the northwest corner of Innovation Way North and South Sterling Avenue. The facility includes a chapel for worship services, a large cultural hall for activities and sports, classrooms for religious instruction and offices. The first phase of construction, scheduled to begin by year end, involves demolition of some existing structures on the parcel. Project completion is expected in mid-2015.
The 2,500 LDS Institutes worldwide provide opportunities for religious instruction, community service, social interaction and leadership training for single and married students. Approximately 350,000 students are currently enrolled globally. The institute at Polytechnic will serve students from the Polytechnic campus, Chandler-Gilbert Community College and ASU Preparatory High School, located on the Polytechnic campus. Visitors/students from the surrounding community also will be welcome.
Other dignitaries taking part in the groundbreaking included Ira A. Fulton, namesake of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and founder and owner of Fulton Homes, Inc. (The university’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is named for his wife.) Also grabbing a shovel were Mayor John Lewis of Gilbert and Mayor Gail Barney of Queen Creek, along with a number of state legislators and East Valley elected officials. Emcee for the event was Roc Arnett, long-time East Valley leader and founding CEO of East Valley Partnership.
The ASU Polytechnic campus is home to programs in aviation, business, education, engineering, math, science and technology, and is complemented by arts, humanities and social sciences curricula. As a polytechnic-focused campus, its emphasis is on professional and technical programs that prepare students in a hands-on, project- and team-based learning environment. Students can earn ASU bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in an environment characterized by intimate class sizes, an integrated curriculum and accessible faculty.