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David Kopay, former NFL player, gay advocate to speak in downtown Phoenix


ASU officials say that former NFL player David Kopay has had to cancel his lecture on “Sports and Homosexuality,” tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 21, at Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix. Kopay told ASU he had an urgent private matter arise and could not travel to Phoenix.

[Source: ASU News]

David Kopay, one of the first openly gay American professional athletes in team sports, is coming to ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus to discuss sports and homosexuality.

The former running back played 10 seasons in the National Football League and shook the sports world in 1975 when he publicly announced to a national newspaper that he was gay.

Kopay’s “Sports and Homosexuality” is the subject of the second fall 2010 Humanities Lecture Series, co-sponsored by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association (NLGJA) student chapter at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communications. His lecture takes place at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 21, at the  Cronkite School, 555 N. Central Ave., First Amendment Forum, Phoenix.

This year’s lecture series examines human issues related to sports, and is free and open to the public.

“When I came out as a gay man, I was confronting bigotry, the silence, and the hatred directed towards gay men and women,” Kopay said in a 2009 speech. “Gay men had always been considered weak and silly and equated with women as being something less. Sure, hatred still exists, but there is a huge difference now. Hatred, dominance and brutality are no longer considered fashionable, celebrated or tolerated. Hopefully more people will continue to embrace change and diversity.”

Kopay grew up in Southern California and entered the University of Washington from 1961 to 1964; he completed his degree in history in 1966. Kopay was named All-American his senior year as well as Rose Bowl co-captain. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 1964, and eventually played for Detroit, New Orleans, Green Bay and Washington, where he played under coaching legend Vince Lombardi.

After Kopay retired from football, he wanted to coach professionally, but said he believes his sexual orientation might have prevented him from getting a job in the NFL. Kopay eventually went to work for his uncle’s business, Linoleum City, a leading supplier of flooring to the motion picture and television industries in Hollywood.

His 1977 autobiography, “The David Kopay Story,” stayed on the New York Times’ best-seller list for 10 weeks, and for the first time let readers into the world of professional football athletes, their sexual exploits, and the homophobia that forced Kopay to stay in the closet during his playing days in the NFL. That same year Kopay championed rights for gays in front of Congress, the National Bar Association in 1979, and the American Association of Pediatrics in 1980.

Since Kopay retired, only two other former NFL Players have come out: Roy Simmons in 1992 and Esera Tuaolo in 2002. Kopay has been credited with inspiring these athletes to be more open about their sexual orientation.

Kopay became a Gay Games Ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games in July 2006 and a year later announced a testamentary pledge of $1 million – nearly half of his estate – to the University of Washington’s Q Center, a resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The Q Center’s mission is to create an inclusive and celebratory environment for people of all sexual orientations.

“David Kopay’s story is important for students to hear because it builds awareness for those not familiar with gay issues,” said Anthony Dewitt, NGLJA student chapter president. “By hearing Kopay’s story, my hope is that students can make informed judgments about LGBT citizens and realize we are just like anyone else. We feel this is a wonderful opportunity for all students, especially those in journalism, to be exposed to other voices they might not otherwise get a chance to listen to.”

October 21, 2010
6:30 p.m.

Admission is free. For directions, visit

For information on parking, visit

For more information, call (602) 496-0638 or visit

Eight/KAET-TV moves to downtown Phoenix

[Source: Arizona State University] — Another major step was taken in the partnership between ASU and the City of Phoenix with the arrival of Eight/KAET-TV.  Eight relocated its television signal to the all-new digital media center at Fillmore and Central in downtown Phoenix, after nearly 50 years at the ASU Tempe campus.  The final move in December was a culmination of more than two years of planning, fundraising, equipment acquisitions, installation, and staff training.

The station’s signature public affairs programs “Horizon” and “Horizonte” began broadcasting from the new location last month.  “Horizon” airs at 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and “Horizonte” airs at 7:30 p.m., each Thursday.

“Eight’s beginnings were humble, to say the least,” said Kelly McCullough, Eight’s general manager.  “The first broadcast facility was a trailer on the Tempe campus at Arizona State University.  We are now stewards of a state-of-the-art facility thanks to the support of the City of Phoenix, ASU and the many contributors to the Campaign for Arizona PBS.”

Eight’s content reaches far beyond the television signal.  The award-winning programs chronicle the state’s history, culture, and landmarks, and offer special insight into the diverse communities.  Eight’s public affairs shows encourage civic engagement with discussion and commentary from Arizona lawmakers and business leaders.  And the Eight’s educational outreach projects offer instruction to students and professional development to educators throughout the state.

Why downtown Phoenix ISN’T scary

[Source: Janesa Hilliard, State Press Magazine] — When Andres Cano decided to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism he knew he would be required to live on the Downtown Campus — a move he was excited about making.  “I didn’t fear living or being downtown because it’s such a lively atmosphere,” says Cano, a freshman from Tucson.  “Safety should not be a concern… I think a huge part is the amount of activity going on downtown because of sports and concerts.”

The shift in tone among the freshmen student body is one of anticipation rather than apprehension about what Downtown Phoenix has to offer.  The biggest obstacle the city faces in its second year of full-scale operation is promoting an urban atmosphere, not security concern, a feeling that resonates with both students and ASU Downtown Campus police.  The campus has many opportunities to advance the understanding of community – and safety by extension – as the student body increases, says Commander Richard Wilson of the ASU Police Department’s Downtown Bureau.

Non-profit leadership and management student Samuel Richard agrees.  Richard, a third-year student and downtown Phoenix native, says that downtown’s stigma of being a crime haven is the result of misguided perceptions that trace by to the 1980s.  “Downtown Phoenix is not a geography, it’s a lifestyle,” Richard says.  “Downtown is unpredictable, [the] opposite of a conformed, suburban lifestyle.  This is where it’s exciting.”

Still, Richard says getting the public to see this side of downtown is difficult. People may come downtown to watch a ballgame or check out First Friday, but they don’t stay down here or indulge in any of the businesses. Few people reside within the confines of downtown proper because of an unwariness of the area, due in large part to the homeless population.  [Note: Read the full article at Why downtown Phoenix ISN’T scary.]

Death of Walter Cronkite hits home for Arizona

Walter Cronkite at 2007 groundbreaking for downtown Phoenix ASU j-school.

[Source: Boston Herald, Associated Press] — The death of legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite on Friday hit close to home for students and professors at Arizona State University’s journalism school, which was named in honor of “the most trusted man in America.”

Cronkite died at age 92 at his home in New York with his family by his side after a long illness, said his longtime chief of staff, Marlene Adler.  She said the cause of death was cerebral vascular disease.  Cronkite became a staple in American homes from 1962 to 1981, when stories ranged from the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to racial and anti-war riots, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.

ASU’s journalism school was named in his honor in 1984 after the owner of the CBS affiliate in Phoenix contacted Cronkite to help the program. “He put ASU journalism on the map,” Cronkite school Dean Christopher Callahan said.  “One of the things we tell students is if you can meet the values of Walter Cronkite-style journalism — accuracy, objectivity, fairness, and thoroughness in your reporting — you’re going to be pretty great.”

Cronkite was very much “Uncle Walter” to students at the school, which he visited at least once a year until recently to present the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism to successful and prominent members of the news media.  After the awards ceremony, students would crowd around Cronkite, who always obliged by signing autographs and shaking their hands.  [Note: Read the full article at Death of Walter Cronkite hits home for Arizona]

Viewpoint: Dark Knight, bright day for downtown Phoenix

dark-knight-poster[Source: Life in Downtown Phoenix blog] — On a perfect April night last week, you could see things all starting to come together for downtown Phoenix.   On the surface, it was merely a couple hundred people taking in a free movie in a park.  But when put in perspective, the screening of The Dark Knight put on by ASU students for a class project was a huge moment that illustrated how far downtown Phoenix has come.

The movie screen was in the center of a juxtaposition of downtown Phoenix’s old and new.  The screen sat in front of the newly-restored 1926 A.E. England Building, flanked on its left by the “Her Secret is Patience” sculpture (also referred to by many more colloquially as the “Jellyfish”) and on the right by the very bright lights of the new Central Park East high rise.  Moviegoers were pleasantly distracted by the light rail trains that both in front and behind them as well as the news zipper scrolling along on the ASU journalism building.  And of course, beneath the movie patrons was the brand-new Downtown Phoenix Civic Space, a 2.77-acre gem of a park that just opened.

An even more positive sign was the crowd that came to watch the movie.  Not only did the turnout exceed expectations (with minimal publicity, organizers expected 60-75 attendees and then at least 250 showed up), but it was a crazy blend of people: old and young, all races, ASU students, high-rise condo dwellers, and homeless people. And as far as I could tell, everyone enjoyed themselves.

I’ve been critical of ASU in the past.  Its administrators descended on downtown and acted like they owned the place — let’s not forget they wanted to tear down the A.E. England Building they’re now patting themselves on the back for saving — and at first its students publicly bashed their new environment instead of trying to go out and change it for the better.  However, on this night ASU’s students had a very positive effect on downtown with their ingenious, well-run program to activate the new park.  This event showed the promise the university’s presence can have for downtown.

wallejpgAs the event ended, people were overheard saying what a great event it was, how they couldn’t believe it took place downtown, and how they’d be back (WALL-E will run this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.). Hopefully this is the start of a new tradition that can take its place alongside First Fridays and Suns games as a constant in downtown life.  But even if it doesn’t, it was enough to illustrate to everyone there that there is at last a burgeoning urban center in the giant megalopolis.

Apparently, while no one was looking, downtown Phoenix came to life.

ASU students delve into history of Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix

lion[Source: Rebekah Parsons, Arizona State University] — Graduate students at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication developed a comprehensive podcast on the history of downtown Phoenix’s Westward Ho Hotel — its architecture, tunnels (yes tunnels!), broadcast tower, celebrities (yes celebrities!) — and the people who live there today.  Click here to view.

Mall-inspired fast food joints open at ASU downtown Phoenix campus


ASU downtown Phoenix campus graduates 730 students, Dec. 18

null[Source: Arizona State University] — About 5,000 ASU students will receive a holiday present next week, as they take home their degrees from ASU’s commencement Dec. 18.  The ceremony will take place beginning at 10 a.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.  On hand to receive their degrees will be about 730 graduates from the downtown Phoenix campus — including 267 nurses — and about 965 from the West campus, plus another 520 from the Polytechnic campus and 3,000 from Tempe.

Individual colleges and schools also will have their own smaller convocation ceremonies, including the following colleges and schools located in downtown Phoenix:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

  • 2 PM ~ College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, Phoenix Convention Center

Thursday, December 18, 2008

  • 4:30 PM ~ Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Phoenix Convention Center
  • 5 PM ~ College of Public Programs, Orpheum Theatre

ASU journalism school in downtown Phoenix to serve as election night center

Cartogram of the 2004 U.S. election results (area adjusted for population size).

Starting at 5 p.m. on November 4, 2008, the new home of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix will serve as an election night hub, with top analysts providing commentary, students, and community members watching the returns in the First Amendment Forum and advanced students producing three hours of live TV election coverage. “The new Cronkite School building was designed for major public events — and there’s no more important and exciting event than a presidential election,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “We will have students, faculty, political leaders, and community members all together sharing in this historic night.”

Leading political and media analysts from Arizona State University will be available to provide expert commentary to local, national and international media covering the elections. The experts who will be available for interviews throughout the night include:

  • Craig Allen, associate professor of journalism. Expertise: Campaign ads; historical trends in presidential elections.
  • Aaron Brown, former CNN news anchor and the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism. Expertise: Presidential elections; media coverage.
  • Robert B. Denhardt, Director of the School of Public Affairs and Lincoln Professor of Leadership and Ethics. Expertise: Leadership and presidential politics.
  • Steve Elliott, former Associated Press Phoenix bureau chief and director of Cronkite News Service. Expertise: State and local races; state referendum issues.
  • Andrew Leckey, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. Expertise: Impact of economy on campaigns and elections.
  • Kelly McDonald, assistant professor in School of Letters and Sciences. Expertise: Presidential debates; national politics.
  • Bruce Merrill, director of the Cronkite-Eight poll and one of the leading experts on Arizona politics. Expertise: National elections; Arizona politics; polling.
  • Rick Rodriguez, Carnegie Professor of Journalism. Expertise: National politics; the Latino vote.

“Having all of these experts in one place will provide easy access for reporters seeking to help put election night results into perspective for readers and viewers,” said Callahan, a former political correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Cronkite NewsWatch will provide three hours of live election night coverage. The coverage, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., can be seen on KAET 8.3 (Cox Cable 88), ASU-TV (Cox Cable 116), Tempe 11, and Mesa 11. More than 70 Cronkite students and faculty will be providing live coverage from Republican and Democratic headquarters in Phoenix and the national McCain-Palin headquarters. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix dorms deter ASU dropout dilemma?

David Wallace/The Arizona Republic, Students at downtown campus[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — This week, hundreds of downtown Phoenix students will kick back in Arizona State University’s latest weapon to prevent college dropouts: new dorms.

ASU is trying to lift the university’s 78 percent freshman-retention rate to 90 percent, said Debra Friedman, vice president of the downtown Phoenix campus.

The battle to keep students, especially freshman, is being waged in some form on all ASU campuses. On Wednesday, students began moving into Taylor Place, a $150 million dorm complex at 120 E. Taylor St. in downtown Phoenix.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]