Welcome to the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Be the solution

Message from the Dean

Jonathan Koppell
Dean Jonathan Koppell

Dear friends, colleagues, students and supporters:

Today was a momentous day for our college.

During today’s Community Solutions Festival, ASU President Michael M. Crow joined me in announcing the historic renaming of our college, now known as the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions — capturing the legacy of longtime ASU supporters Cindy and Mike Watts, founders of Sunstate Equipment Co.

Working at the forefront of societal challenges and trends, the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions is uniquely positioned to advance Mike and Cindy Watts’ vision of communities transformed through a collaborative, hands-on approach to developing solutions. By creating new pathways for student success, we are creating the next generation of public service leaders who will guide that transformation.

Our record for getting things done preceded this investment. We demonstrate what a university can do by harnessing the power of our faculty and students. We can move the needle on pressing community problems, working with community partners every step of the way.

The Watts’ gift will embed students, faculty and staff in communities to tackle local challenges. Their $30 million investment — one of the largest in ASU’s history — demonstrates a continuation of their commitment to advancing the prosperity of Arizona neighborhoods, cities and the entire state.

So how will the gift be used? It will go towards furthering collaborative community solutions, increasing academic excellence and broadening student access and success.

This includes:

  • Innovative new programs, including a key initiative to revitalize the Maryvale neighborhood where the Watts grew up
  • Five endowed professorships to attract established scholars focused on community development, public policy, criminal justice and child well-being
  • Supporting student-driven programs, including:
  • Flexible funding for tuition and transformative experiences such as study abroad and internships, prioritized for first-generation students

I am struck by the millions upon millions of young people who are motivated to serve, but the motivation to serve isn’t necessarily enough. You have to be given the tools to serve and the resources to understand how do you make a difference.

—Dean Jonathan Koppell

I invite you to learn more about the Watts, the gift and its impact.

On behalf of the college, I want to express my extraordinary gratitude to Cindy and Mike Watts for their commitment to public service and belief in our college as an effective vehicle to deliver positive change to our communities. And I want to thank all members of our college's community who earned the Watts' confidence through your record of performance and impact.

An investment in public service education is an investment in our shared future. The name Watts will now, and in the future, be synonymous with public service.

Dean Jonathan GS Koppell
Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions