For more than four decades, Congressman Ed Pastor was a guiding star in the field of public service for Arizonans. Growing up in Claypool, Arizona, Pastor was the first in his family to graduate from college, and he used that education to change his own life and better the community. As a teacher, director of a nonprofit organization and ultimately the first Mexican-American congressman to represent the state of Arizona, Pastor left an indelible mark on both the local community and the national political landscape. His commitment to helping others made him a strong role model for students pursuing careers in public service.

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Building on a legacy of service to inspire future leaders

The Pastor Center honors Congressman Ed Pastor and his legacy of service in Arizona and the nation—and serves as an inspiration for the future generation of leaders. Located in the ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, the Center serves as a dynamic, student-centric hub of activity that promotes, publicizes, and encourages political engagement and public service among ASU students and the broader community. It embodies ASU’s commitment to being an active agent of change, addressing society’s problems. The center prepares and empowers ASU students from all backgrounds to assume leadership positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The Center serves on a national stage as one of twenty-five university-based public service institutes participating in Harvard University’s National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, launched by the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. It is the first in the network to honor a leader representing a minority community—representative of the backgrounds of our participating students and our objective to diversify the population of public service leaders.

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Thomas Kim is living the American dream. He almost didn’t.

Kim is a second-year law student at the Sandra Day O‘Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. As a high school senior living in Portland, Oregon, he was planning to work at a Japanese restaurant following high school. He didn’t see any other options. His family had legally emigrated from Korea a few years before but had since lost their immigration status. As an undocumented immigrantKim couldn’t afford tuition.