ASU welcomes new president for new year

Ronnie Hawkins Jr comes back to ASU with plans to give back to his community

By Kionna Brown
On August 25, 2020


Photo courtesy of ASU Communications and Marketing: ASU's 11th President Ronnie Hawkins Jr.

ASU on Aug. 17 announced retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins as the university's new president. Hawkins attended ASU and became a distinguished graduate in 1977.

Now he is the 11th person to become ASU’s president, and will be the first Black president in the 92-year history of the university. “I’m here to represent to the public the university’s goals, and make sure that each student graduates on time,” Hawkins said. “I wanted to come back to ASU to give back to the community.” 

Though he is ASU's first Black president, Hawkins said it is his responsibility to ensure no students are left behind, regardless of race. Hawkins said he is fully aware that he is recognized as ASU’s first Black president, but that does not add any weight or pressure on his shoulders, nor does it change his hopes and goals for the institution’s future.

Like many students, Hawkins said he too has a hard time finding a parking space on campus. Whether it’s going to the University Center, the Academic Building or the dorm rooms, students can always be found circling around the school to find a place to park. Hawkins said if it were easy for him to find a parking space that would mean ASU is not running properly due to COVID-19.

During a time when children, and even college students, are having to take classes online, Hawkins said he sees many students continuing to further their education as a good thing. Hawkins said despite the situations and challenges the world is facing, he is happy students still are able to attend ASU in a face-to-face environment. 

“COVID-19 is something we all need to recognize is here, and it’s only in our way if we let it,” Hawkins said. “You learn how to live and adapt so we are able to do what we want to do.” 

Hawkins said he was eager to share his excitement for the future ahead and had words of encouragment for ASU's students.
"Put in a body of work because nothing is easy," Hawkins said. "Put in a body of work because too many people give up when they're on the verge of success. Never give up."

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