ASU dean honors alum with Social Science Distinguished Alumnus Award

By

Matt Oxford

Arizona State University political science alumnus Mark Kerrigan was the recipient of the inaugural Social Science Distinguished Alumnus Award that will be given out annually by the social sciences dean, Elizabeth Wentz. The award is given to an alumnus from the social sciences who personifies the ASU Charter through significant contributions to society, business and commerce and their communities.

"Mark Kerrigan is an ASU political science alum who has been involved in advancing the interests of the social sciences broadly including alumni involvement, research and student support, and advancing proofs of concept for bold ideas," Wentz said. "He is more than deserving of distinguished alumni recognition."

School of Politics and Global Studies Director Cameron Thies presented the award to Kerrigan at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' second annual Evening of Innovative Thinking. The event on Oct. 24 included discussions from faculty and guests of The College who are at the forefront of innovation and pioneering solutions to today’s most pressing issues.

Kerrigan's work experience spans more than 30 years in the energy management and public policy space. He has held senior management roles in both the federal government and the private sector.

After graduate school, Kerrigan went to Washington, D.C., as a presidential management intern. He started his career at the White House Office of Management and Budget in 1980, where he advised senior staff at the Office of the President on budgetary matters associated with a range of energy technology and regulatory issues. He left public service in 1987 and returned in 1989 to an appointment in the George H. Bush Administration as deputy undersecretary for policy at the Department of Energy. In 1992, Kerrigan became the manager of the energy solutions group at Science Applications International Corporation.

In March 2009, Kerrigan received the James W. Creasman Award for excellence from the Arizona State University Alumni Association. He was recognized for his efforts in co-starting the GlobalResolve project, a social impact, engineering-based program that designs and implements solar and clean energy projects in developing countries.

After the event in Washington, D.C., Kerrigan reflected on what this achievement means to him:

Question: How does it feel to be honored with the Social Science Distinguished Alumni Award from ASU?

Answer: I am very honored to be recognized by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I very much appreciate this inaugural award by the (social sciences dean). I hope this becomes another great tradition at ASU.

Q: You graduated ASU with a degree in political science and have since amassed over 30 years in the energy management and public policy space. What led to your passion for the field of energy?

A: My interest in energy issues started with the oil embargo in 1973. I was fascinated with the broad impact that energy has on our global economy and the global environment. I grew very intrigued with energy technology, especially renewable energy and the tremendous promise it holds for people across the globe.

Q: You have previously been recognized for your efforts in co-starting the GlobalResolve project with Barrett, The Honors College. As a member of their advisory board, what has it been like to see the project grow to help 13 counties in Asia, Africa and North and South America?

A: GlobalResolve is one of the best things that I have ever been involved with. ASU has responded to the global challenge to provide opportunities for our students to experience the needs of underserved communities and create innovative solutions to improve their lives.

Q: What career advice would you offer students and young alumni?

A: Work hard. Be good at what you do and above all be innovative. Try to work with smart people who share your values. When you become the boss, hire the best people. They will eventually make you successful.

Bio contributions from Barrett, The Honors College.