Three W.P. Carey alumni recently became part of a school tradition dating back to 1977.
Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies; Elizabeth Crain, chief operating officer of Moelis & Company; and Xu Jianguo, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Shanghai Electric, were this year’s inductees into the school’s Hall of Fame. There are now 64 members.
For almost 35 years, the Carey school has asked for nominations from alumni leaders and faculty, said W.P. Carey Dean Robert Mittelstaedt.
“This year, we’ve tried to broaden the diversity of our inductees to represent the broad diversity of our students,” Mittelstaedt said.
To this extent, he said, the inductees included Cookson, an executive from a Japanese business based in the U.S., Crain, an investing executive, and Xu, the head of a Chinese Electric corporation.
Mittelstaedt has been bringing change to the Hall of Fame process since he began as dean seven years ago. He’s encouraged having two or three recipients, rather than just one and changed the format of the induction ceremony. Unlike the black tie gala events of previous years, Thursday evening’s event, at Scottsdale’s Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, required only business attire.
This year’s inductees have a wide range of accomplishments.
Cookson, who received his master’s degree from W.P. Carey in 1970, possesses more than 50 patents and won two Emmy awards over the course of his work in television before becoming chief technology officer at Warner Bros. Entertainment and later president of technology at Sony.
Cookson, who attended high school in Scottsdale, originally wanted to go out of state for college, but he chose to receive an engineering degree from ASU after landing a part-time job at the television station KPHO. He used his engineering skills later on as part of the small group of people who created the DVD.
He said he was proudest of his work on the DVD and his Emmy-winning work with the Olympics on ABC.
“It’s great when you work on something and can make a difference,” Cookson said.
Crain received her bachelor’s degree in economics from W.P. Carey in 1987 before going on to get her master’s degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania.
She said she knew from an early age she would go to ASU; she grew up near campus and her father and all her siblings were Sun Devils. She picked economics as a major because it really resonated with her.
Crain is most proud of her work as a founding partner of investing firm Moelis and Company. She said the firm, four years after it began, now has 600 employees in five countries.
“I enjoy what I’m doing now,” Crain said. “I don’t want a better job or title; I just want to keep striving to learn and do things better.”
Xu received his master’s degree from W.P. Carey in 2005, but not from the school in Tempe. Instead, he was part of the first class of the executive MBA program the school runs in Shanghai. This program provides Chinese government officials and high-ranking businessmen with master’s degrees.
He is the CEO, chairman and executive director of Shanghai Electric and an adjunct professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
“I think these inductees prove that even though ASU isn’t really old, many of our graduates have gone on to great success,” Mittelstaedt said. “This bodes well for the University.”
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Editor’s Note: Because of an editing error, this story has been corrected.