ASU alumni recognized at Founders' Day

Michael Burns and Jack Furst were recognized during ASU's Founders' Day event

Long-time friends and ASU alumni Michael Burns and Jack Furst were honored Thursday at ASU’s annual Founders’ Day event.

Burns was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award and Furst was recognized as Philanthropist of the Year for 2017.

Burns graduated from ASU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Furst graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the W.P Carey School of Business.

“I don’t think that either one of us forty years ago were sitting around thinking that we would be here, doing this at this moment,” Furst said.

Furst was chosen for his philanthropy at ASU, including his involvement with the Sun Devil Stadium project.

Furst said he wants to see ASU’s football stadium turn in a community center that is active all the time and serving as many people as possible.

“That’s the reason I got involved,” he said. “A football stadium is interesting, creating a connection is the goal.”

He also sponsors the Furst Honors Scholarship and endowed the Jack D. Furst Professor of Finance back in 2003.

Burns, the vice chairman of Lionsgate, was chosen for the Alumni Achievement Award for his success in turning Lionsgate into a multi-billion dollar global content leader.

Since he became the vice chairman of Lionsgate in 2000, Burns continued to grow the $6 billion company, and recently helped with the $4.4 billion acquisition of Starz.

The former roommates said they were both very happy to be there for Founders’ Day.

“We are approaching 60, it has been 40 years since we first met, and it’s a neat deal,” Furst said.

Both honorees were members of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, and both served as president of the fraternity during their time at ASU.

“We were both were very active in our Fraternity,” Burns said. “We had a lot of fun, we played a lot of intramural sports, we just had a great time.”

Burns said his advice for ASU student’s is to enjoy their youth, and Furst said that students should know “if it is worth doing, then it is worth overdoing.”

Michael Tully, the Founders’ Day chair and an ASU alumni council member, said Burns and Furst were both clear choices for this year’s awards.

“They are incredibly well accomplished, incredibly humble individuals in their own way, and they exemplify what we're looking for from an ASU pride stand point,” Tully said.

Burns and Furst said that they love ASU, and they love what ASU President Michael Crow is doing for the university.

“The best time to be a Sun Devil is right now,” Furst said, Burns added and said “But it was pretty fun when we were here too."


Reach the reporter at jctower@asu.edu or follow @tower_jo on Twitter.

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