Inspired Evening Event Photo Collage

October 27, 2023

An InspirED Evening Honors Arizona’s Innovative Education Leaders and Programs

Education Forward Arizona recently recognized Arizona’s innovative education leaders and programs at a fundraising event held Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the J.W. Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale. 

Event Co-Chairs Chevy Humphrey, President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and Richard Adkerson, Chairman and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan, joined Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs to kick off the second-annual event, An InspirED Evening, which brought together individuals from across the state to celebrate innovation and collaboration in education.  

During the event, Education Forward Arizona honored: 

  • Tracy Bame, President of the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation and Director of Social Responsibility at Freeport-McMoRan, with a Luminary Award; 
  • Arizona Board of Regents, for its Promise Program, with a North Star Award; 

The awards were designed to acknowledge the individuals, organizations, and programs in Arizona that are making exceptional efforts to improve education in the state. Honorees were recognized for advancing the state’s education attainment goal and helping to make education after high school more accessible and affordable. 

During the event, Adkerson and Bame also announced an additional investment from Freeport-McMoRan of $1.25 million to strengthen workforce development pipelines in communities in which the company operates. 

“We chose Education Forward Arizona to help us create this pilot program because of their organization’s long history of delivering on their programmatic promises, and because of their deep commitment to bring businesses and educators together to increase attainment and create a highly skilled workforce,” said Adkerson. “We are thrilled to continue this work and are proud to partner with Education Forward Arizona as we move forward.”

In addition to hearing stories from each deserving award recipient, guests heard from Odalis Lopez, an Education Forward Arizona Scholar and Chevy Humphrey Women in Stem scholarship recipient. Lopez currently attends Arizona State University where she is pursuing a degree in Healthcare Administration and Policy. She hopes to become a doctor one day. She is part of Mayo Clinic’s Pre-Medical Scholars, which provides selected ASU pre-medical students interested in pursuing a career in medicine a multiyear program, exposing undergraduate students to all aspects of the practice of medicine.

“There is nothing more permanent than the gift of knowledge,” said Lopez. “When combining talent with opportunity and a fair shot, first-generation college students like me can contribute tremendously and fulfill our purpose in this life. We can develop ourselves to become more than a statistic. Using our education, we have everything to gain.”

The event ended with thunderous applause and standing ovations.  

“Education Forward Arizona represents the willingness of people from all parts of the state – those of different races and ethnicities; those from rural, suburban, and urban areas; and those from business, education, philanthropic, nonprofit and other sectors – to work differently, collaboratively and more effectively to create better education opportunities, from early learning through postsecondary attainment,” said Rich Nickel, President and CEO of Education Forward Arizona. “We praise these award recipients for their innovative and transformative contributions to education, all of which contribute to the goal of helping students achieve their educational dreams.”