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Mary R. Kihl Leadership Endowment and Leadership Award

Mary R. Kihl Leadership Endowment and Leadership Award

Mary R Kihl

The Mary R. Kihl Leadership Endowment supports a bi-annual scholarship, the Mary R. Kihl Leadership Award, to a graduate student in planning who exemplifies leadership qualities within both the planning program and the community at large. In alternate years, the endowment funds are used to support lectures, symposia and other activities supporting scholastic development in the field of planning.

One of the leading and most influential transportation planners in the US, Mary was a professor in Planning at ASU from 1996 until her death in 2007. The endowment established in her memory recognizes her dedication, leadership and contributions to ASU and the field of planning.

 NOTE: The Mary R. Kihl Leadership Award is awarded bi-annually on even years.


The following requirements must be met in order to be eligible for the Mary R. Kihl Leadership Award:

  • Full-time first or second year MUEP students in good academic standing
  • Be able to demonstrate leadership qualities within SGSUP and the community at large

Application instructions:

To apply for the Mary R. Kihl Leadership Award:

  • In a written document of approximately two (2) paragraphs, please explain the ways you have shown leadership within both the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the community at large.
  • Download your unofficial ASU transcript
  • Please submit a single PDF file containing all your application materials, including an unofficial copy of your ASU transcript, to no later than March 1. Please use the following naming convention for your application file: award - last name, first name (ex. “Kihl Leadership Award – Smith, John”). When submitting, please copy and paste the name of your file into the subject line of your email.

Only complete applications submitted in accordance with the instructions will be considered by the awards committee. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure their application is complete and formatted as required. And please remember - if the scholarship for which you’re applying requires a letter of support from a faculty member, please let them know as soon as possible to ensure they have time to complete it.

Award amount:

Awards up to $1250 will be given.

More about Mary Kihl

Mary Kihl came to Arizona State University in 1996 from Iowa State University where she had established her expertise in the transportation and urban planning fields. While at ASU, Mary held the positions of Professor of Planning, Director of the Herberger Center for Design Excellence, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Intermodal Transportation Systems, Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activity, and Interim Director of the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture. In fact, during one particularly busy year, Mary held all of those jobs simultaneously -- a testament to her amazing work ethic. In 2004, Mary returned to a focus on teaching, continued leading the Transportation Systems certificate program, and for a short time, acted as interim director of the PhD Program. Obviously, she did not slow down her pace, taking on the Planning Graduate Capstone Studio, mentoring PhD students, redoubling efforts for her own research and writing on transportation issues, chairing the Curriculum Committee for the ASU Faculty Senate, and again always making time for undergraduate students, colleagues, and members of the community from the professions and civic and governmental arenas.

Mary was recognized as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2003 and in 2007 received the Leadership Award by AZTech for "demonstrating academic and research excellence." She was involved in many organizations, including as a member of the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council, American Planning Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Advanced Public Transportation Systems of ITS America, State of Iowa Department of Transportation, Architectural Research Council Consortium, Urban Land Institute, Lambda Alpha, Harrington House Center for University Design, AZTech Executive Board, and the Maricopa Association of Governments.

Mary held five degrees: an AB from Juniata College (1963), MA from University of Michigan (1964), PhD in History from Pennsylvania State University (1968), PhD in Transportation Planning from Pennsylvania State University (1975), and an MURP (Urban and Regional Planning) from the University of Pittsburgh (1977). In addition to teaching at ASU and Iowa State, Mary has also been on the faculty of the University of Nebraska and University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Mary Kihl affected so many students, friends, and colleagues with her genuine concern and interest in their work, their challenges, and their successes. Colleague and Professor Subhro Guhathakurta speaks for all of those who came into contact with her in saying, "I am just grateful that I had the privilege of working with her. Her spirit has touched us in many ways, and I hope that will continue to live within us."

Award Recipients:

2023-2024 Jacob Heid
2021-2022 Bryan Leyba


Hannah Trostle

Taylor Sapero


Rio de Leon

Shelby Leachet

Ann-Jillian Reyes


Rebecca Santiago


Daniel Barusch


Ellen Schwaller


Steven Howland