ASU's Lev Gonick named Arizona CIO of the Year

On Friday, April 18, Arizona State University’s chief information officer (CIO) Lev Gonick was named the 2023 Arizona CIO of the Year as part of the 2023 Arizona ORBIE Awards. The annual event honors the most innovative and transformative technology leaders in the state.

In his role as CIO, Gonick leads ASU’s Enterprise Technology – a staff of 900-plus people dedicated to the advancement of the digital ecosystem. 

Under Gonick's stewardship, Enterprise Technology has been recognized for initiatives dedicated to helping the ASU community thrive. Such projects include Digital Backpack, a collection of learning tools for students, and Learning Futures, a living laboratory for students to experiment with emerging immersive technology. 

“Lev has revolutionized ASU’s technology enterprise to keep us moving forward, no matter the challenge,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “He’s a driver of our culture of innovation.”

With a deep commitment to living out ASU’s charter, teams at Enterprise Technology recently received a $34.6 million grant to increase broadband access to 20,000 households and 150 community anchor institutions in Maricopa County.

“Lev has been able to exceed his goal of evolving ASU’s technology organization to better address community needs,” said Chris Howard, executive vice president and chief operating officer of ASU Public Enterprise, in his official letter of support for the ORBIE.

Gonick's vision for expanding digital access and equity at scale is fundamentally human centered, whether connecting student employees with career opportunities or developing the Technical Upskilling Program to help people break into IT careers. 

A lifelong technology advocate

Gonick’s vision for a fully connected digital world began long before he came to ASU. In 1992, he took internet equipment to Zimbabwe to increase social and economic impact through internet connectivity. He then co-founded and was the CEO of Digital C, an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to innovating technology for the public good. 

From 2001–13, he served as the CIO at Case Western Reserve University. While there, he created the Case Connection Zone, a project that later led to other connectivity initiatives, such as US Ignite and Gig.U. Gonick also joined the board of advisors for the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, a position in which he still serves today.

At ASU, he co-founded ShapingEDU, a global community of education and innovation enthusiasts devoted to using technology to improve learning in the digital age, and T4 Leadership Academy, which aims to help professionals evolve into adaptable, resilient and socially-minded leaders skilled in empowering others. 

With digital learning being a top priority, Gonick also co-founded Learning Experience, which provides workshops and technical resources that enhance teaching and learning, and the ASU Information Security and Digital Trust, an initiative committed to keeping data safe and cultivating trust within the ASU community.

A history of recognition

Gonick’s latest accolade adds to a history of recognition across the field. In 2022, EdScoop honored him in its “50 Awards,” which honors influential higher-education leaders. Before that, in 2015, Inside Business Magazine added him to the Power 100 list, while in 2011 Government Technology called him a "Top 25 Doer, Dreamer & Driver in Public-Sector Innovation.” 

Crain’s Business Cleveland named him one of its “10 Difference Makers,” and Broadband Properties gave him the Cornerstone Award for "using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals.” Gonick has also been named “Visionary of the Year” by NATOA, a Premier 100 IT leader by Computer World, and a CIO 100 by CIO magazine

“I am continually guided by ASU’s charter of inclusion — our North Star — to bring opportunity to our local and global communities through the power of technology,” Gonick said. “There is so much more for us to accomplish, and I know we’ll go further and faster through strategic collaboration.”

Written by Samantha Becker, executive director, creative and communications, Office of the CIO. Jennifer Moore contributed to this article.