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Sustainability News

Board Letter

July 12, 2018

Diane Trimble stands with Dean Chris Boone at the School of Sustainability convocation as she receives her master's degreeDiane Trimble earned two degrees from Arizona State University, but the journey wasn’t easy. About 20 years ago, Trimble dropped out of college halfway through a bachelor’s degree after struggling to balance work with classes. She became a restaurant manager, a wife and a mother to three sons — the oldest of whom started asking her questions about her college experience as he neared the end of high school.

Trimble said she was initially embarrassed by her son’s questions because she couldn’t fully answer them. But then a lightbulb went off. “His questions made me realize that I [had] a second chance at a college experience — an experience that I could share with not only my oldest son but also my two others that would follow in both of our footsteps,” Trimble said.

Inspired to be a better role model for her sons, Trimble decided to finally finish her bachelor’s degree. The timing couldn’t have been better — as a Starbucks manager, she found out she could get full tuition coverage from the new Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership with ASU.

“I felt beyond satisfied and overjoyed as I started my college journey over again, while guiding my son through his transition from high school into college,” Trimble said. “Going back to school gave me a new-found love for myself. For the first time in my life I wasn’t someone’s boss, wife or mom, I was Diane: a 40-year-old student finding her place in life.”

Trimble took on 18 credits a semester to complete her online degree in less than two years. After a lot of hard work, she graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. She said the online format was beneficial for her and she “never felt that [she] had to choose school as a priority over everything else in [her] life.”

Feeling empowered, Trimble didn’t stop at a bachelor’s degree. She soon enrolled in the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership program in the School of Sustainability. “I choose a degree in sustainability because it wasn’t just a degree about the environment, it was also a degree that took into account our social, economic and cultural impact,” she said.

Trimble chose the EMSL, in part, because it allowed her to intertwine 20 years of “living and breathing business strategies” with sustainability strategies. Through her coursework, studying abroad and engaging with staff and fellow students from diverse backgrounds, Trimble said she learned to be an effective leader in her workplace and community. She completed her master’s degree in 2018.

Now, Trimble is working on an event that will allow people in her city of Victorville, CA and the surrounding region to connect and collaborate around higher education and opportunities for youth.

“This event will give others the opportunity to tell their story of how Starbucks and ASU gave them a fresh start,” Trimble said. “It will also give those that are looking for a fresh start and that extra boost of motivation to take that next step.”