2006 Award Recipients
2006 Alumni Award recipients, L-R: Sam Borozan, Scott Coor, Debbie Coor, Harold Elliott, Marion Elliott, Karen Churchard.
Sam S. Borozan
NAUAA Dwight Patterson (1934) Alumnus of the Year
1957 BS Elementary Education
1961 MA Educational Administration and Supervision
1967 MA Guidance and Counseling
Equally at home on the field of play and in the classroom, three-time NAU graduate Sam Borozan has been a welcome and familiar face on and off the university campus for more than half a century. As an ASC and NAU student, Bisbee native Sam was a founder of the "Mom and Dad's Day" tradition, and earned the coveted Gold Axe award. In his next incarnation, as a university administrator, he was recognized by grateful students with the ASNAU Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award, and presided over 1991's Homecoming as both parade marshal and Dedicatee. In 1976 the NAU Alumni Association rewarded Sam for contributions to the community with an Alumni Service Award.
Although it is impossible to select from among Sam's merits, the most indelible may be his multifaceted involvement in the life of NAU academics and athletics. He has endowed no fewer than three scholarships for students of the modern languages, Arizona high school football recruits, and varsity women's soccer players. Inducted into the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004, he served as its chair from 1984 to 1991. He has also donated scoreboards to Lumberjack Stadium, Rolle Activity Center, and Wall Aquatic Center. Above all, his love of athletics and understanding of its salutary effects on children and young adults has fueled a 51-year mission as a coach and referee of youth, high school and college sports. In 2003, Sam's officiating earned him a spot in the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame.
Though he officially "retired" in 1992, Sam has been voluntarily teaching a fourth-grade Catholic school class in Tucson several times a week, with a respect for the instinctively inquisitive minds of his charges. He says, "Learning takes place because there is no stress to learn; learning comes naturally to children." With this award, the NAU Alumni Association salutes Sam's effervescent belief in our young people, and congratulates him for all he has done to realize the academic and athletic potential of Arizona's future leadership.
NAUAA Dr. Cliff Harkins (1932) Distinguished Citizen of the Year
1981 BS Public Relations
In her 21 years working with the Fiesta Bowl organization, Karen Churchard had ample opportunity to observe how premiere athletes get the job done: with persistence, fortitude, and fanatical energy. So it is perhaps unsurprising that just after her so-called retirement, she was hired as Arizona Super Bowl Bid Coordinator, and became instrumental in the Valley's successful campaign to host the Super Bowl in 2008. In her work she helped secure hotels, resorts, buses, rental cars and taxis for the game, coordinated practice sites and worked with host city Glendale to plan pregame festivities. Churchard also talked to the right people and undoubtedly massaged more than a few egos along the way.
According to an article in the Arizona Republic, the big game is projected to have a $400 million economic impact on the Valley. This should be music to Churchard's ears, in her current role as executive director of the Arizona Tourism Alliance. The group's mission is to ensure the future growth and success of tourism, providing advocacy and generating awareness of the industry through education and leadership. "Tourism is really like a blue-chip stock," she says. "We really want to protect it and it will grow."
NAU Professor Emeritus Ray Newton, who advised Churchard in her undergraduate years, is proud of his protégé. "She has distinguished herself not only in Arizona but also the nation. It is not likely the Fiesta Bowl would have grown and prospered without her dedication and knowledge. She was persistent, aggressive, enthusiastic and above all, committed to making that winter sporting event one of the most successful in the nation. She has brought honor and recognition to NAU and to the state."
Churchard is also indispensable to educational initiatives as a director for the Valley of the Sun Chapter - National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, and a member of the NAU School of Communication Advisory Council. With the Harkins award, the NAU alumni community applauds Karen for her indomitable strength, savvy, and dedication to the prosperity of Arizona's citizens.
NAUAA Jeff Ferris (1936) Volunteer of the Year
1976 BSBA Marketing
The key to Scott Coor's achievements as a volunteer for NAU is his phenomenal sense of initiative. When Scott decided to support the College of Business Administration (CBA) in its ambitious Building on Excellence campaign, not only did he and wife Debbie make a significant personal gift, but he also stepped forward as campaign co-chair. He then organized twelve of his fellow alumni into a gift-giving juggernaut that resulted in more than $50,000 to sponsor a classroom in the new CBA building. With his wonderful instinct for stewardship, Scott followed up by reuniting the entire group at Homecoming 2005. For many of these graduates it was their first NAU contribution, and certainly not their last.
In another extraordinary example of how NAU volunteers can make a difference, Scott spearheaded the initial meeting with a donor for naming the CBA building, and took the lead in illustrating the potential gift's importance to the university. He continues to be actively involved in this critical process.
Scott has never lost sight of NAU's influence on his own career path. This year, in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he has arranged "the ultimate field trip" for 36 CBA students and four faculty: a visit to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and a meeting with the company's renowned CEO, Warren Buffett. The two-day experience includes a tour of two of Mr. Buffett's companies, and lunch followed by a two-hour question and answer session with Mr. Buffett himself. Thanks to Scott's vision, NAU is the first university in Arizona to participate in this unique and potentially life-changing program.
With the Jeff Ferris award, the NAU Alumni Association congratulates Scott for transforming the valuable dynamism of his own successful career into a measurable momentum for the future of the university.
Harold L. Elliott
1949 BS Physical Education
1951 MEd Educational Administration
Marion L. Dick Elliott
NAUAA Joe and Marie Rolle (1941/1950) Spirit of NAU Award
1952 BS Art
1957 MA Secondary Education
If a medieval allegory were written about Marion and Harold Elliott, it might be entitled "The Marriage of Education and Art." The Elliotts' accomplishments, individually and as a result of their serendipitous union, are complemented by their remarkable relationships with two institutions: the City of Yuma, and Northern Arizona University.
The Elliotts' love for the university and their transcendent school spirit became apparent even before they graduated. Harold played baseball, wrestled, and lettered in Jacks football, and Marion went the service route with her membership in Cardinal Key. Flash forward several decades, and their list of honors becomes too lengthy to detail, with sterling careers in the Yuma educational community and a plethora of awards from both the Yuma universe and the powers-that-be in Arizona government.
Even though their residence is divided between Yuma and Prescott, the Elliotts rarely miss an NAU event in either community. Both have continued to frequent the mountain campus as well, Marion as a three-time president of the NAU Foundation Board, and Harold as a past president of the NAU Alumni Association Board. Each has separately won both the Alumni Achievement Award and the Alumni Service Award, as well as NAU Centennial Awards.
In a recent interview, Harold noted that "alumni should be looking in their own communities for outstanding young people and steering them toward NAU." To that end, the Elliotts have established no fewer than seven scholarship funds for visual arts and arts education, NAU Yuma, and NAU Yavapai. True to their traditional spirit, they have also been generous and proactive supporters of the current campaign to repair and renovate NAU's Logging Wheels.
It is an understatement to say that the Elliotts were absolutely delighted with the recent announcement that their beloved NAU-Yuma had been designated a branch campus of the university. As Marion once said, "NAU has maintained its character, which we admire and love. We feel the university offers a special kind of opportunity."
We are gratified to bestow upon Harold and Marion Elliott the Spirit of NAU award for their educational excellence and spiritual beauty, and a wit and warmth that blanket the state from Flagstaff to Yuma and beyond.