Dwight Patterson (1934) Alumna/Alumnus of the Year award

Current award winner

Dr. Diana Gabaldon, '78 PhD, '07 Honorary Doctorate, is the 2016 Dwight Patterson Alumna/Alumnus of the year.


This award is presented to an alumna or alumnus who has achieved outstanding success in his or her professional career.

Service to Northern Arizona University or the Alumni Association is not a requirement. Preference is given to those who have earned degrees from Northern Arizona University.

About Dwight Patterson

Dwight was president of the Alumni Association in 1946. He won both the Alumni Service Award and the Distinguished Citizen Award. He was responsible for bringing major league baseball to the state and was chosen to toss out the first ball at BOB (Bank One Ballpark) to initiate big league baseball in Arizona when the Diamondbacks played their very first game.

Dwight was also called "Mr. Mesa," because he was the driving force for Mesa clean government.

He was a landowner and financial investor, as well as a giant in education, serving on the Board of Regents, State Board of Public Instruction and Community College Board. Dwight was also a great football player for Northern Arizona University, inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987. He died in 1999.