Campaign News

Former foster youth set to graduate thanks to Blavin Scholars Program

April 21, 2015

Former foster care youth Regina Austin will be receiving her bachelor’s degree in May 2015 thanks to the generosity and support of Paul and Amy Blavin. The couple created the Blavin Scholars program to assist foster care youth who “age out” of the system when they turn 18. Without support, many of these youth face financial difficulty, and many end up homeless. Less than two percent ever earn their college degrees.

However, Regina beat these odds because of the financial and social support she is receiving as a Blavin Scholar. The program is designed to go beyond traditional scholarships by establishing a sense of community in addition to providing monetary support. After graduating, Regina will pursue her master’s degree in social work to help current foster youth who are in the same position she was in.

 Recent alum gives back to scholarship received as student

April 21, 2015

When Ryan Bye, ’11 geography, was a student at Northern Arizona University, he received the Agnes Allen Scholarship. As a financially independent student, the scholarship was invaluable because of the financial support it provided. Now, Ryan is a Residential Learning Coordinator at Valparaiso University, which has given him an even broader understanding of the importance of financial support in higher education.

His career working with students in higher education and his fond memories of the university inspired him to give back to the Agnes Allen Scholarship. The scholarship, named after famed professor and first female head of any department at the university Agnes Allen, supports students in the Geography, Planning, and Recreation Department. Ryan credits that department with providing him direction. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do as an undergraduate student, but the department gave me a sense of purpose,” Ryan says. “I chose to give back because the skills I learned, even though I’m not a geographer, are skills I use every day.”

 $800,000 endowment for computer science and engineering students

April 21, 2015

Computer networking pioneer and Northern Arizona University alum Martin Casado has led the effort to award Northern Arizona University an $800,000 endowment from his employer, VMware. After graduating from the university with a computer science degree, Martin went on to found his own technology company, Nicira, which was acquired by VMware for $1.26 billion. Along with the buyout, VMware offered Martin a corporate management role.

Now the Vice President and General Manager of VMware’s Networking and Security Business Unit, Martin was also awarded the title of VMware Fellow – one of only four people at the company. With that title, Martin was also given the ability to direct some of the company’s funds into an institution of his choice. Given Martin’s desire to boost the awareness of Northern Arizona University’s exceptional programs and his family’s history with the university – three of his immediate family members all hold NAU degrees — he decided to award the funds to the university’s computer science and engineering program.

 Bike safety improved for NAU cyclists

April 21, 2015

The Yellow Bike Program at Northern Arizona University allows students to rent bicycles, locks, and helmets at no charge. The program is immensely popular, but until recently, suffered from one major safety concern. The Yellow Bikes were not equipped with lights, meaning that riding at night, especially off campus where street lighting is not always present, was dangerous.

Thanks to the Northern Arizona University’s first crowdfunding campaign – Lights for Yellow Bikes – the university community has raised enough funds to outfit all 150 Yellow Bikes with a set of front and rear lights. Even more impressively, the community raised 15% more than the original goal, and did it in just 28 days—16 days before the deadline.

 Student travels to Madagascar to fight plague

April 21, 2015

Senior microbiology major and infectious disease researcher Cedar Mitchell traveled to Madagascar to deliver life-saving DNA technology used to combat outbreaks of plague. Last year, the disease infected more than 100 people and claimed nearly 50 lives. While the plague is well under control in most developed nations, the disease is poorly understood in rural Madagascar. Cedar’s trip and the technology and expertise she brought along was intended to remedy this problem.

Cedar’s trip was made possible thanks to funding from the Hooper Undergraduate Award and scholarships from the university’s Center for International Education and Student Travel Award. Cedar is grateful for this opportunity to gain experience in her desired career field. “I’m very lucky to have had this opportunity,” Cedar says. “I want to continue to have an international focus and help solve epidemic mysteries in other countries. I am so thankful for the resources to conduct this type of study and research at the university.”

 Author Diana Gabaldon supports student writing competition

April 21, 2015

Diana Gabaldon, author of the New York Times Bestselling Outlander series and Northern Arizona University graduate, contributes both her time and financial resources to the Louis Aggasiz Prize for Excellence in Writing Competition. Every year, the competition challenges students to address contemporary issues through writing, and Diana is part of the panel of judges who determines the winners.

Two of the 2014 winners, Sarah Patterson and Amanda Robinson, wrote essays addressing privacy concerns in an increasingly connected, digital world. With the funds, Sarah was able to afford books and living expenses, while Amanda was able to pursue her dream of studying abroad in France. More than the financial support though, both were honored to have their writing validated by a writer as successful of Gabaldon.

Scholarship promotes international women’s education

April 21, 2015

NAU Alum and Pakistan native Samia Ashraf, ’84 computer information systems, created the Khursheed Fatima Scholarship in honor of her mother, who outwardly supported the importance of women’s education in a male-dominated society. Samia knows of the educational inequalities that exist between men and women in different parts of the globe. Samia hopes the $11,000 award is fulfilling her mother’s passion for encouraging women to pursue education.

 For over a decade, the scholarship has helped many recipients including Faith Kagwa, ’12 political science and sociology, from Uganda. For Faith, the scholarship meant a confidence boost and the ability to focus on gaining experience outside of the classroom working for the university, which prepared her for her career.

 “The scholarship took a lot of stress off my shoulders.” Faith says. “As an NAU student, I worked with different departments to plan events for students. Now I work for another college, but I’m still planning student events and using what I learned as a student worker!”

 School of Music becoming All-Steinway School

January 26, 2015

The School of Music is ramping up efforts to become an All-Steinway School: a school in which 90% or more of the pianos used are manufactured by Steinway and Sons. Steinway pianos are world-renowned for their high quality sound and unparalleled craftsmanship. In the world of music, they are the top-of-the-line pianos. With Northern Arizona University’s School of Music joining the ranks of the exclusive All-Steinway Schools list, the reputation of the already strong music program will grow even further. Current students will be able to practice and perform on the best instruments available, and future students will recognize the university’s commitment to the arts. 

Much of the progress so far has been the result of the generosity of alumni. Carol Lindsay, class of ’61, donated a six foot Steinway grand piano for students enrolled in the choral studies program. Other donations have funded high-quality practice pianos and will be used to purchase a nine foot Steinway Model D Concert Grand piano for performance use. Because all music students are required to play piano in some capacity during their studies, the new instruments will greatly benefit all those enrolled in the School of Music.

Dean of Students paying it forward

January 26, 2015

Northern Arizona University’s Dean of Students, Rick Brandel, is creating an endowed scholarship to benefit student leaders. In over 30 years at the university, Rick has seen the benefits that students involved in clubs and organizations receive. As the advisor for the student governing body the Associated Students of Northern Arizona University, Rick has enjoyed working with and helping some of the most involved students on campus. 

With the help of the NAU community, Rick is hoping to grow this endowed scholarship so it can benefit a greater number of student leaders. Rick feels that giving back to these students is the best way to invest in the future and reflects his passion for guiding students through their educations. Ultimately, he hopes that the recipients of the Rick Brandel Student Leadership Scholarship will be inspired to provide the same opportunities to future students that Rick is offering them now.

Miss Indian NAU pageant winners promote cultural awareness

January 26, 2015

Miss Indian NAU 2015 Jayme Biakeddy and First Attendant Sherill Thomas are taking full advantage of the educational opportunities offered at Northern Arizona University. As the pageant winners, Jayme and Sherill are tasked with promoting cultural awareness both on campus and in the surrounding communities. They both feel a tremendous sense of pride in being role models for younger Native Americans. 

Beyond their roles as pageant winners, they are both peer mentors through Native American Student Services. Among their most important roles in this leadership position is helping incoming native freshman transition to university life, a challenge both Sherill and Jayme are familiar with. 

While Jayme and Sherill are thriving at the university, higher education is a goal many Native Americans struggle to attain. Between financial hardships and adapting to a new culture, many native students find it difficult to complete their degrees. The financial assistance Jayme and Sherill have received from the university and their tribe have enabled them to succeed, so they can continue to promote educational attainment among native communities.

Student studies health disparities in New Zealand

November 7, 2014

Shelby Dalgai, ’16 biomedical science major, went to the University of Auckland in New Zealand last summer to study socioeconomic health disparities. She, and seven other NAU students, participated in international research through the Minority Health International Research Training Program (MHIRT). MHIRT is a student research program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that sends students around the globe to study minority health issues and the cultures of the host nations.

This trip was Shelby’s first undergraduate research experience, and the funds provided by the NIH made it possible for her to take this opportunity. Here in Flagstaff, Shelby credits other scholarships she has received, such as the White Mountain Apache Tribe Higher Education Scholarship, as enabling her to succeed in her classes, which made it possible for her to be accepted into this research program.

Lumberjacks football player benefits from the LAA

November 7, 2014

The Lumberjack Athletics Association (LAA) raises funds to provide financial support to NAU student-athletes. Star Lumberjacks wide receiver, Cory “Alex” Holmes, has benefitted from scholarships from the LAA since he was a freshman. When he first came to NAU, the LAA covered 50% of his tuition. Now, as a junior, the LAA is covering 100% of his tuition.

This support has been a big help for Alex on and off the field. For Alex, the financial assistance has meant he can focus on the two most important things to him: earning his criminology and criminal justice degree and playing his best on the football team. Alex is dedicated to both, and the help from the LAA has meant that he only has to work during the summers – something Alex is hapy to do so he can continue training with the team.

Entrepreneur alum creates student opportunities

November 7, 2014

Robert Jordan, ’93 finance, has had a successful career starting and selling businesses in several different industries. Now, he’s looking to offer current NAU students the same educational opportunities he had as a student. Robert established the Jordan Scholars Program, a scholarship for incoming African American students who demonstrate an interest in entrepreneurship. Robert believes he’s helping an underrepresented community in the entrepreneurial world.

Current Jordan Scholar Tobechukwu “Tobe” Okeke, ’18 marketing, is thankful for the scholarship money she has received. The financial assistance means she can save all the money she earns from working on campus and invest it in her own business when she’s ready. Tobe wants to start a non-profit, human development organization that empowers people to break out of labels and stereotypes and achieve their dreams.

Aspiring doctor overcomes challenges

November 7, 2014

Sarah Patterson, ’16 biomedical science, is a hardworking student who faced several difficulties before coming to NAU. Sarah has a sister with acute special needs, and her family was hit hard by the recent recession. For Sarah, this meant a college education was uncertain. The financial assistance she has received from the university and private donors is making her dream of a university education come true.

Sarah is the recipient of five scholarships and awards that have made her financially independent, a goal she was happy to achieve because it makes her feel mature, responsible, and is helping her avoid debt. After graduating, Sarah hopes to continue into medical school to become a doctor – a decision heavily influenced by the care she has given her sister.

Alliance Bank sponsors NAU business outreach center

October 13, 2014

Alliance Bank of Arizona has given a sponsorship gift to NAU’s business outreach center. The Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center in The W. A. Franke College of Business offers training, education, and consulting services that benefit over 10,000 individuals in northern Arizona. In addition to these services, the center also conducts an annual Economic Outlook Conference, which presents business owners, non-profit organizations, Native tribes, and government agencies in northern Arizona with predictions of how the economy will perform, and how that economic performance will affect them.

The gift reinvigorated NAU’s previously existing Center for Business Outreach. Craig van Slyke, Dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business, appreciates Alliance Bank of Arizona’s continued support.

“We’re grateful that Alliance Bank recognizes and supports the important role filled by the business outreach center,” van Slyke says. “The center has continued to expand its services over the years and is a valuable resource for the state.”

The Lumberjack’s 100th anniversary inspires giving

October 13, 2014

To celebrate The Lumberjack Student Press’ 100 years, The School of Communication is hosting a homecoming event on October 24 for alumni who worked on student media projects, including The Lumberjack, NAZ Today, KJACK, and UTV. Students and alums will connect for mentoring sessions and a tour of the School of Communication.

Along with the celebration, the $200,000 for 100 years fundraising campaign will kick off homecoming on Friday. The goal of the campaign is to improve classroom media experiences for students – an absolutely vital component of a 21st century education in communications.

Professor receives gift from former student

October 13, 2014

Dr. Kathy Eastwood of the Physics and Astronomy Department at NAU was recently given $18,000 by a former student and close personal friend. The gift was made by Jim Skelding, ’93 Physics, who has kept in touch with Kathy since graduation. Now a successful executive with Dell, Jim credits Kathy with helping him stick with his education and for encouraging him to explore his interests.

“I met Kathy my first semester at NAU when I was really goofing off. She told me to stick with it and apply myself,” Jim says, “God bless Kathy; she hung with me.”

The money is primarily going to be used for Maintenance of the Barry Lutz Telescope on campus. The research-grade telescope is used by students in their research, and it is open to the public on Friday nights. Kathy plans on using the remainder of the money on a city-wide astronomy project that will create a scale-replica of the solar system across downtown Flagstaff.

Notable NAU faculty honored through endowments

October 13, 2014

Dr. Steve Carothers has made two endowments in honor of two NAU biology professors who influenced his life and career. The first, the Dr. Russell P. Balda Scholarship in Biology, is awarded to students studying Biological Sciences. Over Russell’s 40 year tenure, he influenced many undergraduate and graduate students, including Steve, through his ornithological and ecological research.

The second gift is the Dr. Oliver W. Johnson Scholarship in Biology. This is awarded to graduate students studying Biological Sciences. Dr. Oliver “Ollie” Johnson was instrumental in developing the biology program at NAU into a program with world-class research and education capabilities. Ollie offered Steve a Teaching Assistantship which influenced his career as the founder of SWCA Environmental Consultants – a nationwide environmental consulting firm.

David Hitesman creates custom scholarship

September 22, 2014

Dave Hitesman, ’95 BSBA small business management, created a scholarship for students mirroring his experience at NAU. The Hitesman Family Scholarship is awarded to students who are currently enrolled in both the Honors Program and The W. A. Franke College of Business. Dave participated in both during his time at NAU and believed they were each instrumental to his success.

“The Honors Program and the College of Business had the most impact on my life here,” says Dave. “They both are programmed to have tremendous merit and value and I think it’s a good combination.”

Dave explains these experiences prepared him to enter the professional workforce, eventually leading to a successful career at W.L. Gore and beyond. He believes the recipients of the scholarship will go on to be successful, and will be inspired to give back to NAU like he did.

The Moreys fund student experiences through internship

September 22, 2014

Roy and Delores Moreys’ experiences at NAU were the inspiration for two gifts they have developed for NAU.

The first, the Morey-Vaughn Internship, provides financial support to students who have accepted government internships, much like the one Roy accepted after graduation.

The second is a gift to NAU’s Model UN club. The Morey’s financial support enabled the team, ranked in the top 50 teams in the United States, to travel to Brussels last spring to compete in the World Model UN Conference (MUN).

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust awards $1.5 million gift to NAU

July 30, 2014

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has awarded Northern Arizona University with a $1.5 million grant to support an expansion of its physician’s assistant program. The gift will be given over three years and will focus on developing the university’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The campus is currently shared between Northern Arizona students and the students of the University of Arizona’s medical school.

With this gift, the campus will be able to accommodate more students in these rising career fields. The physician’s assistant program has steadily grown in popularity since its launch in fall 2012, with hundreds of applicants each semester. Northern Arizona University is currently the only public university in Arizona to offer this graduate program, and this gift will enable the university to expand the program and campus, doubling the amount of students admitted each semester and giving it the edge in medical science.

W.M. Keck Foundation awards $1 million gift to NAU

July 30, 2014

The W.M. Keck foundation has awarded a $1 million gift to Northern Arizona University to support interdisciplinary research in muscle contraction. The team, led by Regent’s Professor Kiisa Nishikawa, includes students and faculty from physics, engineering, and bioscience who are excited to use the funding to enhance their work with muscle proteins and test their hypotheses. Their findings have the potential to change the way doctors and engineers understand physiology and robotics. With this generous gift, Northern Arizona University is able to continue its groundbreaking research and move into the forefront of bioscience and engineering.

The College of Health and Human Services receives $1 million gift

July 29, 2014

The Health Resources and Services Administration has granted a $1 million gift to the College of Health and Human Services at Northern Arizona University. This funding is the third installment of a $4.8 million Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students grant, and is designed to provide scholarships to nursing and dental hygiene students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The scholarships help eliminate financial barriers for so many of our students, but equally important are the opportunities this education funding brings to the underserved populations in our region,” says Denise Helm, professor and project director. “Many of our students come to Northern Arizona University from outlying areas that are medically underserved. They not only train in these communities, but our graduates often return there to live and work.”

More than 700 students have benefited from the 13 years that the project has received federal funds to support health professions education.

The Suder Foundation supports first-generation students

June 16, 2014

The Suder Foundation awarded $47,500 for two strategic initiatives at NAU focused on first-generation students. NAU will lead a collaborative effort between NAU and the University of Memphis in the First-Gen Workshops Initiative. This project will retool the First-Generation Workshop Series and includes launching a Family Weekend Reception for families of first-generation college students, and screening the film “First Generation.” A new Professional Development Initiative focuses on outreach across the university through academic and student service departmental presentations, a campus-wide speaker series, and offers first-generation advocate certification for participating faculty and staff. These programs support first-generation students and have the potential to serve as models for expansion at other universities.

The Del E. Webb Foundation makes an extraordinary gift

May 12, 2014

The Del E. Webb Foundation has granted a $1 million gift that will enable Northern Arizona University to complete 45,000 square feet of construction to the Health Sciences Education Building, a modern health education facility where graduate programs in physician assistant studies, physical therapy, and occupational therapy are held. This endeavor will fill currently unfinished space within the building, and allow the facility’s health programs to continue to expand.

Most of Arizona’s job growth in the next decade is predicted to take place within the health care industry, where the fields of physician assistants, physical therapists, and occupational therapists are expected to grow by more than 25 percent. Gifts like the one from the Del E. Webb Foundation are a testament to how the Campaign for NAU is sharply focused on the future, and on preparing our students for careers after graduation.

Student Wins Grant Award for NAU

April 7, 2014

Eugenia Fowlkes, ’14 BS, Criminal Justice and Political Science, is a member of NAU’s cohort for the Dorrance Scholarship Program. As a graduating senior she was recently asked to prepare a grant proposal for a non-profit organization of her choosing. She chose NAU’s Arizona Innocence Project (AIP) having participated as a student investigator and generally supporting their efforts. Her grant proposal was successful, and the Dorrance Scholarship Program awarded $4,000 to the AIP. Eugenia also works as an event manager for NAU’s Central Ticket Office and is a Parliamentarian for Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority.

NAU Employee Giving Campaign Kicks Off

March 31, 2014

NAU’s Employee Giving Campaign 2014 kicked off on March 31 encouraging student support from faculty and staff, who work most closely to students from their first day of orientation until their last day of classes. The Employee Giving Campaign seeks both to recognize the critical role that faculty and staff play in students’ lives as well as to encourage further philanthropic participation among employees. Last year’s Employee Giving Campaign attracted more than 900 employee gifts. This year, the goal is to secure support from more than 1,000 employees. Mason Gerety, Vice President for University Advancement, tells colleagues, “The people who work here are the ones who give NAU its heart. Your willingness to act allows us to tell parents, alumni and friends that those of us closest to the university stand together in support of our commitment to students.

Honored Alum Creates Education Scholarship

March 26, 2014

Claudette Gronski , ’88 EDD, is a greatly admired board member of the Desert Schools Credit Union in Phoenix. To show their appreciation for more than 20 years of her service, DSCU awarded Claudette an annual $1000 gift, in perpetuity, to her favorite charity. Claudette chose Northern Arizona University, and the Dr. Claudette Bonjean Gronski Scholarship in Education was established in her name and will be awarded for the first time this year. Additionally, Claudette and her husband, Arnie, both educators for more than 35 years, support the scholarship each year.

Alum Supports Veteran Student Center

March 20, 2014

The W. A. Franke College of Business (FCB) has been named one of the nation’s top business schools for veterans by Military Times in its “Best for Vets: Business Schools 2014” rankings. The college’s Veteran Student Center, ranked No. 6 among public business schools, No. 10 overall, and FCB is the top business school for military veterans in Arizona. Success like this is due to the generous support of funders like Dale Butcher, ’77 BSACC and his wife Julie, who have been instrumental in the development of the new FCB Veteran Student Center.

Giving Back to NAU Forensics

March 18, 2014

Victoria Fimea, ’83 BS Communication, and member of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Advancement Council, serves as the senior vice president and general counsel for Sammons Financial Group in Iowa, and proudly claims that her experience on NAU’s forensics team helped prepare her for law school. To show her gratitude she recently began a fund with a $40 thousand gift supporting the NAU forensics team. Victoria is known in SBS as one of those volunteers and alumni who is always willing to step up to further the mission of the college/ help, especially with concrete tasks. In fact, she has very proactively formed an “action team” to assist the School of Communication with its mini-campaign for the School of Communication: “$200 Thousand for 100 Years.”


Son of NAU’s Eighth President Assists Honor Students

March 17, 2013

NAU Honors students can soon apply for the Tormey Scholarship thanks to an estate gift by the son of by Dr. Thomas J. Tormey, the eighth president of (then) Arizona State Teachers’ College (Northern Arizona University). Thomas James Tormey, JD, University of Arizona Emeritus Professor of Law and Former Law Librarian, honors his father and his work at NAU with this gift. Highlights of President Tormey’s presidency include 1) The original Shrine of Ages Choir performance at the Grand Canyon; 2) Community night classes during the Great Depression; 3) Public Works Administration grants for campus improvement; and 4) The first master’s degree in education and first forestry courses. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Tormey became the general country chairman of the Civilian Defense Coordinating Council and resigned his presidency shortly thereafter. His son, Professor Tormey, passed away on February 25, 2013 having secured this generous gift establishing NAU Honors scholarships in perpetuity and honoring his father, President Tormey, forever.

New Endowed Award for Geology

February 10, 2014

Ulf, ’95 MS Geology, and Kelly Becker have established a new endowed award, The Becker Family Award in Geology. This fund is intended to assist field mapping and research expenses related to graduate and undergraduate studies in geology. Ulf is enthusiastic about the collaborative learning & field experience he gained at NAU, around the Colorado Plateau, the Basin & Range, and Grand Canyon. He and Kelly want the same for future students – they encourage other Geology alumni to support this or other endowed scholarships intended to benefit the Geology Program at NAU.

Alumni Establishes Class of ’64 Scholarship

February 10, 2014

Phil Whitmore, ’64 BSED Social Science, with the help of 19 other 1964 grads, has spearheaded an initiative to establish an endowed scholarship fund. His dedication to the cause, including hours of personal letters, emails and phone calls, has paid off. As of today he and his fellow alums are more than halfway towards endowing the “Class of 1964 and More Class Gift Scholarship.” This fund will support full-time undergraduates on the Flagstaff campus with priority given to students involved in campus activity. As they celebrate their 50th reunion this year, Phil is hopeful more alumni will chip in and bring the fund to endowment once and for all. He fondly notes to his classmates: “I want you all to know you are a pretty darned good bunch.”

Forestry Alumni Pledge Travel Support

February 3, 2014

Two School of Forestry alumni announced their pledge to establish the Wally Covington Student Travel Award, enhancing NAU’s forestry student experience. Drs. Dan Binkley, ’77 BSF, and Mike Ryan, ’78 MSF, studied with Dr. Covington, one of the nation’s most visible forest scientists, and they both credit him for influencing the course of their careers. These internationally successful experts plan to build this NAU fund to at least $100,000, which will help provide opportunities every year for students to attend conferences, workshops, and pursue other types of professional travel opportunities. They encourage fellow alumni to join them in building this fund and honoring the work of Dr. Covington.

Campaign for NAU an Opportunity to Honor Parents

January 17, 2014

Mike Beatty, ’77 BS Anthropology, began the new year by honoring his parents with the establishment of the John W. & Anne L. Beatty Innovation Fund in Community Planning. Mike’s dad served as the Planning and Zoning Director for the City of Phoenix for 27 years (1951-1978), and thus Mike has secured this support to enhance the student experience in the Community Planning Program. Students will have access to travel, guest speakers, and other educational enhancements as a result of this generosity.

The Montoyas End 2013 with A Major Gift to NAU’s Food Pantry

December 30, 2013

Inspired by the news that there are NAU students who are Pell-eligible but do not qualify for a meal plan, Ernest, ’82 BS Public Planning, and Katherine Montoya ended last year by supporting the beginning of an important new endeavor at NAU. The Montoyas established an endowed fund for the NAU Food Pantry (aka Louie’s Cupboard). This program, launched in October 2013 and managed by Student Support Services, assists students struggling with basic needs, ensuring that all NAU students have access to ample food supplies for themselves and their families. The Montoyas, who coordinate an annual food drive in their community, brought this passion to their alma mater where their investment will help hungry students in perpetuity.

National Initiative Partners with NAUTeach

November 18, 2013

The National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI) admires how NAU answers the challenge to train more math and science teachers and strengthen Arizona's pipeline of students entering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. "There has been a gap, nationally, between the vision for STEM education and classroom practices," says Dr. Pradeep Maxwell Dass, director of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning. "At NAU, the gap is being closed." NMSI's corporate-sponsored funding is crucial to the program's success. "This partnership will improve science and math education in Arizona and across the nation," Dass says.

Mentoring Program Launched with Alumni Support

November 11, 2013

CDR Al Sack, '71 BS in ED, USN (Ret), attributes his success to studying history at NAU, and wants the connection between liberal studies degrees and career achievement to be clear. To achieve this goal, he helped launch the History Department Mentoring and Job Assistance pilot program. "Al's leadership is a testament to the contributions a history student can make to the world," NAU history professor Dr. Chuck Connell says. The program reflects NAU's tradition of strong student-faculty relationships, will improve outlooks and opportunities for NAU liberal studies students, and will hopefully expand to other academic areas.

Retired Science Professor Gives to School of Music

November 4, 2013

Dr. Edwin B. Kurtz, a University of Texas biology professor, retired in Flagstaff and appreciates how NAU shares his priority in developing strong relationships between faculty and staff. A scientist and classical music aficionado, Kurtz gives to NAU's School of Music. Dr. Todd Sullivan, director of the School of Music, is grateful for Kurtz planned gift that will benefit music students in perpetuity. "Legacy gifts complete the evolution of the School of Music," Sullivan explains. "With the excellent faculty and recent facility improvement, we are ready and able to attract the highest caliber of talented music students."

Family Gives to Foster Student Program

October 28, 2013

According to Laurel Morrison, '85 BA, '96 MED, her family supports the Blavin Scholars program because they have witnessed the positive results mentoring can have with students at NAU. "We want students to succeed in college and experience a life better than their childhood," Bill Morrison explains. Sharon Downer, a Blavin Scholar, is grateful for her program mentor, Dr. Sara Alemán. "She and I have the same values, and she's a wonderful role model." Dr. Alemán has prioritized mentoring throughout her career as an NAU sociology professor. "Young people are our gift; it is our job to help them navigate and succeed."

California Couple Supports NAU Football

October 21, 2013

Lynn and Steve Valbuena, despite being neither NAU alumni nor Arizonans, are devoted supporters of both the university's Native American Cultural Center and NAU Football. Their loyalty stems from Lynn's membership in the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which supports Native American initiatives, and Steve's role as Assistant Head Football Coach at Fullerton College, where he coached Chima Ike. Ike, now a defensive tackle for NAU, is inspired by the Valbuenas and says he will someday give back to NAU. "How could I not give back to a place that has given me so much?"

Retired Professor Supports Swimmer Scholarship

October 18th, 2013

Gerald Ladhoff knows the demands placed on student-athletes. Once a competitive swimmer for UCLA, Ladhoff has a deep appreciation for the personal growth that comes through sport—an understanding that unquestionably impacted the athletes he taught over 25 years as an NAU professor of sociology and criminal justice. So inspired by his support and mentorship, one NAU graduate and former student-athlete established an endowed scholarship in Ladhoff's name. Now retired, Ladhoff and his wife, Susan, are generous contributors to the scholarship fund that bears his name and benefits his true passion: swimming. It's a meaningful connection with the Lumberjack community that he calls deeply gratifying. "NAU has given so much life to our family," he said.

Presidents Help CCC and NAU Students

October 17th, 2013

NAU President John Haeger and Coconino Community College President Leah Bornstein have a unique investment in the future of the students on their campuses. They've each personally given $20,000 toward an endowed scholarship that provides financial assistance to students who attend both institutions on their path toward a bachelor's degree. Patrick Hansen received the first CCC2NAU President's Scholarship in September 2012, and the endowment is expected to increase with matching donations. This distinctive collaboration sends a strong message that NAU is focused on student success at all levels.

Administrator Gives Back to Yavapai Campus

October 16th, 2013

As the leader of NAU's trailblazing Yavapai campus, Susan Johnstad believes so passionately in her campus's mission that she committed to give $5,000 per year in scholarship support, the equivalent of a full year's tuition at NAU-Yavapai. The campus offers structured programs in a limited number of degree options, with year-round classes instead of a semester system. It's a faster, more affordable option for students and an economic boon to the region. "This is my dream job, and I feel fortunate to be in a position of helping others achieve their academic and career goals," Johnstad said.

Wyss Foundation Boosts Land Conservation Careers

October 16th, 2013

A new generation of leaders in western land conservation is getting a boost from the Wyss Foundation that will help them launch their professional careers. The Wyss Scholars Program grants partial tuition payments to four graduate students while they complete their master's degrees in environmental sciences and policy at NAU. It also provides up to $5,000 to cover the students' summer research or internships, allowing students to learn the latest in conservation science and policy and apply that knowledge in careers at land management agencies and nonprofit conservation groups.

Suder Foundation Helps First Generation Students

October 15th, 2013

More than 40 percent of NAU's students are the first in their families to attend college, and the Suder Foundation is invested in helping them succeed. As one of seven universities selected to serve as a site for the Suder Foundation's First Scholars program, NAU is receiving $850,000 over the next five years, with $500,000 designated for student scholarships and the remainder for new programming and support. The innovative initiative bolsters NAU's longtime support for first-generation students and enhances the university's ability to help them make a successful transition to college and beyond.

Historic Landmark Gifted to NAU Foundation

October 15th, 2013

The iconic La Posada Hotel in Winslow has long maintained close ties to NAU and its academic programs, and now its future is intrinsically linked with the university.The owners have committed to bequest the hotel, its art museum and gardens to the NAU Foundation. In addition to collaborations in the arts, Native American culture and sustainable practices, La Posada's role will expand to include educational experiences for students in NAU's highly regarded School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and other disciplines on campus.

Johnson Scholarship Foundation Challenges Other Donors

October 14th, 2013

Native American students at NAU are gaining entrepreneurial skills that can impact the economy in their tribal communities. The Johnson Scholarship Foundation has committed $670,000 over five years to support Native students who aspire to be business leaders. With a challenge to others to help grow the fund into a $2.6 million endowment, NAU will open more doors to a bachelor¹s degree while helping build economically viable tribal communities and sparking new interest in the career field.

Pioneer Natural Resources Increases Support to Geology 

October 14th, 2013

Pioneer Natural Resources strengthened its commitment to NAU this year, pledging $550,000 to NAU's geology program, pushing its total support to more than $1 million. David Sanders, retiring corporate geoscience director at Pioneer, calls NAU "a textbook example" of why university partnerships work. "NAU geologists have Disneyland in their backyard—the Grand Canyon, Colorado Plateau and the San Francisco volcanic field. Students are able to go out to the field and touch, taste and sleep with rocks. Such experiences produce quality thinkers who contribute at a high level at Pioneer."