Only at NAU Moments
Randol G. Batson, ’64 BSBA
In the early 1960s, Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University) was one large family. Every student had a persona and an identity known to others; we were not just a matriculation number or a face in the crowd. I came to ASC an only child, but left there with two brothers who have remained integral members of my family for more than 50 years. I met my wife at ASC, and she was a member of the last class to graduate before Arizona State College became NAU. Our marriage is now in its 49th year. Our two sons are both proud and loyal NAU grads, and hopefully, our grandchildren will be Lumberjacks, too. The powerful influence of the Lumberjack tradition spreads like Ponderosa pollen in the wind.
Lori Delgado (Barraza), ’04 BSED
My "Only at NAU” story involves one of the many 3:00 a.m. fire drills we experienced in Mountain View Hall. One snowy Sunday night, the Fire Department had to make two appearances: once for when a stuck elevator resulted—for some odd reason— in a complete building evacuation; and then again when someone thought it would be funny to microwave their hot wings for way too long! (I've long since forgiven that poor ATO but will never forget it.) The next day, I showed up exhausted for my teaching internship with second graders, but I was relieved to find out that a parent would be presenting for career day. So as I stayed in the back of the classroom and worked on miscellaneous tasks while trying hard to stay awake, I suddenly heard a familiar voice telling the second graders to "be nice to your poor student teacher - she had a long night out because of some chicken wings!" All the students chuckled, and I popped up only to discover that the day’s parent presenter was the very same Fire Captain who had responded to both calls the night before in my dorm. Thoroughly embarrassed, I thanked him for his quick response and warned the children to never use a microwave without their parents' supervision (what a great teacher!). I baked cookies and delivered them to the fire station the next week. Only at NAU can you have such a positive interaction with the community!
Gary Emanuel, ’67 BS Social Science, ’68 MA History
My defining moment at NAU (then Arizona State College) came in my sophomore year. I was a member of Sophos, a sophomore men's service honorary, and our faculty sponsor, and the Academic Dean, was Dr. Charles Meister. Dr. Meister was a wonderful mentor and personally counseled many of us. As I had the best grade point average in the club, he hadn’t approached me, but he wondered about my social life. "I never see you with a date at the social events," he said. As I was first generation and determined to succeed, I had given up dating. He thought I was missing one of the best parts of college life. "There are plenty of good looking blondes here on campus," he told me. Three years later, I visited Dr. Meister at Eastern New Mexico University, where he was president. I reminded him of his advice and noted that he should be careful because some of his students took him seriously—I then asked permission to marry his daughter, Marilyn, a good looking "blonde." We married in 1969 after she earned her BA in Elementary Education.
Wilma (Hartwick) Cuevas, ’76 BS Communication, Journalism
Journalism classes in 1973 and 1974 changed because of Watergate and Woodward and Bernstein. Every poly-sci major on campus decided to become a journalist. Those of us in it for the love of journalism and writing watched as our professors weeded through students and continued to encourage us. I specifically remember Professor Ray Newton giving me an incomplete in one of my writing classes. When I asked him why, he told me that it was because I had a "B", but he knew I was an "A" student. My incomplete could be turned into an “A” when I submitted specific assignments over the break, which I did and earned my "A.” He was one of many professors at NAU who cared about his students and who taught us to give our best in everything we did.
Robin Braun, ’77 BA
My NAU experience gave me the confidence to push myself, dream big, and accomplish the things that I really wanted to do in my life, including joining the Navy and becoming a pilot. One of my mentors at NAU sat me down and really encouraged me to pursue my passion. He connected me with other NAU students who had become Navy pilots, and I reached out to those gentlemen and we began networking. They helped me in my journey to join the Navy and become a Navy pilot.
Paul Keim, ’77 BS, Biology and Chemistry
Maybe the best course I ever took was from Russ Balda, who was an ecologist here. He brought us up and down the peaks, running transects every week. We were just amazingly overworked in that class, and yet it's the class I remember the most. I'm not really an ecologist; I'm an infectious disease specialist, and I was trained a biochemist, as a geneticist. But those principles of ecology that I learned as a 20-year-old were so well delivered by Russ and his teaching staff that they affect everything I do today, even when I'm thinking about infectious diseases around the world.
Gary Allegretto, ’82 BSF Ecosystem Science and Management
NAU has presented three banners on campus honoring me as a mentor and an alumnus of distinction for my humanitarian work (harmonikids.org). I'm proud to be in the company of Carlos Nakai, the president of Qualcom, and a former AZ governor and others. My "Only at NAU” moment occurred when I visited NAU to witness this honor for myself. I asked a current student to take a shot of me under my banner. He looked confused until I explained that it was me. Then his eyes got wide and he said, "Maybe I'll have my own banner on campus one day.” I said, "Why not? I am living proof that anything can happen if you follow your heart.” NAU was where I first cast my dreams into the wind. It was there I learned that if I visualized and worked hard at what I wanted to accomplish, it would set things in motion to make my dreams come true. My Flagstaff years were a bright and shining part of my life. I carry my NAU memories with me wherever I go - and I'm mighty proud that a symbol of the realization of my dreams is still flappin' in the wind on campus. Go Lumberjacks!
Lori Randel, ’86 BS, Geography/Cartography
I transferred into NAU as a junior and chose a geography major/cartography minor. Dr Stan Swartz was not only a great teacher, but a great advisor. It seemed like whatever classes I asked him about across NAU, he had already taken them and could offer perspective. Another great moment I have from NAU is learning calligraphy from Dick Beasley. He was such a down to earth guy, and it wasn’t until I moved to Oregon that I find out he was a world-famous calligrapher! I stumbled on a calligraphy guild in Portland named after him! I loved my time at NAU!
Ken Sarnowski, ’89 BS, Business and Hotel Management
I don’t know if I can narrow down my great NAU experience to just one moment. I spent seven wonderful years at NAU from 1982-89. I lived on North Campus in Bury Hall all seven years. The small class sizes made learning a pleasure. The professors, students, classes, and intramural sports were all very outstanding. It took a great effort, but I promise you that I was one of the proudest graduates in Flagstaff in May of 1989! The clubs on campus were excellent--I especially enjoyed Circle K International, where I could help those in need. Dinners in the dining halls were a special time and I made great friends there, several of whom became my lifelong friends. My NAU experience has made me a much better person and provided me with a stellar educational experience that I would recommend to anyone.
Charles Hoffman ’91 BS, Criminal Justice
I was an Army ROTC cadet at NAU in 1990. We had an amazing instructor: Master Sergeant Peterson (MSG Pete), an Army Green Beret, a Special Forces soldier, and a great American. As an avid mountaineer, he hatched a plan for the cadets. Before home football games, he decided that we should rappel from the top of the Walkup Skydome to the field below with the American flag. MSG Pete pushed his idea through Army and NAU red tape until he finally got permission. Fellow cadets and alums Troy Huggett, Tom Groggett, Aaron Termain, and I all had the opportunity to climb over the rail, way up in the top of the Skydome, and hang out in the open air, far above the turf. It was an amazing experience.
Brandon Jovanovich, ’94 BA, Theatre
I attribute a lot of what I've accomplished to the NAU Director of Opera Theatre and Professor of Voice Dr. Lloyd Hansen. He gave me so many opportunities, and he was able to teach me the craft from the ground up, providing me the foundation for everything: dancing, movement, singing, and how to act on stage. Most importantly, he taught me how to relate to the audience and really open up on stage, benefiting not only my fellow actors, but the audience as well. Out of all the great moments I had at NAU, my experience with Doctor Hansen was really the one that sticks out the most.
Joy Gaeraths, ’98 BS, Sociology
My “Only at NAU” moment was the day I spent with Ben Howland, who was the head coach of NAU Men's Basketball in 1998. One day, an RA was selling raffle tickets for the chance to win a day with a selection of prominent people on campus. The tickets were $5, and I happened to have a $5 bill in my pocket. I figured that I would have no chance to win, but I wanted to support the group that was attached to the raffle for fundraising purposes, so I bought my one ticket.
To my surprise, I won! Coach Howland himself left a message on my answering machine to tell me the news. We made the arrangements, and I spent an entire day with him learning about what he does for NAU. I had lunch with some of the team and attended the practice and a game. I know that this is something that would happen for a student “only at NAU.”
Danae Marinelli, ’02 BS Theater
My Only at NAU moment was actually the moment I decided to go to NAU—and had just moved into my dorm at the University of Arizona! Things just didn't feel right there. You see, I had spent five summers at NAU music camp where I always felt very at home. Three days into school at UofA, I knew I had made the wrong decision. I called Phillip Swanson, a flute professor in the school of music, and explained the situation to see if there was any way I could switch schools. He said, "Of course!" and I withdrew from U of A and was moved into Reilly Hall by the Sunday before school started. Throughout my four years at NAU, I had professors like Phil Swanson in many classes, people who worked hard and who cared about me. They made my time at NAU great. I don't know what Mr. Swanson did to get me into school so quickly, but it changed my path in life and made me who I am today: a successful music educator, aspiring to be as important to my students as my NAU professors were, and are, for me.
Shaun El-Ters, ’09 BA, English
Professor Allred had a huge effect on my undergraduate career. I took his Biology 100 class as a freshman. One day, he told me I was capable of achieving much more than I was, and he challenged me to get A’s on the next two exams. His belief in me as an individual motivated me to reach that goal. I realized that I was capable of getting those grades if I put the work in. So much credit goes to Prof Allred for pushing me to achieve my potential when I was content to simply coast.
Heather Eastman, ’13 BA, Applied Indigenous Studies and Anthropology
My defining moments at NAU were when I took my first courses in anthropology and applied indigenous studies with Dr. Antes and Dr. Ishii, respectively. They helped me realize exactly what field I wanted to enter—archaeology and the protection of culture. I was so inspired by both of my professors that I switched my major the first day of class and, later, I decided to become a Teaching Assistant so I could be a part of our community at NAU. The professors at NAU taught me the value of learning for the sake of knowledge and passion, and I am so grateful for the possibilities they have shown me.
Jessica Flood, ’13 BA, English
The most defining moment of my time at NAU didn't just shape my college experience, but my life after NAU as well. I received a Resident Assistant position on campus, and it completely changed my life. After spending a whole semester without knowing anyone, I suddenly had not only friends, but a family on campus. My RA family became my biggest support while I was at NAU: they helped me through bad breakups, family loss, and disappointment, and they were always there to cheer me on through some of my greatest achievements and growth. The training I received through the program has benefited my career after school as well—I find myself always referring back to RA training when I face challenges at work. I look back on all my memories at NAU as a great time of development and learning, and I can honestly say I am the person I am today because of my time spent as a Resident Assistant on the NAU campus.
Deborah Hamm, ’15 BS, Physics and Mathematics
My favorite moment at NAU was when astronomy professor Dr. David Trilling recruited me into his research group. This was an important moment for me because I knew I wanted to be involved in research, but I wasn't sure how to get involved. He let me know that I was thought of as a hardworking student in the department and that he was looking for great students to be a part of his team. We talked about what kind of project would best suit my goals as a student. Because I had very little computational experience, I chose to work on a project that would challenge me so that I could acquire new skills and gain confidence. My project is using data from ground-based telescopes to search for objects in the outer solar system with the motion expected from Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs). In the year that I have worked on this project, my computational skills have grown tremendously, and I've gained invaluable experience presenting my work in group meetings and at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in Spring ‘13. I've been working closely with Dr. Cesar Fuentes, one of the postdocs from Dr. Trilling's team, and it has been through their patient mentorship that I've had such a great experience on this project.