Celebrating our SBS Hall of Fame alumni
The Hall of Fame 2022 recognizes SBS alumni who have made significant contributions to the university, community, or their career. These renowned innovators have left a mark on NAU and the world, and they all began their journeys as Lumberjacks. The Hall of Fame award is presented to all inductees during Homecoming weekend.
Nominate a deserving alum for the 2023 SBS Hall of Fame.
Nomination Deadline: April 28, 2023
President’s Distinguished Alumni Award – Victoria Femia, EO & Affirmative Action Analyst, Senior – SPF
Victoria Femia was an outstanding student and was active on the Forensic Team, Spurs (service organization), and the Association of Women Students. For her leadership and scholarship, Victoria earned a Gold Axe Award and received the prestigious Truman Scholar award. She was the 1981 Harry S. Truman Scholar for the State of Arizona and a 1983 Rhodes Scholar finalist for the State of Arizona. She received her JD from American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. Her MA in Law and International Affairs emphasized international communications.
Victoria is admitted before many Federal courts covering the jurisdictions in which she is licensed, along with many of the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals. Notably, she is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
She is one of NAU’s most engaged alumni and created a very generous endowment in 2013 to support the Forensics Team. She serves on the SBS Advancement Council and has served on the NAU Foundation Board since 2014. Victoria was selected by the NAU Alumni Association in 2018 to receive the Jeff Ferris Volunteer of the Year award. Vicki can be counted on to step up whenever there is a need, whether it’s serving as mistress of ceremonies for the SBS Hall of Fame or taking on responsibilities for the Foundation Board.
Currently, Victoria serves NAU’s Equity and Access Office as a Senior Equal Opportunity Analyst. She also volunteers her time to NAU as it develops its RMI (Risk Management and Insurance) certificate program through The W. A. Franke College of Business. Victoria also serves on the Truman Scholars Association, interviewing candidates for the Truman Scholar Award.
Victoria is a role model for women seeking C-suite positions because she exemplifies professionalism, determination, and grace. As you read about her career progression, you will understand why she has been so successful professionally. Victoria now serves as a Senior Equal Opportunity Analyst for NAU’s Equity and Access Office.
Honorable John R. Brownlee, Superior Court Judge
The Honorable John R. Brownlee is Judge of the Superior Court for the State of California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University (1981–1985) and his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.
John was a Deputy District Attorney for the Kern County District Attorney’s Office from 1990–2007. While there he was assigned to every criminal division in the office, eventually becoming a member of the Special Prosecutions Unit, which handled homicide and sexual assault cases. He was later promoted to Supervising Deputy in charge of recruiting, hiring, training, and supervising all incoming misdemeanor deputies. He held this position until 2007, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the Superior Court bench.
Judge Brownlee has spent his entire career on the bench of criminal trial courts, presiding over everything from petty theft to special circumstances murder. He has overseen 330 jury trials to verdict and has heard thousands of other cases, including preliminary hearings, motions, and changes of plea. He presides over National Adoption Day every year and has finalized the adoption of hundreds of children to new, loving homes. This is especially important to him, as he was adopted at birth by the Brownlee family of Blythe, California.
In addition to running a busy trial court, he has been the Presiding Judge of the Appellate and the Misdemeanor Divisions, and the Assistant Presiding Judge of the Felony Division.
John is proud to have grown up watching Wallace and Ladmo and survived his freshman year in Sechrist Hall. He is married with two children.
Anne Buzzard, Director of Development – retired
Anne Buzzard’s early career was in parks and recreation, so it was a natural fit for her to pursue a degree in parks and recreation management while attending NAU. After graduating in 1978, she became the Recreation Superintendent for the City of Flagstaff. She stayed in that position until her second son, Brian, was born.
In 1984, Anne returned to work part-time for NAU’s College of Education. Her mentor, Margaret Hatcher, inspired Anne to start a group for women at NAU aspiring to move up the career ladder in a system then dominated by white males. University Career Women was born, and the president of the university, Eugene Hughes, took notice. He realized staff needed a voice in university life, so he asked Anne to lead the newly formed Service Professional Advisory Council, the counterpart to the Classified Staff Advisory Council.
While continuing to work full-time, Anne earned her master’s degree in public administration. She was hired by John Glenn, VP of Continuing Education, to direct the Evening Division program. She was asked by VP Henry Hooper to sit on the university-wide right-sizing committee to provide input into where the university should grow. Shortly after, Anne transferred to the growing Statewide Academic Programs. Anne became Coordinator for Navajo-Hopi, initially working on a Ford Foundation grant designed to certify Native American teacher aides to become classroom teachers. After that funding ended, Anne took over publicizing statewide academic programs to recruit students and agencies across the state looking to NAU to fulfill its mission of serving rural Arizona.
When Clara Lovett became NAU president, she hired NAU’s first Marketing VP, Kurt Davis. Kurt created his marketing staff by culling any staff member across the university with “publicity “or “marketing” responsibilities. Overnight, Anne had a new boss and career path. Anne worked in the marketing department for eight years, eventually being promoted to Marketing Manager. Under the direction of Mr. Davis and Carla Andrews-O’hara, NAU rebranded its image, and enrollment numbers skyrocketed as a result. University Marketing guided the process of creating new logos for NAU Athletics and the university as a whole. Because Anne’s son Brian played on the NAU championship football team and her daughter Diane was a star defensive player for the championship soccer team, she became the liaison for athletics marketing, working with Kent Haslam, Associate AD. Anne also volunteered with Coach Souers to coordinate the Quarterback Club, a fundraising group of boosters for the football team. She enjoyed that role so much that she decided to apply for a development position in Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Anne stayed in that job for 14 years, loving every minute, and encouraging philanthropists to invest in our great university. According to the Advancement Office, Anne directly or indirectly raised $10 million during her career in development.
Judge Tiffany L. Palmer, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, PA
The Honorable Tiffany L. Palmer is a Pennsylvania state court trial judge currently serving in the Family Division of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Judge Palmer presides over child custody, protection from abuse, divorce, and special immigrant juvenile status cases. She was elected in 2019 to serve a 10-year term and received the highest number of votes of any judicial candidate in the 2019 Pennsylvania general election.
Judge Palmer serves her community as an active member of many organizations. She is a judicial member of the Nicholas Cipriani American Inn of Court. She is a Judicial Fellow to the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Judges, serving on the Immigration and LGBTQ Committees. She has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges. Judge Palmer was the Director of the Family Law Institute of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association from 2017–2019.
Judge Palmer is also the recipient of several honors and awards. In 2019, Judge Palmer received the Leading Practitioner Award from the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. She was awarded the 2019 Hazel Frank Gluck Award from the Center for American Women in Politics. In 2018, Judge Palmer received the Justice in Action Award from the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia for her legal work on behalf of LGBTQ rights. In 2014, she received the Rutgers University School of Law Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award for her case work and pro bono service advancing the rights of LGBTQ families in Pennsylvania.
Prior to her election to the bench, Judge Palmer practiced law for 20 years. She co-founded a law firm in 2003 practicing in the areas of LGBTQ family law, adoption, and assisted reproductive technology law. She represented clients in federal and state courts on cutting-edge legal issues such as surrogacy and same-sex marriage, garnering national media attention. From 2000–2003, Judge Palmer was the first Legal Director at Equality Advocates Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1998 to 2000, she was the Family Rights Project Attorney through a prestigious national Equal Justice Works fellowship for public interest law. She graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 1998 with a joint degree in law and a master’s degree in public policy.
Judge Palmer is a 1994 graduate of Northern Arizona University, earning a Bachelor of Science in journalism. During her time at NAU, she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Lumberjack. She also served a term in the ASNAU Senate and founded a student chapter of the Women’s Political Caucus on campus. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife, their teenager, and their cattle dog.