Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
A row of students wearing caps and gowns at a Commencement ceremony.

Spring Commencement at NAU

Dear Lumberjacks,

In two weeks, more than 5,200 graduates will join the ranks of NAU’s worldwide alumni network, completing their studies and celebrating with family and friends at the Skydome. This celebration is a testament to our students’ talent and pursuit of knowledge and to the dedication and support offered by our faculty and staff who fuel their success.

As is tradition, at this year’s graduation ceremonies we will award four outstanding individuals with honorary doctoral degrees—the university’s highest recognition, which is reserved for eminent individuals whose lifelong contributions to society embody our university’s values. Each honorary doctorate will also be the commencement speaker for their ceremony.

Our four exceptional honorary doctorate recipients are listed below. I look forward to celebrating their life achievements and to having them share their stories with our graduates:

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be recognized for his pioneering work in science and technology and his longstanding thought leadership and philanthropic commitment to creating a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. As NAU advances its mission to deliver equitable postsecondary value, we are honored to have the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as we seek to ensure that the talent and aspirations of people in Arizona and beyond are met with the opportunity to realize economic mobility and social impact—shaping a brighter future for themselves and the communities they represent.

Arturo A. Massol-Deyá, executive director of Casa Pueblo, will be honored for his contributions to environmental protection, renewable energy, and climate and social justice. Throughout his career as a scholar, advocate, and change-agent, he has worked with great intentionality to translate all that he has learned into meaningful and transformative actions that benefit his community in Puerto Rico.

Ty White, the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year, is an exceptional educator who has committed himself to advancing STEM and rural education for the betterment of communities in our state. Since NAU’s founding as a teachers’ college in 1899, we have long served as a leader in teacher education for the state and recognize Ty’s tremendous contributions to advancing this most noble profession.

David P. Franke, principal at Franke & Company, Inc., will be honored for his contributions to educational philanthropy and leadership in private investment endeavors. Dave not only is a tremendous business leader, but he also has a deep and longstanding connection to NAU, where he serves as chair of the NAU Foundation board of directors and has been a staunch advocate for broadening philanthropic engagement with the university and advancing NAU’s mission.

For more details on our honorary doctorate recipients, I encourage you to read the full press release that includes their biographical details.

I look forward to celebrating with our students, their families and friends, and our faculty and staff on May 12 and 13 and to bringing a successful conclusion to this truly exceptional spring semester at NAU.

José Luis Cruz Rivera