Students unwrap honor for caring teacher

Business communication instructor Mary Bowers was at a loss for words this morning after learning Northern Arizona University’s 2011 Homecoming is being dedicated in her honor.

Bowers, who also directs the Business Communication Center in The W.A. Franke College of Business, was told of the special recognition when several members of NAU’s Chain Gang club unexpectedly entered her classroom and shared the news of her selection. As her students applauded, a stunned Bowers said, “NAU is the best place on Earth, isn’t it?”

Often called a favorite teacher among business students, Bowers has prepared and led teams of students in the college’s innovative BizBlock program, which teaches students how to prepare extensive business plans, present those plans and request funding from mock venture capitalists.

“She is a personable, caring professor that knows every student’s name on the first day of class,” wrote her anonymous nominators. “More than that, Ms. Bowers cares for students on an individual basis. …She is a wonderful professor and makes the sometimes very dry subject of business communications incredibly entertaining and fun.”

2011 Homecoming Button

Members of Chain Gang will be selling these custom buttons with 2011 dedicatee Mary Bowers’ photo, a Homecoming tradition for decades.

Members of the student club Chain Gang uphold the tradition of notifying the dedicatee and organizing the Dedicatee Banquet. Bowers will be honored at the annual Homecoming Dedicatee Banquet scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the High Country Conference Center. Tickets are $8 for students and $16 for non-students and are available through ASNAU in the University Union, room 206.In a custom dating back to 1936, leaders of student organizations from across campus annually select a Homecoming dedicatee—an NAU faculty or staff member for at least 10 years who students feel has demonstrated exceptional service to the university and interest in its students. Dedicatees are honored during major events during Homecoming Week, which includes a banquet in their honor and a place in the Homecoming parade.

Bowers has taught since 1988 and has been with NAU since 2000. In 2009, she was named Teacher of the Year for The W.A. Franke College of Business, and has three times been named the most influential faculty member by graduating seniors who have received the coveted Gold Axe Award.

She holds an MBA from the University of Toledo and a bachelor’s degree from Heidlelberg College.