An 8 a.m. forestry class got a surprise Tuesday morning when a couple dozen students, staff and faculty members entered with balloons, glittery posters and buttons with the professor’s face on them.
“Dr. Fox is looking a little shocked!” Dean of Students Cindy Anderson teased Bruce Fox, the School of Forestry professor whose lecture just took a surprise turn.
“No, I’m looking a lot shocked,” Fox said as his class laughed.
Fox, a Northern Arizona University faculty member of more than two decades, added one more bullet point to his long list of accomplishments: Homecoming dedicatee. Every year since 1939, the student body chooses an NAU faculty or staff member to be honored during homecoming. He or she has been with the university for at least 10 years and demonstrated exceptional service to the university and its students.
This year, it was Fox—and it came with donuts for Fox’s students.
“To say I was stunned to be selected as Homecoming Dedicatee is a colossal understatement,” Fox said. “Being recognized by students in this way is one of the best honors I have ever received as a faculty member. Looking back, I never thought that I would ever be selected for this award. Guess you should never say never.”
In her letter nominating Fox, Tori O’Reilly, the chief of staff for the Associated Students of Northern Arizona University highlighted his authentic, engaged support for student projects, programs and organizations and cited his engagement with students in the formulation of inspired ideas. Fox shares his experience, insights and advice, the students wrote, even taking time to take students to lunch to celebrate their accomplishments or acting as a faculty adviser to many student organizations.
In Fox’s more than two decades as a faculty member in the School of Forestry, he has been chair of the school, coordinator of graduate studies and a member of the Faculty Status and Curriculum committees. He still is a member of a team to develop funding for long-term studies of changes in pinon-juniper forests since Euro-American settlements.
Fox’s influence, however, extends beyond forestry. He has been director of the University Honors Program and Master of Administration Program, member of the Academic Chairs Council, chair of the Liberal Studies committee and chair of the Faculty Senate. His most recent assignment is faculty ombudsman.
“Bruce dedicates his time and energy to serving NAU in multiple ways, each and every day. This is seen through his students in forestry, his dedication to the study of the topic and how much his students appreciate his dedication as well,” O’Reilly said in a statement to Fox’s class on Tuesday morning. “Bruce is a great example of having true Lumberjack spirit. In the short time I have known Bruce, he has made a huge impact on me, and I can’t imagine the countless number of lives he has touched before me and will continue to do so when I am gone.”
For more information about the various Homecoming activities, including a brunch honoring Fox on Oct. 21, visit the Homecoming website.