NAU astronomers, used to peering deep into space, only had to look in their own front yard for funding for a new 20-inch telescope for the campus Atmospheric Research Observatory.

Besides donations from alumni, numerous groups across campus and every member of the physics and astronomy department, two NAU leaders have stepped up with the money needed to bring the dream of the new telescope into focus.

Susanna Maxwell, vice provost for Academic Personnel, and husband, Barry L. Lutz, interim dean for the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences, are donating the remaining $50,000 needed to purchase the telescope.

The funding was unveiled during a private ceremony at the observatory Tuesday evening, along with naming the telescope, the Barry L. Lutz Telescope for Education and Training.

“Ever since I have known Barry, he’s been committed to making science accessible to both students and the public,” Maxwell said. “He believes that creating an appreciation for science is key for a healthy world.”

Lutz said he is glad to be able to make a difference.

“The physics and astronomy department has developed a very strong national presence in astronomy education and in the preparation of future research scientists, and this new telescope will be a gemstone in its programs,” commented Lutz, the former chair of the physics and astronomy department. “We really appreciate the opportunity to provide the enabling gift for this very important educational facility.”
Telescope fundraising zooms in on star givers

Like Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, NAU has a Wall of Stars.

To raise funds to improve its astronomy education and outreach programs, the Department of Physics and Astronomy is inscribing donor names on metal stars that will be permanently displayed on a four-by-eight-foot plaque of donors in the Campus Observatory. Small stars are $100, medium stars are $250 and large stars require a $500 donation.

To donate, contact David Cornelison at (928) 523-7641 or e-mail David.Cornelison@nau.edu.