Lumberjack pride was worth its weight in gold at a reception Wednesday night where dozens of graduating seniors were recognized for their contributions to Northern Arizona University.
Twenty-two students received the coveted Gold Axe Award for their achievements, and two students were singled out to receive the university’s highest honor—the President’s Prize. Magali Chavez and Isela Ramirez, pictured at right, were honored for their exemplary leadership, academic excellence and service to the NAU community.
The awards were announced at the Gold Axe and Distinguished Seniors awards banquet at the High Country Conference Center.
The tradition of the Gold Axe Award dates back to 1933, a year after the student body adopted the axe as the symbol for Lumberjack athletics. It was then that NAU adopted the tradition of awarding small gold axe pins to outstanding members of the student body. To this day, the gold axe pin is considered the official emblem of the Associated Students of NAU and is presented each semester to recognize students’ outstanding achievements and distinguished service to the university and the greater community.
Students selected for a Gold Axe Award also are eligible for the President’s Prize, considered the highest student recognition from the university. After reviewing all the Gold Axe nominations, a universitywide committee makes its recommendations to President John Haeger, who then selects the President’s Prize winners.
Also at the reception, six students were named as Distinguished Seniors by their college.
Pictured at right are accountancy major Bradley Randall for the W.A. Franke College of Business; political science major Brian Plonsky for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; university studies/theater and studio art major Elizabeth Savage for University College; biomedical science and chemistry and health pre-professional major Christian Hochhalter for the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences; elementary and special education major Gabrielle (Elle) Bittner for the College of Education; and elementary Spanish education major Sally Barnes for the College of Arts and Letters.
Below are this year’s Gold Axe Award winners, along with the NAU faculty or staff member the students named as having the most significant impact on them during their undergraduate career.