By Betsy Mennell, Associate Vice President for University Advancement

Tim and Rhonda Snider have been especially generous to Northern Arizona University. So have William Franke, of course, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation and Arizona Public Service.

Donations large and small are increasing at NAU because donors realize that their investment in higher education leads to personal success for students and economic growth for the state. While gifts of all sizes make a difference, lately the university has been the recipient of several that are a million dollars or more.

It’s a testament to our faculty, staff, students and administrators that generous benefactors see NAU’s role in the future for young adults, and it’s a future they want to support.

Many donors choose to support scholarships because providing financial aid is one of the best and simplest ways to help our students.

But there are other opportunities as well. For example:

  • Twenty students from NAU’s Franke College of Business will travel to Omaha to meet with business magnate and philanthropist Warren Buffett, participate in a Q&A session with him and tour two of his companies. Contributions from alumni and friends support student travel costs, so students’ ability to pay is not a factor in the application process for who is chosen to represent NAU on this trip.
  • A private grant allows dental hygiene students to deliver dental care on the Navajo reservation, providing free care for those who may not be able to afford it, as well as affording students an opportunity to enhance their skills.
  • Tim and Rhonda Snider will establish a $1,000,000 endowment for the Snider Family Scholarship Fund to support first-generation college students with family obligations.  

About 40 percent of NAU’s students are first-generation students, meaning they are the first in their families to attend an institution of higher learning. We know that financial need is significant. We also know that when these students graduate, their economic situation will vastly improve, which benefits their families and all of Arizona.