Northern Arizona University announced its President’s Prize winners, Gold Axe honorees and Distinguished Seniors at an awards banquet at the High Country Conference Center on Tuesday.

2017 President's Prize winners

2017 President’s Prize winners with NAU President Rita Cheng

Of the 45 Gold Axe winners, Cheyenne Adamonis, Amanda Crawford, Leigh Kimble, Matthew Nielsen and Vanessa Pomeroy were selected as President’s Prize winners. This is the highest student recognition from the university.  After reviewing all the Gold Axe nominations, a university committee makes its recommendations to President Rita Cheng, who then selects the President’s Prize winners.

An additional six graduating seniors—Brianna Zgurich, Karely Rodriguez, Amy Wuthrich, Kiril Kirkov, Alyssa Kewenvoyouma and Cheyenne Adamonis—were honored as Distinguished Seniors, an award given by the individual colleges at NAU.

“Every year we see seniors who work hard, give back to their community, act as leaders both on and off

2017 Distinguished Scholars


2017 Distinguished Scholars

campus and represent NAU in the best way possible, and we single out the best for the Gold Axe Awards,” President Cheng said. “Congratulations to all of the recipients for the contributions they have made to NAU. I am excited to see all that you accomplish as alumni of this great university.”

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.