Let Inside NAU take you back in time with tidbits of university history.

History lesson: Marking change

The north, brick wall of the NAU Fieldhouse bears a crest that once marked an important passage in the history of NAU.

On May 1, 1966, Arizona State College officially became a university under the new name of Northern Arizona University and the crest was created by Robert Jacobson, former NAU art professor, to signify this change in status.

In Mountain Campus Centennial, Platt Cline describes the excitement felt on campus on May 1, 1966, the day of the official convocation ceremony.

“The convocation ceremony from which all of these events gained significance was held in the newly rechristened University Union auditorium before an audience of more than 1,000. First was the grand procession. Everyone loves a parade, no less the staid academicians who now, in the ancient tradition, garbed themselves in colorful gowns, caps and hoods, and marched in solemn but delighted dignity to their places. Following choral and orchestral numbers, the colors, pennants, or crests of campus organizations were presented, and special guests introduced, thoughtfully including every member of the legislature present. Regent Sharber introduced Gov. [Sam] Goddard, and then Mrs. Vivian Lahti Boysen, the president of the regents, made official proclamation of university status. Walkup responded, and the president of the student body, Dennis Wilson, displayed the new and now-familiar university crest.”

Today, the crest is no longer a familiar sight on campus, other than at the fieldhouse or adorning wooden alumni chairs around campus. However, it used to be on university letterhead, publications and library book plates from its inception in 1966 through the early 1980s.