By Jerry Nabours,
Flagstaff Mayor and NAU alumnus
NAU was at its best from 1968 to 1971. Because that’s when I was a student!
Not because I was a great student or especially involved. It’s because I loved NAU.
I think that the university should be frozen in time as of the date of my graduation.
At Homecoming I should be able to visit the campus and see my cafeteria in the student union, which is now the 1899 Bar and Grill, go see my dorm room in Old Main, watch football in Lumberjack Stadium and see my old girlfriend’s sorority house in the quad. Aaahh – what have you done to my NAU!
Of course, the reality is that NAU has advanced every year in quality and prestige.
I remember when the reputation was that NAU was primarily for teachers. There may have been a little truth to that at one time but that’s certainly not true any more. Although NAU still graduates many teachers, its sciences, health services, engineering and technology degrees have also gained prominence.
NAU’s business college, hotel management, forest restoration institute, DNA lab and many other departments are nationally recognized. Students now come to NAU for specific programs because they are the best. A walk through campus shows you that there is a lot going on at NAU. Sure the look of the campus has changed. That’s not a bad thing.
As a student I did not pay much attention to the city. It seemed like a pretty nice place but it was the weather that sold me. During my 40 years here I have grown to love many other aspects of Flag.
Now as mayor, I have a unique view of NAU. It is a city within our city. We could not thrive without NAU and vice versa. Talk about a mutually beneficial arrangement – this is it. I am glad to report that President Cheng sees the city as an ally and a friend. She and I confer regularly to be sure we are not at cross purposes.
NAU hosts innumerable activities and entertainment that benefit the city. During the nationally broadcast men’s basketball post-season game this spring, the dome was full of cheering students and town folks. It was loud, fun and exciting. The out-of-state commentators were amazed. They said, “This is what college sports is all about.”
The Lumberjack camaraderie is one of things I look forward to during Homecoming festivities.
NAU served me well. If you are reading this you probably agree that your current success is due in large part to NAU.
Ok, I will admit it – I love NAU more now than in 1971.