Biology professor named homecoming dedicatee

David Pierotti
David Pierotti
Members of NAU Chain Gang will be selling these custom buttons with 2013 dedicatee David Pierotti’s photo, a Homecoming tradition.

Professor David Pierotti’s Wednesday morning Human Anatomy and Physiology class ended differently than planned.

As Pierotti wrapped up his 8 a.m. lecture, members of NAU’s Chain Gang—a student group that maintains university traditions—unexpectedly entered his classroom and announced to Pierotti that NAU’s 2013 Homecoming was being dedicated in his honor.

“Wow. I am blown away,” said a stunned Pierotti as Chain Gang members acted out the time-honored custom of presenting dedicatees with a button emblazoned with their photograph. “I certainly couldn’t have expected such a finish to class. I am in shock and will be in shock for a couple of days,” Pierotti said.

In a tradition that dates back to 1936, students annually select a Homecoming dedicatee, an NAU faculty or staff member whom students feel has demonstrated exceptional service to the university and interest in its students. Dedicatees are honored during major events during Homecoming Week, which includes a banquet in their honor and a place in the Homecoming parade.

NAU News was on the scene when David Pierotti was left speechless after being told by members of NAU Chain Gang that he had been selected the 2013 Homecoming Dedicatee. “All I can say is, class dismissed!” he tells his students in the Instagram video above.

Before dismissing his class, Pierotti profusely thanked his students for the tremendous honor. “I am totally thrilled and very gratified as this recognition comes from you—the students. I owe you,” he said to an applauding class.

A two-time alum with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from NAU, Pierotti began teaching at NAU in 1997. His hands-on teaching style and campus involvement has earned him a special place among students.

Pierotti is a three-time recipient of the student-nominated LOUIE Award and has twice been named the most influential faculty member by graduating seniors who have received the coveted Gold Axe Award.

Pierotti will be celebrated at the annual Homecoming Dedicatee Banquet scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the High Country Conference Center. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for non-students and are available through the Central Ticket Office. Cash, check, dining dollars and JDE accepted.