Dozens of graduating seniors received golden honors Thursday night during a reception where they were recognized for their contributions to Northern Arizona University.
Twenty-two students received the university’s coveted Gold Axe Award for their achievements. Two of the winners—Shannon McClain and Haley Shukert—also received the prestigious President’s Prize for their exemplary leadership, academic excellence and service to the NAU community.
Eight students pictured below also were named Distinguished Seniors by their college. The awards were announced at the Gold Axe and Distinguished Seniors awards banquet in the Ashurst Auditorium.
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.
Students selected for a Gold Axe Award also are eligible for the President’s Prize, considered the highest student recognition from the university. After reviewing all the Gold Axe nominations, a universitywide committee makes its recommendations to President Rita Cheng, who then selects the President’s Prize winners.
Below are the winners of this semester’s Gold Axe awards, along with the NAU faculty or staff member the students named as having the most significant impact on them during their undergraduate career. View a photo album from the event online.