About 2,450 Northern Arizona University students will be conferred with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during one of two commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 17, at NAU’s Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.
Three individuals also will be awarded honorary doctor of humane letters degrees during the ceremonies for their contributions to the university, their communities and their professions.
At the 10 a.m. ceremony, Bill Bidwill, chairman and owner of the Arizona Cardinals, and Bruce Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom and Associates, each will receive their honorary doctorate in front of graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and The W.A. Franke College of Business.
Bidwill has presided over the nation’s oldest continuously operated professional football franchise as sole owner since 1972. His association with the Cardinals began as a child ball boy in Chicago, where his father ran the club from 1932 until his death in 1947. Bidwill has been credited with leading the effort to bring two Super Bowls to Arizona. He is an active supporter of various civic and charitable organizations and endeavors, including Cardinals’ Charities, the team’s organization dedicated to supporting worthy Arizona causes. In 2009, the Flagstaff Sports Foundation inducted Bidwill into its Hall of Fame, recognizing his contribution to the city through bringing the Cardinals to northern Arizona for more than 20 years.
Nordstrom is a role model for community involvement and leadership. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1971 and has worked in public accounting since. He is the managing partner for Nordstrom and Associates in Flagstaff and has numerous professional and civic affiliations, including past director of the Greater Flagstaff Economic Council and the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, and as director and past chair of the University Medical Center in Tucson and past chair of the Flagstaff Forty. Currently he serves as director of the board of directors for Pinnacle West Capital Corp. and Arizona Public Service. Nordstrom was awarded the Arizona Society of CPAs Public Service Award in 1998, and in 2002 he received the Arizona Society of CPAs Life Member Award for service to the profession.
NAU professor emeritus Henry O. Hooper will receive his honorary degree at the 3 p.m. ceremony on Dec. 17 in front of graduates from the colleges of Education; Health and Human Services; and the Yuma branch campus. Hooper received his engineering degree from the University of Maine in 1956 and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Brown University. He taught physics at Wayne State University and the University of Maine, where he became chair of the physics department and also served as dean of the graduate school, vice president for Academic Affairs and interim president. In 1981, Hooper came to Northern Arizona University, where he served in a number of administrative roles and helped establish the Office of Grants and Contract Services, the Bilby Research Center, the Science and Mathematics Learning Center and the Center for Sustainable Environments. He retired from NAU in 1999. He is currently president of the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation, which grants about $1.3 million in funds each year to support health and health education for Native Americans in the Four Corners states.