President Rita Cheng to rename NAU buildings in honor of past presidents Lovett, Haegar

Health and Learning Center Panorama

President Rita Cheng announced today that she will rename two buildings in honor of past presidents and their significant contributions to NAU and its mission of research and student success.

The art museum in Old Main will be renamed in honor of 13th president Clara Lovett, and the Health and Learning Center will be renamed for 15th President John Haegar.

“It is with great pride I recognize Dr. Lovett and Dr. Haeger, whose exceptional accomplishments and noteworthy legacies contributed tremendously to our educational mission and left a lasting impact on NAU,” Cheng said. “NAU has recognized many past presidents through naming in order to celebrate their impact on our university, including the Eugene M. Hughes School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome, the Gammage Building, the Eastburn Education Center, the Blome Building and Taylor Hall, and I trust that the NAU and Flagstaff communities will agree that a naming recognition is a fitting tribute.”

Lovett, who served as president from 1994-2001and was the first woman to be president of an Arizona institution, was a champion of the arts throughout her career; her work provided a foundation for the fundraising efforts for the Kitt Recital Hall, a project to which she contributed. During her tenure at NAU, she opened a universitywide dialogue under the Pew Higher Education Roundtable to improve campus communication, revamped the university’s mission statement and goals and garnered statewide support for NAU from the Arizona Legislature.

Lovett, who appeared on Washingtonian Magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Women in 1989, went to become president and CEO of the American Association for Higher Education. She is chair of the board of directors for the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

The Clara M. Lovett Art Museum is located on the second floor of Old Main on the Historic North Quad, and is a leading cultural institution in northern Arizona that offers an annual schedule of special exhibitions.

Haeger, who was president from 2001-2014, championed health and learning, including implementing the fee that allowed for the construction of the HLC, which offers an integrated space for education, campus health, recreation, and gathering, and helps contribute to student well-being and success. During his time at NAU, Haeger also implemented the Pledge program, which locks in a tuition rate for incoming students, and led the effort to increase diversity among both graduate and undergraduate students. During his tenure, NAU built the High Country Conference Center, completed the Native American Cultural Center, expanded nursing and health programs, created NAU-Yavapai and expanded online offerings.

The John D. Haeger Health and Learning Center, which opened in 2011, is a LEED Gold building and houses a number of campus departments, including Campus Recreation and Campus Health Services, and includes classroom space, offices and athletic facilities.

“I can think of no better exemplars of the characteristics and accomplishments that merit a naming honor than Dr. Clara Lovett and Dr. John Haeger, both for their work as presidents of NAU and for their ongoing advocacy for and contributions to our institution,” Cheng said.

Recognition events will be scheduled as the campus opens in the fall.