NAU celebrates record fundraising year

student holds a thank-you sign

The NAU Foundation is celebrating its strongest fundraising year in history, with 11,813 donors contributing more than $20.2 million in fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30.

The gifts will empower generations of students as they explore, launch dreams and reach new heights. Donors funded a number of important initiatives, including undergraduate scholarships, student success initiatives and professorships. Additionally, gifts supported nursing scholarships, training, research and the faculty dedicated to inspiring compassion in today’s complex health care environment.

Donors throughout the world advanced the university with impact-driven investments including life-changing opportunities, state-of-the art learning and performing spaces, innovative career building opportunities and superior faculty recruitment.

“NAU continues to thrive and grow in so many ways, with support from alumni and friends. Donors’ devotion to NAU’s mission of excellence is demonstrated through generous gifts to the NAU Foundation,” said Rickey N. McCurry, CEO of the NAU Foundation. “During this extraordinary year, we are appreciative of our community of supporters contributing to the strength, energy and vitality of our Lumberjack family.”

Many gifts to the NAU Foundation had an immediate and direct impact—helping students realize their aspirations. Other philanthropic commitments honored the present and empowered the future.

“Donations to the NAU Foundation help propel NAU forward, supporting our students, as well as advancing our institution’s mission and the tremendous research, creative and service endeavors of our Lumberjack family,” NAU President Rita Cheng said. “We are grateful for our philanthropic partners whose generosity strengthens the university’s reputation and impact in Arizona and beyond.”

A number of gifts highlight the diversity of philanthropic investments and donors who made them possible, contributing to NAU’s strengths and longevity, creating opportunities for generations far into the future.

Long-time supporters and past NAU parents Terence and Robin Roche invested in two undergraduate scholarship endowments in memory of family members. These scholarships support first-generation and Native American student success. They also made contributions to the English Department, Choral Studies and NAU’s Native American Cultural Center—providing technology in student computer labs and meeting spaces.

Honoring two mainstay geology professors, the Ernest Duebendorfer and Charles Barnes Structural Geology Professorship grew with the support of alumni, corporate partners and faculty. Christina Regalla was recruited from Boston University as the inaugural faculty member with this title, completing her first year in this role during 2020 and contributing to the strength of NAU’s geoscience program.

“The individuals and organizations who invested in the NAU Foundation are a True Blue reflection of how NAU makes a better world possible,” said NAU Foundation Board President Barb McCloud. “Philanthropy shapes the NAU experience and contributes to its strong record of academic excellence.”

The NAU Foundation elevated another successful philanthropic partnership with the Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation that supports longstanding collaborations between NAU’s School of Nursing, Northern Arizona Healthcare and Flagstaff Medical Center. This year, the foundation’s contributions supported nursing scholarships, training and the faculty dedicated to inspiring compassion in today’s complex healthcare environment.

Learn how your gifts can make a difference, enrich lives and elevate NAU by visiting

NAU Communications