NAU to honor educators, nonprofit leader

Ernest Calderon, Kerry Blum. Paul Keim and Nancie Lindblom

Ernest Calderon, Kerry Blume, Paul Keim and Nancie LindblomNorthern Arizona University will award honorary degrees to a dedicated advocate for higher education, a nonprofit leader working to further community initiatives, a trailblazer in genetics research and an exceptional educator during its spring commencement ceremonies May 10 and 11 in Flagstaff.

NAU alumnus Ernest Calderónpresident emeritus of the Arizona Board of Regents, will earn an honorary degree during the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10.

Calderón served an eight-year term on the Arizona Board of Regents and is a long-time advocate for Northern Arizona University and higher education. The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently named him its 2012 Man of the Year. He is a partner at the law firm of Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis in Phoenix and has more than 30 years legal experience.

Calderón serves on the NAU Foundation board and is an adjunct faculty member at NAU, having previously taught at Arizona State University and Phoenix College. He also serves on the Council of Board Chairs of the Association of Governing Boards and Universities, and is a member of the WestEd educational laboratory’s board of directors.

Calderón became Arizona’s first Harry S. Truman Scholar in 1977 and served as president of the Associated Students of NAU his senior year prior to receiving the President’s Award and the Gold Axe Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in business administration from NAU in 1979 and a juris doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1982. Calderón earned a graduate certificate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2009.

Kerry Blume, president and CEO of United Way of Northern Arizona, will be honored during the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10. She has been in her current role for the last 15 years, and has tripled the resources at the organization that provides support to other nonprofits including Northland Family Help Center, St. Mary’s Food Bank and the Literacy Center.

Blume earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from California State University, Sonoma, and a master’s in counselor education from California State University, Sacramento. She serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Town Hall, the United Way Worldwide’s National Professional Council and Inclusion Council. She plans to retire from United Way of Northern Arizona in June.

Paul Keim, director of NAU’s Center for Genetics and Genomics, Regents’ Professor of Biological Sciences and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology, will receive an honorary degree during the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

Keim is internationally known for his expertise in microbial forensics and was instrumental in the federal investigation into the 2001 anthrax letter attacks. He recently served as chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and was selected as the Arizona BioIndustry Association’s 2012 Arizona Biomedical Researcher of the Year.

Keim earned bachelor’s degrees in both biology and chemistry from NAU in 1977 and a doctorate in botany from the University of Kansas in 1981. The alum returned to NAU as an assistant professor of biology in 1989.  Last year the university selected him for the Research Mentor of the Year and the University Innovator of the Year awards.

Nancie Lindblom, the 2013 Arizona Teacher of the Year, will be recognized during the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. Lindblom has taught junior high and high school in the Mesa Public School District for the last 17 years. She currently teaches advanced placement courses in U.S. History and American Government at Skyline High School, where she has worked for the last decade.

Lindblom earned an undergraduate degree in social studies education from NAU in 1995. She currently is pursuing her master’s degree in American history and government from Ashland University.  She is a member of the Arizona Council for History Education and the Arizona Council for Social Studies. In 2011, Lindblom was awarded a James Madison fellowship and was named the Arizona History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.