Series of $1 million gifts and grants boost NAU scholarships, programs

Students in the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences

Private financial commitments to Northern Arizona University’s students and programs have been growing by the millions: specifically, three separate $1 million infusions from a scholarship endowment, a planned gift and a competitive corporate endowment.

“Besides opening doors to the university, this funding also enhances the student experience by building upon a foundation of outstanding programs,” said Mason Gerety, NAU vice president for Advancement. “Strong support from donors genuinely makes a difference.”

A scholarship fund established by Tim Snider, NAU Foundation board member and alumnus, and his wife Rhonda will support nontraditional students as they pursue a degree.

Snider earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from NAU in 1979 and worked for Phelps Dodge Mining Co. for 37 years. He currently serves as chairman of the board for Cupric Canyon Capital.

The couple recently committed $1 million toward a scholarship endowment that will support first-generation college students who are single parents with two or more dependents.

Through the Snider Family Charitable Fund, the couple previously had given $500,000 to NAU, including a $250,000 gift to the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences toward construction of the science lab building in 2006.

The same college will benefit from an additional planned gift of $1 million, contributed by a donor wishing to remain anonymous, that establishes scholarships for Native American students who plan to study there.

An endowment funded by ExxonMobil Corporation is providing the third $1 million gift as the result of a competitive grant application by NAUTeach. The program, which prepares future teachers in science and mathematics, has been awarded the grant via the National Science and Math Initiative for successfully replicating a national UTeach model program.

NAUTeach, which launched five years ago with $1 million in funding from the Helios Foundation, enrolls 328 undergraduate students who are earning education degrees that focus on content areas such as physics, biology, chemistry and others in science and mathematics. The ExxonMobil grant was contingent on matching funds.