The Class of 2021: Celebrating NAU’s largest graduating class

Graduates celebrating in front of old main

Today, more than 6,000 Northern Arizona University students who have applied for graduation will join fellow Lumberjacks in a virtual commencement ceremony as the class of 2021.

NAU’s virtual ceremony will be available at 11 a.m. Friday, April 30, though the recording will be available via nau.edu/commencement through the summer. Viewers in the first 24 hours can post shoutouts to friends, family members and fellow graduates on social media using #naugrad to be featured on the commencement feed.

Students and their families can view their graduates’ photos on-screen and hear their names read aloud via a link found on NAU’s commencement website. The virtual ceremony will include a message and degree conferral from President Rita Cheng, along with Provost Diane Stearns and Graduate College Dean Maribeth Watwood.

Want to publicly congratulate your graduate? Leave photos and messages on Kudoboard.

“It is an exciting moment for the Class of 2021,” Cheng said. “This is the moment our Lumberjacks have been waiting for—a chance to celebrate their dedication and hard work that have led them to this day. I know the Class of 2021 will use the skills they have acquired and memories they have made to find success in all they do.”

Of the more than 6,000 students who have applied for graduation, 1,036 are graduate students from NAU’s 67 master’s programs and 24 doctoral programs, and 4,875 are undergraduate students from the Flagstaff Mountain campus, statewide locations and online, plus 110 students enrolled in NAU’s unique Personalized Learning program.

Breakdown of graduates by college:

  • College of Arts and Letters: 451
  • College of Education: 696
  • College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences: 397
  • College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences: 834
  • College of Health and Human Services: 1,005
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: 1,382
  • NAU Online, Statewide and Education Innovation: 408
  • NAU Yuma: 150
  • W. A. Franke College of Business: 698
  • Honors College: 155

This year, the College of Arts and Letters will graduate its first two students, Kiara Gissel Peña Ibarra and Alexander Pompa, from the English Department’s BA-MA program. The program was designed to identify strong undergraduate students with an interest in linguistics and provide them with the opportunity to stay for an extra year and receive both their BA and MA-TESL degree in five years.

Daniel Kramer will be the first student to graduate in astroinformatics, a new emphasis within the undergraduate informatics program in the College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences that collaborates with the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science.

Interim department chair David Trilling said the work Kramer has done as an undergraduate researcher at NAU is helping to define this emerging sub-industry.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that without Daniel’s terrific work, we would not have been able to submit several funding proposals for NASA and NSF,” Trilling said. “In the next 15 years, because of his work, I fully expect that NAU will be the world leader in this particular sub-topic.”