Gift honoring nursing professor’s late husband to benefit NAU students

A nursing professor teaches in the classroom

NAU nursing associate professor Ann Leslie Vert remembers her late husband, Gregory, as a kind person with a passion for academic excellence. When he died in 2018, she wanted to find a meaningful way to honor his legacy and career, which focused on information technology, computer security and cyber intelligence.

With the help of the NAU Foundation, Vert crafted a plan to honor her late husband with multiple interdisciplinary gifts. The plan will support students and faculty dedicated to developing solutions to global challenges in a supportive, inclusive and diverse environment.

“Dr. Vert’s generosity reflects NAU’s commitment to excellence and our focus on the student-centered experience and qualities that have defined NAU for more than 120 years,” said NAU President Rita Hartung Cheng. “This interdisciplinary approach enhances programs, supports our campus community and builds the future.”

Through estate planning, Vert is directing her gifts to the School of Nursing and the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems.

“In the months leading to my husband’s untimely passing, he wanted to know that his life meant something,” Vert said, adding that honoring his last wish by giving back to faculty and students gave her a sense of peace.

“I have a full heart because I know that what we have accumulated will live on and help others, not just the faculty members who hold professorship positions but students who will earn their awards,” Vert said.

Vert’s philanthropic priorities are to empower NAU students and faculty to reach their highest potential while helping to build a better future for everyone.

“We must prepare our students to lead so we can achieve better outcomes for all,” said Vert, a clinical researcher, educator and registered nurse who received her nursing degree from NAU. “I know firsthand that NAU boldly creates student opportunities to explore, engage and excel.”

As a faculty member, she values the power endowed professorships have in attracting and retaining top scholars and mentors.

“Dr. Vert’s gifts reflect the many ways donors can make a difference at NAU: aligning multiple interests with interdisciplinary impact, and pairing lifetime giving with estate gifts,” said interim NAU Foundation executive director Bonnie Baker. “Dr. Vert is a philanthropic leader whose gifts will change student lives and the world.”

Vert’s annual contributions and gifts are directed to new funds in the School of Nursing and the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems. They include:

  • The ASAP Fund for Nursing provides immediate resources to support the NAU School of Nursing, prioritizing the purchase of equipment and providing resources to help equip faculty and students.
  • The  Ann Leslie Vert Nursing Professorship will supplement the university funding of an elite faculty position in the School of Nursing. The fund will be used to hire and retain an eminent scholar whose work in the School of Nursing will advance the discipline and propel students to excellence.

In addition, in honor of Gregory Vert’s career in information technology and cyber security, she created two funds in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems.

  • The Gregory Vert Cyber Security Excellence Fund provides scholarships to graduate students with a focus on cybersecurity.
  • The Gregory L. Vert Endowed Professorship, the first professorship in the College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences will help attract and retain top scholars and mentors.

To learn more about empowering generations of Lumberjacks and supporting NAU by making a gift to the NAU Foundation, visit us at

NAU Communications