A Walk Through Time at NAU

Northern Arizona University
4 min readOct 25, 2017


Take a stroll down memory lane

We’re a school filled with history and tradition. Test your NAU knowledge and talk a walk down our memory lane.

Normal School Years


As with most history, in NAU’s early years, chance and circumstance played as much of a role as planning.

1899– NAU opened its doors as Northern Arizona Normal School (NANS)

1912–First football game played at NAU

Margaret “Mother” Hanley begins her 41 years of running the NAU dining hall.

1914–Campus newspaper established, named The Pine

1923– Dairy barns are built on campus to house the Holstein heard

1924–NAU hosts the first Homecoming game at McMullen Field

Teachers College


Grady Gammage served as president from 1926 to 1933 at what would become Northern Arizona Unviersity — then called Northern Arizona State Teachers College and Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff.

1933–Our school’s first mascot, the copper axe was cast


The Shrine of the Ages Choir first performs at the Grand Canyon. The choir still serves as the most elite choir on campus.

Arizona State College


“Hail, Arizona, Hail, ASC,” was the alma mater for students who attended the Flagstaff campus starting in 1945.


Arizona State College earns approval to offer bachelor’s degrees in arts and sciences

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1968– Lumberjack statue completed by NAU student Charles Bonney

Originally it was located outside the building that is now the bookstore.

1971–The South Campus Academic Center opens on August 29

1977– The Skydome opens with a victory over Montana

1987–Telephones are added to campus

1989–Tribal Partnerships

Members of 31 tribes sign an accord called New Momentum, making the university a national leader in Native American education

1999– NAU celebrates its Centennial


Native American Cultural Center opens to serve the needs of Native American students on the University’s campus by creating a space for socialization, studying, programs and ceremonies.

2017– NAU welcomes its largest class

2018- The new Honors College building opens up to offer housing, classroom and study space to NAU’s honors students

2019- NAU celebrates 120 years of academic excellence 💙💛

2020-Present — Change in the air

NAU persisted through the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly pivoted to provide online learning for all students.

In 2021 we welcomed the 17th President of NAU, Dr. José Luis Cruz Rivera. During his first year as president, Cruz Rivera worked to deliver a bold new vision for NAU, focused on the delivery of equitable postsecondary education to the students and communities of Arizona and beyond.

The Spring of 2022 brought the announcement of Access2Excellence, an initiative guaranteeing tuition coverage for undergraduate Arizona residents with a household income of $65,000 or below.

In the Fall of 2022 NAU officially installed Dr. José Luis Cruz Rivera as the 17th President of Northern Arizona University.

The 2022–2023 winter season brought a near record-breaking 163.1 inches of snow, well above the average of 87 inches.



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It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.