Lynn Banks McMullen, born in Indiana in 1875, received his B.S. from DePauw University in 1897 and an A.M. from the Teachers College at Columbia University. McMullen's teaching career included stints in village schools, eleven years with Indianapolis high schools, a lecturer position at Indiana Normal College, and five years as an instructor and five as vice president of the North Dakota State Normal School. In 1920, he left his job as head of the teacher training school at Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley to become the fifth president of Northern Arizona Normal School [NANS].
A craftsman and ranch owner as well as an educator, McMullen liked to work with his hands. He released scores of students, when weather permitted, from their last classes to landscape the NANS grounds. Together, they built flower beds, planted trees (native pines, firs, elms, poplars), and installed curbs and light fixtures. McMullen himself built a rock wall across the northern border of campus and renovated the Herrington House for his own residence, rather than expend the $10,000 offered by the state for a new home. He designed and supervised the construction of fifty temporary cottages to accommodate the burgeoning summer student population. To provide fresh milk and butter for the dining hall, McMullen purchased a herd of Holstein cows. An energetic president, he encouraged the establishment of a student council, an orchestra, a chorus, and a glee club and revived the track team.
In 1924, the Normal School in Tempe and the University of Arizona initiated a proposal to close NANS and move the students. Convinced that there was no future for the Flagstaff school, McMullen resigned in 1925. He went on to receive his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1927 and served as the founding president of Eastern Montana College. He retired, with his wife, to a Montana cherry farm in 1945, where he lived until his death in 1963.
Condensed from Platt Cline, Mountain Campus: The Story of Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff: Northland Press, 1983), chapter IV.