On May 1, 1966, Arizona State College at Flagstaff officially became Northern Arizona University (NAU). This change marked the transition from a state college to a state university with greater opportunities for students and faculty. University status meant that academic programs could be expanded, more graduate degrees could be offered, the structure of the school could be redesigned to allow for future growth, and research opportunities could be pursued.
Since 1966, Northern Arizona University has grown in all areas, including faculty and staff numbers, student enrollment, degrees offered, and the physical landscape. NAU faced a variety of challenges, but it has shown itself to be versatile, resilient, and always looking toward the future. This is why NAU has some of the greenest buildings in the world and offers some of the strongest programs in the country in hospitality, forestry, nursing, business, and engineering. NAU is also a leader in Indigenous and Latino/a student enrollment and in programs and opportunities for Native American students.
Northern Arizona University has shaped the lives and careers of tens of thousands of students, who each have special memories of their time here. Many alumni return each year to celebrate the impact NAU has had on their lives. NAU also helped shape Flagstaff, both as the largest employer in the city, but also through the arts, sports, and student and faculty/staff community involvement. NAU means many things to different people. Here is a story of Northern Arizona University.