Northern Arizona University
Education-Universities & Colleges
Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University is a public university centered on students. Our academic programs, research, public service, and creative endeavors enrich lives and create opportunities in Arizona and beyond. We develop solutions to challenges and drive innovation in a supportive, inclusive, and diverse environment.
Northern Arizona University—or Arizona Normal College as it was named back then—opened its doors in 1899 with 23 students, two faculty members (one, Almon Nicholas Taylor, was also the school president), and two copies of Webster’s International Dictionary bound in sheepskin.
“Recruitment” was a little different then—the first president scoured the countryside in horse and buggy seeking students to fill the classrooms of the single school building (now known as Old Main). In 1901, the first graduating class consisted of four women who received credentials to teach in the Arizona Territory.
NAU has much to be proud of, including nationally ranked programs, high-research status, and emergence as a leader in sustainability, science, business, green building, and cultural arts.
Noted Flagstaff historian Dr. Platt Cline characterized NAU as an institution that has thrived due to strong leadership, the devotion of alumni and faculty, and community support.
Empowered by the Arizona Board of Regents to provide educational opportunities statewide, the university now serves students at the Flagstaff campus, multiple statewide locations, and online. NAU offers more than 150 combined undergraduate and graduate degree programs, all distinguished by an ongoing commitment to close student-faculty relationships.