2005 Award Recipients
James L. "Jim" Coleman
NAUAA Dwight Patterson (1934) Alumnus of the Year
1975 BSEd Physical Education and Social Studies
Jim Coleman's long, illustrious career as a teacher has made him a household name for virtually every coach in the state of Arizona. Known for running the state tournaments in cross country and track and working closely with the State Coaches Association for over two decades, he is an extraordinary leader, a driving force in state high school track and field.
In addition to his NAU degree, Jim tallies 95 hours of post-graduate work in counseling, art, video production, administration and physical education. He has ample opportunity to apply this experience in his current position at Centennial High School in Peoria, Ariz., where he is an at-risk counselor and physical education teacher. Coincidentally, it was the family of Dwight Patterson that helped build the first all-weather track at Peoria High School, where Jim was previously head track coach.
His nominator says, "Jim has a way with kids that gets them to do things they don't necessarily think they can do. He exudes enthusiasm in his speaking; he pushes them without being overbearing and they feel the need to please him." Another fan says he is not only a great track and cross country coach, but a great guy. "He is the official cook for every team campout and sports event. He donates endless hours to run our elementary cross country and track tournaments. Jim's volunteer work affects literally thousands of young people and adults each year -- but he always remains quietly in the background."
Jim's friends and colleagues agree that while teaching phys ed is his job, he is far more than just a classroom teacher. Ever humble and modest, he is "a modern day Pied Piper for young people," a tireless worker who always gives unselfishly of his time and talents to help the youth of our communities prosper.
Richard C. "Dick" Kauzlaric
NAUAA Dr. Cliff Harkins (1932) Distinguished Citizen of the Year
1960 BSBA Business Administration
A pioneer of the latter-day effort to revive downtown Gallup, N.M., Dick has devoted unprecedented energy to his community. In addition to his success in business, he has chaired the Board of Gallup Federal Savings Bank and served on the Board of Regents of Western New Mexico University, as well as making himself an indispensable committee appointee under several state Governors.
Dick's close friend and nominator, Richard Nothstein '59 & '63, explains that "Kauzie" fulfilled the leadership expectations that he had demonstrated during his time at NAU: "He was a very active student and did much to make the school a better place for all. He was active in student government and services, did a great job as business manager of the La Cuesta yearbook, led two business organizations in the Department of Business Administration, and was involved in many other intramural and school activities."
Many students' lives were touched in a positive way with Dick Kauzlaric's active involvement in NAU's programs, an example he has perpetuated in the life of the Gallup community. For those who benefit from his business acumen, as well as NAU students, faculty and staff, he continues to serve as a role model nonpareil.
Timothy P. "Tim" Kearney
NAUAA Jeff Ferris (1936) Volunteer of the Year
1990 BSEd Elementary Education
1995 MEd Elementary Education
Bilingual in English and Spanish, Tim has served as a leader of the Hands Across Borders programs with Mexico and Canada, dedicating his time and experience to helping youth find a successful path in life. He also serves as an excellent exemplar of NAU distance learning, having earned his master's degree through the NAU satellite program in southern Arizona. Although he studied for a semester in Spain and has done graduate work at Fresno Pacific University, Tim's heart remains firmly rooted in his mission to the youth of Arizona.
Tim has taught fifth grade Palominas Elementary School in Hereford, Ariz. for the last 14 years, and his students routinely rank among the best in Arizona. This fact can be credited in part to his teaching style and dedication to excellence, and in part to his personal philosophy: "Our students," he says, "learn many lessons through their educational experience, but none is more important than this: people are people. We, humanity, tend to separate ourselves by our differences rather than embracing our similarities."
Tim goes far beyond the norm to teach children successfully. The flood of accolades from both current and former students will endure as a testament to his remarkable humanistic gifts.
Arthur C. "Art" Atonna
1969 BSBA Management
Lee A. Atonna
1969 BSEd Elementary Education Prep
NAUAA Joe and Marie Rolle (1941/1950) Spirit of NAU Award
Art and Lee Atonna began their lifelong partnership as NAU undergraduates, and though Art continued his education with a 1972 Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo, he and Lee have made their academic allegiances crystal clear. Each has served as president of the NAU Alumni Association, Lee in 2001 and Art in 1995. Both remain constructively outspoken members of the Past Presidents Club, with Lee as this year's president.
Lee and Art have also proven themselves inestimably valuable to NAU's recruitment programs, volunteering for a plethora of recruitment events, and often giving these efforts precedence over their tight schedules (she is a longtime teacher and he is a Valley attorney.) One of their proudest legacies to NAU is their familial continuity: sons Eric ('97 B.S.) and Marc ('95 B.S.B.A.) have continued their parents' engagement with NAU, and Marc currently serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.