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Eight women who changed NAU, Flagstaff and the world – The NAU Review

Extraordinary women have always walked the halls of NAU.

When the university was founded as Northern Arizona Normal School in 1899, there were already women breaking the glass ceiling. In the early 20th century, its status rose to become Arizona State Teachers College, and its student population grew from a few dozen to a few hundred. And, starting in the mid-1900s, their power and influence grew as they assumed leadership roles, established groundbreaking departments and institutes on campus, and inspired positive change in the communities around them. did.

It would be impossible to share all the stories of extraordinary women lumberjacks, so with the help of Klein Library archivists, we have compiled a recent exhibition of resilience, I have selected only a few. Enjoy a short journey through her story at NAU.

agnes allen portrait
Photo: Klein Library

Agnes Allen

Arguably the first woman in a STEM field at NAU, Agnes Allen broke barriers in more ways than one. She came to the Flagstaff campus in 1934 after earning her master's degree in teaching, a qualification few women earned at the time. Thirteen years later, Allen earned her Ph.D. and her position as dean of science at her university. She then founded the School of Geography and Public Planning and became the dean of women on campus, and she served as the first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences when NAU became a university. Allen, who believed strongly in her hands-on education, took her students to Grand Her Canyon and Sunset Her Crater to teach them about the geology of the Southwest. Hundreds of lumberjacks still live in the coeducational dormitory named after her Allen.

Annie Watkins portraitAnnie Watkins portrait
Photo: Narvia Lyles Bostic

Annie Watkins

In 1953, Annie Watkins, the granddaughter of freed slaves, newly graduated from NAU with a teaching degree. But the local school, which already had an unofficial quota of African American teachers, rejected her. Undaunted, she channeled her passion for educating others into her work registering voters in her South Side neighbors. Many in the 6th District were poor, illiterate, and unaccustomed to voting, but with Watkins' help, they were able to make their voices heard. Watkins became so influential in her local politics that legislators across the state, including one of her future governors, sought her advice.

Margaret's photo "mother" HanleyMargaret's photo "mother" Hanley
Photo: Los Angeles Times

Margaret Hanley

Hanley first came to Flagstaff in 1912 from Pueblo, Colorado, and worked as a cook in the university cafeteria. Her students loved Hanley so much that they called her “Mom,” and she quickly rose through the ranks to become the director of her cafeteria. To celebrate her 25th anniversary at Ms. Hanley's, her students and her colleagues threw a green shamrock-filled “for her homecoming” in honor of her Irish heritage. Hanley organized a “Her Day” parade. Hanley served several generations of students, and by the time of her retirement in 1953, she already had a campus. dormitory It was named in her honor. Stone from the former dormitory was incorporated into the exterior of her science lab in 2007, and students can still read about Hanley and the building that bears her name in the lobby.

Delia Muñoz selfieDelia Muñoz selfie
Photo: Arizona Historical Society

Delia Ceballos Muñoz

As a library specialist at NAU since the late 1980s, Delia Muñoz has spent 30 years collecting and preserving the voices of Flagstaff's Hispanic, African American, and Chinese American residents that were overlooked by earlier historians. I dedicatedAs part of a library oral history project called Los Recuerdos del Barrio en Flagstaff, Muñoz spent time building relationships and trust with Flagstaff's Hispanic and Latino communities in order to expose the stories of discrimination, segregation, and success they experienced here. During her research, the librarian discovers long-buried information about her family history. Her grandfather was one of Flagstaff's early settlers, arriving in the early 1900s to work in the Arizona Lumber Company mill.

Historic photo of May Hicks holding a flag with two men in uniformHistoric photo of May Hicks holding a flag with two men in uniform
Photo: Klein Library

Mae Hicks Curtis Hill

In 1910, a colonel in the Arizona National Guard took his rifle team to a national competition, only to discover they were the only competitors without a state seal. A quick sketch of his idea reached May Hicks, a graduate of Northern Arizona Normal School in 1905 and the fiancée of one of his riflemen. She playfully sewed the Colonel's design depicting a copper star rising from a blue field in front of the setting sun. Her vibrant work became the prototype for the official state flag that still flies in Arizona today. Today, Copper State residents love their state flag, but Hicks' bright colors and simple symbol sparked no shortage of controversy in the early 20th century. The Arizona Gazette claimed it was so flashy that it was “guaranteed to stop a limited number of trains” and visible. From Atlantic City to Puget Sound. ”

Clara Lovett portraitClara Lovett portrait
Photo: Clara Lovett

clara lovett

Clara Lovett made a name for herself as a distinguished scholar long before she came to NAU. Born in Trieste, Italy, she attended Cambridge University and became a leading authority in the field of modern European history. She taught and researched at universities in New York and Washington, D.C., headed the European Division of the Library of Congress, and lectured at the State Department's Institute of Foreign Affairs. Ms. Lovett said she served as NAU's first female president in 1993 and over the past eight years has worked with rural and indigenous students and adults, including helping launch the university's first major capital campaign. expanded her access to NAU.

Doris Martin sitting in front of a bouquet of flowersDoris Martin sitting in front of a bouquet of flowersdoris martin

Doris Martin was 12 years old when the Nazis invaded her hometown of Benzin, Poland. After enduring years of restrictions under German occupation, Martin was deported to Auschwitz and then to the Ludwigsdorf slave labor camp, where he was forced to live on a daily diet of one bowl of watery soup and a piece of stale bread. While living there, he manufactured explosives for the German war effort. . In the aftermath of World War II, she and her husband Ralph immigrated to the United States, and she eventually established a motel in Flagstaff in 1971. At the time, there were only a few Jewish families in her town, so Doris kept her silence about her story. Until one day, her NAU students invited her to speak at Klein Library, and her lifelong career in public speaking began. In 2000, Martin and her husband founded her NAU. Martin Springer Institute To continue to raise awareness about the Holocaust, promoting the values ​​of moral courage, empathy, tolerance, reconciliation and justice.

Megan and Natalie Metz kiss in their wedding outfitsMegan and Natalie Metz kiss in their wedding outfits
Photo: Michel Kekl – MK Studio and the Metz family

Natalie Metz

When wide-eyed NAU freshman Natalie Metz first set foot in Flagstaff in 2003, she never imagined that five years later she would meet the love of her life there. Little did I know that my relationship would change the course of Arizona history. In 2012, she married Megan Metz in Washington, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. But their marriage was not recognized in Arizona, and the couple faced challenges when Megan became seriously ill and diagnosed with Ehlers-Danos syndrome. With the assistance of lawyers, they joined the same-sex marriage case Connolly v. Roche. The case went all the way to federal court, and in 2014 a judge ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in Arizona.

Northern Arizona University logoNorthern Arizona University logo


Jill Kimball | NAU Communications
(928) 523-2282 | jill.kimball@nau.edu

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