Northern Arizona Normal School (NANS) opened its doors on September 11, 1899 with twenty-three students, one professor, and two copies of Webster's International Dictionary bound in sheepskin. The road to university status began with the creation of the Forestry program in 1958 and increased research activities. Pleased with the array of quality academic programs and ever-growing student body, the Arizona Board of Regents recommended that the school be named Northern Arizona University effective May 1, 1966.
Today, NAU's enrollment ranks in the top 5 percent of schools and colleges in the nation. NAU provides educational opportunities statewide and now serves approximately 20,000 students. Internationally known, NAU has established partnerships with colleges and universities throughout the world, enhancing its comprehensive academic program. NAU is positioning itself to meet the challenges of a global society and the needs of its students into the next century.