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History of National American University and the NAU Foundation

Paying it forward: Today’s investment for tomorrow’s future

For 75 years, National American University (NAU) opened its doors to students who desired specialized business training. Located on a Rapid City, South Dakota main street, the founder of the university, Clarence Jacobson, strove to bring education opportunity to willing students who were seeking to learn new skills and advance their careers.

This vision continued to grow with the university and evolved with Harold D. Buckingham who acquired the school in 1962. NAU has always believed that a university should be built around the needs of its students. NAU expanded both its geographical locations and the programs it offered as demand evolved, remaining true to Mr. Buckingham’s belief in providing everyone the opportunity to pursue their education.

The NAU Foundation, founded in 1967, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to support eligible NAU students by offering scholarships for academic excellence and to support exceptional faculty with professional development scholarships.

82% of NAU’s student population is over the age of 24 (NAU Self-Study, 2013). Many of our students already have some prior education and/or job experience and understand the need to return to school in order to make themselves more marketable within their fields. Many NAU students juggle families, jobs, and/or deployment while pursuing their degrees.

Finding the resources to make college a reality can be daunting. The NAU Foundation is proud to offer financial scholarships to eligible students who have demonstrated academic excellence and to faculty who are committed to their students’ success.

Receiving a scholarship is a memorable moment for a student and their family. Giving the gift of scholarship dollars will no doubt have an impact on someone’s life as you afford them the opportunity to gain an invaluable education. This gift will have a lasting effect on them, their family and community.

Celia McDonald is an example of an NAU student whose world has been changed by NAU and who is changing the world by giving back. At age 19, she was providing financial and caregiving support to her parents, while also working two jobs and starting her own family. These challenges made pursuing college challenging, however, with the flexibility offered by NAU, she has has been able to pursue a career in health care; and an NAU Foundation scholarship helped ease her financial burden. She has earned her Associates of Applied Science in Medical Assisting and is now enrolled in the NAU Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management program.

       “My ultimate goal is to secure a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from NAU to become a physician’s assistant and give back to those who have helped me along the way. I am humbled and grateful to be the recipient of this award.” ~Celia McDonald, RMA, A.A.S. Medical Assisting, ’15 Georgetown, Texas (You can read more testimonials from deserving and grateful students and faculty here).

Students like Celia, with the support of NAU and the NAU Foundation, are determined to pay it forward and change the world.

“We change people, families, communities and the world.”
~ Amanda Oppel, Campus Director, Independence, MO

It is easy to see how scholarship dollars could dramatically lessen the financial burden and help our students achieve their goals. They are deserving, ambitious adults who have chosen to better themselves. Learn how to make this a reality through a tax deductible donation today.

Donate Now!


For more information, please contact Tamie Hopp, NAU’s Director of Alumni & Foundation Services at 605-394-4976 or foundation@national.edu.

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