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History of National American University and the NAU Foundation

More than 75 years ago, 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.

Celia McDonald and familyReceiving a scholarship is a memorable moment for a student and their family. You can give the gift of education and change a life! Your gift will have a lasting effect on them, their family and community.

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

You can change a life!


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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