Nick Charles King, Jr., far right, working on his Engineering capstone project, a concrete canoe

NAU—The Next Generation:
Engineering grad continues long ties

When Nick Charles King Jr. walks at Northern Arizona University's commencement ceremony on Friday, a lot of NAU history will walk with him.

King, a 2005 graduate with a degree in civil engineering, is from a long line of NAU grads and supporters, including his great-grandfather, Thomas E. Pollock, who helped recruit the first 23 students in 1899, and his great-grandmother, Mary Morton Pollock, for whom Morton Hall was named.

"Our generation and the following generation are the beneficiaries of the hard work done by the Pollocks and Mortons," said King's aunt, Katharine Peach Pollock of Camp Verde, who also attended NAU. "It's a huge honor for Nick to graduate from NAU."

King is one of more than 2,700 students who will graduate during spring 2005 ceremonies.

The ceremonies will be at 10 a.m. May 13 for the colleges of Business Administration and Engineering and Natural Sciences. At 3 p.m. May 13, graduates from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Consortium of Professional Schools and Colleges will be honored. Graduates from the colleges of Education and Arts and Letters will walk at 10 a.m. May 14.

All ceremonies will be in the Walkup Skydome on the NAU campus.

King's NAU connection begins shortly before the school was founded in September 1899. Thomas Pollock was a Flagstaff banker and a member of a citizens committee of Flagstaff leaders that worked with the Territorial Legislature to establish a higher education institution in Flagstaff.

Pollock's wife, Mary Morton, began her stint as an English teacher at Northern Arizona Normal School in 1908. She would resign later to marry Pollock, who later served two terms as mayor of Flagstaff.

"They felt very strongly about education and that an institution of higher education should be supported in this wonderful town," said Katharine Pollock, who is better known as "Kay." Both Pollocks maintained their support of NAU for decades, and Mary Morton Pollock was also a strong supporter of Flagstaff High School.

The NAU connections don't end there.

King's grandmother, Dorothy Peach, graduated in 1936 with a degree in music education. She attended Columbia Teachers College in New York before returning to Flagstaff to marry Thomas Pollock Jr. King's uncle, Thomas Pollock III, also attended NAU.

His mother, Ann Delphine Pollock of Flagstaff, graduated in 1968 with a marketing degree, and his father, Nick Charles King, graduated in 1967 with a degree in psychology.

"It's wonderful to see the Lumberjack spirit cross so many generations," said NAU President John Haeger. "Kay Pollock says it's a huge honor to graduate from NAU. It's also a huge honor to have graduates with such a strong connection to NAU's roots."

NAU will graduate 1,688 students with bachelor's degrees, 971 with master's and 73 with doctoral degrees.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will be the main speaker at the 10 a.m. May 13 ceremony. She also will be granted an honorary doctoral degree.

At the 10 a.m. May 14 ceremony, artist James Turrell and Arizona Teacher of the Year Kim Babeu of Flowing Wells Junior High School will receive honorary degrees.