The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University commencement
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Vol. 9 No. 13 | December 4, 2012

Commencement—Friday, December 14, 2012

If you will be visiting campus for commencement next week, let us welcome you back to campus and congratulate you and your graduate! As the guest of a graduate, we are honored to have you celebrate commencement with us. To ensure that you have the best experience possible, we've included a few quick below. There are no restrictions on the number of guests your graduate may invite. Guest seating is open (no reserved seats). No tickets are required.

  1. Find your ceremony.
  2. Arrive early. Doors open 1-hour prior to the ceremony.
  3. Parking. Parking is available at multiple locations with shuttle service running throughout the day. Get driving directions and additional parking information if needed.
  4. Meet your party outside the Skydome. Follow the posted signs to the designated meeting areas for guests and graduates.

If you cannot make the trip, or would like to join remotely, watch the ceremony live online.

For additional questions or support, contact


Fall Closing & Winter Break Housing Reminders

Residence halls close for the winter break at 10 AM on Friday, December 14. Students involved in the December graduation ceremonies will be allowed to stay until noon on Saturday, December 15 with approval from their residence hall director. The residence halls will reopen at 9 AM on Saturday, January 12, 2013.

Winter downtime halls (Aspen Crossing, Campus Heights, McKay Village, Pine Ridge Village, Taylor, and Tinsley Halls) will remain open over the winter break. Residents of those halls will have continued access to their rooms.

All other residence halls are locked over the winter break and card access is deactivated until the halls reopen in January. Students returning in spring to their same room can leave their belongings in their room over the break, but are encouraged to take valuable items with them, including laptops, cell phones, airline tickets, eye glasses, medications, and other important items as they will not be able to access their room. Residents not returning for the spring semester need to arrange a check-out time with a resident assistant, and move their belongings out of the hall by 10 AM on Friday, December 14.

All residents have been sent detailed closing/winter downtime information to their NAU e-mail accounts, including closing procedures to complete in their room prior to the winter break. For a fun demonstration of how to prepare a room for closing, check out these quick videos featuring a few of our residents:

Please encourage your student to fully read the closing e-mail and to attend the RA's floor closing meeting. Students with any questions about closing should contact their resident assistant or residence hall director for additional information.

Good luck to your student with fall final exams - we hope you enjoy a happy holiday season!

Winter Term: 4 Weeks, 3 Credits

Winter Term Courses

Winter courses are a great way to earn extra units to graduate early, enroll in courses that fill up quickly, or earn credits to advance your career.

The winter accelerated course format will help your student meet academic goals quickly, whatever they may be. Most students find they learn the same amount, despite the accelerated format.

Search for classes

If you have any questions please contact us at 800-426-8315,

GRE and GMAT Test Prep

The Student Learning Centers are now offering GRE and GMAT test prep courses. These courses provide affordable, high-quality instruction, and are open to both Northern Arizona University students and the community.


  • February 2-23, 2013, Saturdays, 9 AM-5 PM


  • January 29-February 21, 2013, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9:30 PM

The prices for the GRE and GMAT courses are $500 for Northern Arizona University students, faculty, and staff, and $550 for non-university affiliates. Course fee includes:

  • 28 hours of personalized, on-campus instruction
  • textbook and instructor course pack
  • two full-length practice tests
  • instructor office hours

Registration for spring 2013 will be available online after December 3, 2012 at

For more details, please e-mail or call 928-523-7391.

Old Main NAU Ornament

Ornaments Benefit Scholarship Funds

Bring a part of the university home this holiday season with the purchase of an Old Main or Lowell Observatory ornament, and support student scholarships at the same time.

The Flagstaff branch of the American Association of University Women is holding its annual ornament fundraiser. All profits from ornament sales benefit Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College scholarship funds.

The ornaments, which come with a gift box and card detailing the history of the building, sell for $20 each with discounts for bulk orders. A limited number of Old Main ornaments are available this year. Also available are ornaments in the likeness of Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory.

For information, contact Andrea Houchard at 928-523-7153 or

Event Highlights

  • BFA Fall Art Show. Beasley Art Gallery, 2nd floor of the Performing and Fine Arts Building. Now through Dec 14, 10 AM-5 PM.

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at Flagstaff 365.