Tom O. Bellwood, 1945-1947
Tom Octavius Bellwood was born in Heighington, England in 1896, the youngest of eleven children. In 1909, he emigrated to Central City, Colorado with his father–a cabinet maker, undertaker, tax collector, and notary public. Bellwood completed high school in 1915 and then worked in a cabinet shop and in an ore-crushing mill. After a year at Barnes Commercial School in Denver, he enrolled at Colorado State Teachers College

in Greeley and graduated in 1921 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was an assistant pastor of a Presbyterian church while pursuing his master's degree in education.

After receiving his master’s in 1922, Bellwood moved to Flagstaff, where he and his wife, Grace, became active in the community. Bellwood–a tenor–directed the Federated Church choir and participated on the church board.

Bellwood began his career at Northern Arizona Normal School (NAU) in the fall of 1922 as a teacher of commerce. He was general chairman of the first Homecoming in 1924. He served as dean of the Arizona State Teachers College under President Grady Gammage and President Thomas J. Tormey. From 1943-1944, Bellwood functioned as acting president. He was appointed president upon Tormey's resignation in 1944. The College was renamed Arizona State College in 1945. During his tenure as president, the Navy V-12 program was established on campus which insured the survival of the College in spite of the loss of enrollment during World War II. In 1947, the College was authorized to grant bachelor's degrees in subjects other than education. Bellwood resigned the presidency that year for health reasons but resumed his duties as dean. The students held Dr. Bellwood in high regard and selected him as Dedicatee for the 1953 Homecoming.

Dr. Bellwood’s contribution to the growth and development of the Commerce Department (which evolved into The W. A. Franke College of Business) was probably the greatest made by any one individual. Even though he served in later years in many different capacities as dean, acting president, and president, he always maintained a great interest in the Department. He asked for the privilege of returning to full-time teaching in that department during his last years at the University until his retirement in 1963. President Bellwood died in 1971.

The friends and family of Dr. Tom O. Bellwood established the Tom O. Bellwood Scholarship Fund in 1971 for a deserving student based on scholarship, initiative, financial need, and character. This scholarship was established in order to give the many friends of Tom Bellwood an opportunity to perpetuate his memory at Northern Arizona University which he served so faithfully during his forty-one years of service.

Frank H. Besnette 1973-1980

Frank Besnette retired in 1999 from a long and fulfilling career in higher education. He now lives in Sedona with his wife, Linda, who retired from a distinguished career teaching gifted students in middle schools in Flagstaff and Phoenix. He maintains his ties to higher education by accepting occasional consulting roles. In addition, he is President of The Sedona Academy of Public Affairs, a community based service organization.

Besnette served as Executive Director of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) from 1992-1999. Prior to moving to his role with the Regents, Besnette enjoyed a long association with Northern Arizona University. He joined NAU in 1967. Over the next twenty four years he served in a variety of academic and administrative roles including Professor of Marketing and Management, Dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business, Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Senior Vice President. In 1987, he was named Executive Vice President of the university.

In 1978, Besnette received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the NAU Alumni Association. He was honored again in 1985 when the students named him Homecoming Dedicatee.

A leader in the Flagstaff area for many years, Besnette held offices in and served on the Boards of various organizations, including President of the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Board of The Flagstaff Hospital, President of Flagstaff East Rotary Club, Trustee of The Museum of Northern Arizona, Founding Director of the Flagstaff Leadership Program, and, Founding Director and Organizer of the Bank of Northern Arizona. He was named Flagstaff's Citizen of the Year in 1985 by The Arizona Daily Sun newspaper. During the summer of 1989, he served an internship in U.S. Senator John McCain's Washington D.C. office.

In 1993 he was appointed by the Governor to serve as one of Arizona's three Commissioners to The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and was elected Chair for 1999. While serving as ABOR Executive Director he also served as a member of the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education and was active in the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). In 1992 Arizona's Governor nominated him for membership on The Appellate Courts Nominating Commission, a position he held for five years. He later served on the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review.

Besnette holds his bachelor's degree from Texas Western College (now University of Texas-El Paso), an MBA from the University of Denver, and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. He was selected for membership in Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi.

Author E. Hughes 1966-1970


Author Hughes joined the NAU accounting staff in 1961. It was during his administration that The W. A. Franke College of Business designated area coordinators for marketing, management, finance, accounting, data processing, and business education and office administration. Prior to that time business education was the only area that had been a department. The area coordinators position was to be rotated among the professors in the area.

In 1970, Arthur Hughes became provost of the new South Campus. In 1971, he left to become president of the University of San Diego, which he headed for 24 years. Hughes resigned from USD in 1995. In June 2002, he closed his part-time office on the scenic campus.

Joseph J. Walka 1986-1996


Joseph J. Walka, now professor of economics emeritus at Northern Arizona University, came to NAU in 1985 as director of the M.B.A. program and the Center for American Indian Economic Development. He served as dean of FCB from 1987 to 1996 and retired in January of 1999. Walka was on the executive board of Arizona Strategic Planning for Economic Development (ASPED), was the first chair of the Flagstaff Economic Development Commission, founding chair of the Greater Flagstaff Economic Council and a founding member of the board of the Flagstaff Leadership Program. He has been a contributor to four Arizona Town Hall background research reports and a delegate to three Arizona Town Halls. He coordinated preparation of the research reports for the Lake Havasu City Town Halls of 2000, 2001, and 2002. He was also a contributor to the Statewide Economic Study of 2002. He now is a Senior Research Fellow with the Rural Policy Program of The W. A. Franke College of Business Administration. Walka received an A.B. from Grinnell College, an M.B.A. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard University.

Wilma D. Stricklin
, 1967-1976
Professor, Management


Dr. Wilma Stricklin taught at FCB • NAU from 1967 to 1976. After Stricklin left NAU, she went to Northern Illinois University (DeKalb). In addition to teaching here, she served in a variety of roles including chairperson of the department of management, associate provost and vice president, and associate dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business before retiring in 1989. She is now retired and living in North Carolina.

"The person I am today and the successes I have achieved, I attribute directly to the things I learned while at NAU, but mostly I learned them because of Dr. Stricklin. She took a personal interest, not only in me, but in all of her students. The best way I know to say thank you is by establishing a scholarship in her honor."
Ira Greenspan

Larry Gardner
Professor, Accounting

Larry and Barbara Gardner passed away in 1989.
Larry D. Gardner, M.A., C.P.A., professor of accounting. B.S.Ed., Northwest Missouri State University; M.A., University of Missouri; NAU 1965-1989. Gardner taught financial accounting, managerial accounting, and auditing. Larry was a favorite among many accounting students, and he and Barbara were notorious for opening their home to students.

Macolm Bosse
Professor, Computer Information Systems


“Mac” has been a pillar in the CIS program since its inception in 1966 when the program was called Data Processing Management. Mac started as a lab assistant when he was an undergraduate student in the accounting program in 1964. Author Hughes was the dean at that time and he taught some of the courses. The equipment included IBM punch card tabulating machines and a 1620 computer that was used to teach Fortran and Assembler Language programming. Mac learned how to program as a student and helped the faculty (including the dean) teach the courses. Mac came back to NAU in 1966 as an instructor in data processing after completing the master’s degree at ASU.

Over the years, Mac has taught Assembler Language, RPG, COBOL, Fortran, Basic and database systems using Univac DMS90, Xerox IDS, and IDMS on the IBM. In recent years, he kept up with all the advances, including the Microsoft ’97 suite of tools, Windows NT, and Novell. He was always willing to jump in and teach new courses and new technology.

Mac is remembered most around the FCB for his willingness to spend time helping faculty members and students. He loves to help others. He was a stable influence with sound ideas for a curriculum enduring constant change.

Any computer problem was a welcome challenge, and he would not stop until he found a solution. He was a constant, from 7 AM to 5 PM every day, and sometimes later. He was always willing to fill in when someone was gone.

After 31 years of service and four years as a student, Mac will remain an integral part of the FCB. He and his wife, Doris, are pursuing many “happy trails” in their retirement, but Mac is still seen in the FCB halls, lending assistance to those of us who need it.

Dick Houser, 1973-2001


Dr. Dick Houser, passed away on June 22, 2002. Dick taught accounting in the The W. A. Franke College of Business at NAU for 28 years and retired in 2001. Born March 6, 1940 in Burlington, Iowa, Dick lived his childhood years in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Feeling the call of the Rockies, he journeyed to the University of Colorado at Boulder receiving a BA and MBA and meeting his future wife, Kathee. Dick went on for a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and pursued a teaching career at Western State College, University of Oklahoma and NAU. After moving six times in six years, the Houser family was ready to stay put. Dick enjoyed a lengthy career at NAU's The W. A. Franke College of Business. He taught nearly every accounting course offered at NAU during his tenure. In addition, he served for many years as the advisor to Beta Alpha Psi, Alpha Sigma Chi, and Delta Sigma Chi, and served as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site coordinator. He was instrumental in establishing Beta Alpha Psi and the VITA site in 1977.

Sam Litzler, 1967-1987
Professor, Accounting
Sam earned his B.A. and M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. He taught tax at NAU’s The W. A. Franke College of Business from 1967-1987. Students and colleagues respected him for his knowledge and understanding of the Internal Revenue Code. Students held him in high esteem and often referred to him as “Gentle Sam” because of his patience with and interest in them.

Ken Runyon, 1971-1985
Professor, Marketing


Dr. Ken Runyon worked at Gardner Advertising for 19 years then earned his doctorate in Organizational Behavior at Washington University. He taught at NAU from 1971-1985.
Professor Runyon authored a textbook, Consumer Behavior and the Practice of Marketing.


From DQR alumni profile:
Jana Turner
1977 Marketing
Faculty member who had an impact on you
Dr. Ken Runyon. He taught consumer behavior, and made the class exciting and interesting. He brought real life and practical experience from working in New York City to the classroom.

Tom O. Bellwood, 1945-1947
From File Notes: He was President during WWII; dean of student personnel; at NAU for 43 years. He organized early traditions including 1925 Homecoming.
Also found in file: [Vanetta Kell’s book excerpt]

The courses in economics were alternated between the Commerce and History Departments. From 1912 to 1929 they were under the jurisdiction of the History Department even though many of the classes were taught by Commerce professors. Economics was placed in the Commerce Department from 1929 to 1932. After two additional years in the Social Science Department, it was assigned permanently to Department of Commerce.

R.G. Stevenson became the head of the Commerce Department in 1922 and Tom Bellwood, who served the University for more than 40 years, was employed. Dr. Bellwood contribution to the growth and development of the Commerce Department was probably the greatest made by any one individual. Even though he served in later years in many different capacities as dean, acting president, and president, he always maintained a great interest in the Commerce Department. He asked for the privilege of returning to full-time teaching in that department during his last years at the University until his retirement in 1963.

According to an interview with Dr. Bellwood, no prefixes were assigned to the business courses in order for them to be taught to high school students or to those who wanted to become teachers or transfer to the University. Courses listed for the commercial teachers included 30 Accounting, 41 Corporate Accounting, 31 Elementary Stenography, 32 Intermediate Stenography, 21 Elementary Typing, and 32 Intermediate and Advance Accounting along with the Sociology and Economic courses. It was not until 1967 that stenography was eliminated from the requirements for business teachers.

In 1924 R.G. Stevenson resigned as head of the Commerce Department to assume a part-time teaching assignment in history. Tom Bellwood became head of the department and Willie Smith was employed to assist him.
A normal school education was becoming more important as was indicated in the statement of the final page of several catalogs entitled, “An Investment.”

A normal school education is an insurance policy. What other investment of $600 ($300 a year) will give an earning capacity of from $1200 to 200 per year.

As new courses in health, physical education, and coaching became available many young men entered the teaching program with physical education as a major and commerce as a minor.

The status of the institution was changed from a normal school to a degree-granting institution and became Northern Arizona State Teachers College in 1925. The College now offered a four-year Bachelor of Education degree in most of the departments with work for prospective business teachers being referred to as Commercial Arts. The College was described as a technical school whose primary function was to prepare teachers for the teaching profession in the same sense that medical colleges prepare physicians and surgeons, or engineering schools prepare engineers.
Willie Smith was replaced by Edna Dotson in 1926 who taught until 1936. She and Tom Bellwood were the only people in the Commercial Arts Department. When Dr. Bellwood became Dean of the College in 1926, Joseph Reagan became head of the Department. Dr. Bellwood retained an active interest in the department and continued to teach some classes there. He had introduced and taught the methods courses in typewriting and secretarial training and had coordinated the supervision of practice teachers.

In 1929 Northern Arizona State Teachers College became Northern Arizona State College and the Bachelor of Education degree was changed to a Bachelor of Arts in Education. As a result of the changing of the requirements for the teaching certificate, all high school classes were discontinued and other courses were added and upgraded. Three years attendance was required for a certificate after January 1930, and no certificates were issued upon examination.

Joseph Reagan was replaced by Earl Atkinson as head of the department which became the Department of Commerce and Economics. Though many business courses had been offered at the secondary and some at the collegiate level throughout the early years of the institution, the real expansion began during the early 1930’s. New economics courses offered during the next two years were Industrial Economics, Economic History of Europe, Economic History of North America, Economic Developments of the Southwest, and Introduction to World Industries. Other new courses were Introduction to Statistics, Principles of Marketing, Public Utilities, Labor Problems, Commercial and Industrial Geography.

During the administration of Earl Atkinson several extension classes in retailing and advertising were offered at the Office of the Chamber of Commerce to Businessmen. Because of the expansion of business classes, the department was moved from “Main Building” to the new Library and Administration Building.

The Commerce Department played a leading role when the College aided in the war effort by conducting a Navy V-12 program to train Naval and Marine officers from June, 1943 to October, 1945. The campus was practically deserted except for the Navy program,
A pre-law program, which utilized the services of the Commerce Department, was introduced. It was a program planned to combine economics, social studies, business, government, languages and sciences, and accounting.

W.R. Hensley joined the commerce staff in 1944. He later became registrar, a position he held until his retirement in 1970. He continued to teach at least one class in the Commerce Department until 1968. Other new employees were Warren Max and Delight Shaffer who taught accounting and secretarial training. The year of 1944 was the first time there had been more than two faculty members in the department.
As Pi Omega Pi was limited to top scholars and only those preparing to teach, a second business club was organized in 1944. The Commerce Club was open to all majors and minors and its activities were listed as service, social, and educational.

Dr. Bellwood became president (1945-47) the year the name of the institution was changed from Arizona State Teachers College to Arizona State College at Flagstaff.
A new offering in the summer of 1945 was Distributive Education. Though most of the courses were offered only in the summer, it was possible for a student to obtain a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education with a major in distributive education.

Five four-year programs were offered in General Business and Management, Economics, Accounting, Teaching of Business, and Secretarial Science.
Though all of the courses were not offered at the same time, 14 graduate courses were listed in the 1954 catalog. Three undergraduate courses—Small Business Organization and Operation, Office Management, and Personnel Problems were added.

Norman Berg was transferred temporarily to the Commerce Department in 1955. He had been employed earlier to work in the publicity office.
Dr. Bellwood, Dean of the College and Dean of Student Personnel from 1947 to 1955, was returned to full-time teaching and head of the Commerce Department at his request.

The years between 1957 and 1962 constituted a period of expansion of academic and professional programs. An emphasis was given to broader undergraduate programs and to developing the graduate programs into stronger academic areas.

Dr. Rexer Berndt joined the staff in 1957 as head of the Commerce Department which became the Division of Business in 1959. At that time there were four full-time teachers and two part-time teachers in the Department. Dr. Bellwood was largely responsible for the teacher education program while Dr. Biester and Mr. Downs taught the secretarial courses. Mr. Briel taught the law and accounting courses and DR. Berndt the Economics courses. Mr. Hensley assisted in the business math classes.
The 1957 catalog listed for the first time a graduate major in economics and social science. The economic emphasis consisted of Comparative Economic Systems, Development of Economic Thought, and Advanced Economic Analysis. Four to six hours in other business work was required.
seminar room and two regular classrooms. The remainder of the second floor area houses 58 faculty offices and a faculty lounge.

Many of the special rooms were furnished by private business firms. The Grand Canyon Room was furnished by the Arizona Bank; the Apollo Room by Mountain Bell, the Pioneer Room by Babbitt Brothers, the Mineral Room by the First National Bank, the Communications Room by Mountain Bell, the Ponderosa Center by Southwest Forest Industries; the Flame room by Southern Union Gas; the Dean’s office and conference room by the Valley National Bank. Interior decorations were also furnished by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Arizona Museum of National History.

The W. A. Franke College of Business Administration Building, as well as the Activity Center, and the College of Engineering and Technology Building on South Campus were dedicated October 23, 1973. The plaque naming the auditorium of The W. A. Franke College of Business Administration Building the Bellwood Auditorium was unveiled by President Walkup. The plaque states:

Teacher, Counselor, Administrator, Friend
41 years devoted to the Progress and Welfare
Arizona State College 1922-1963
Beloved by students, faculty, townspeople
Symbol of the Outstanding Ideals in Education
Human Relations, and Citizenship

At the dedication John Briel was formally presented as the Senior Professor of The W. A. Franke College of Business Administration.
The granting of Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel-Motel and Food Administration was approved by the Board of Regents in 1973. The degree program was integrated with the Department of Home Economics in the School of Applied Sciences and with the College of Engineering and Technology continued to be taught until 1965 when the students were required to take the regular Accounting Principles course. A few years later a special course in economics called Secretarial Economics was designed for the secretarial program.

The Department of Business Education again became the Commerce Department in 1941.

World War II brought many changes at ASTC Attendance was very low in spite of the many new courses and programs designed to help the war effort and to meet the needs of the economy. Short-term courses in General Business and in Secretarial Training were initiated.

In order to aid our government and students during the present emergency, the Department of Commerce at ASTC, Flagstaff has set up two courses----a one-year special course and a two-year special course. The purpose of these two courses is to provide one or two years of intensive work in the field of business. These courses are designed primarily for those students who do not intend to work for a degree and with a desire to have the social and educational benefits which can be derived from an institution of higher learning at small expense. At the same time this training will fit them in a short period for one of the many positions now open in the field of business.13

There were also many changes in personnel during the war years. John Soares, who was employed as an instructor in 1939, was inducted into the army in 1942. He was replaced by Charles Sutphen who also resigned to go into Service. As in all other areas, there was a tremendous shortage of teachers. The State Superintendent of Instruction suggested that married women be allowed to teach as one solution to the teacher shortage problem.

Ralph Pryon became head of the Commerce Department in 1942.
Dr. Bellwood became acting president in 1942 during the crisis period when President Tormey took leave to engage in war defense work.