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
Tom O. Bellwood,
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
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
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
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
Wilma D. Stricklin, 1967-1976
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."
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.
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
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
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
From DQR alumni profile:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
TOM O. BELLWOOD
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
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
The Department of Business Education again became the Commerce Department in
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
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.