Maverick: A Tradition in Being Different

Mavericks are independent thinkers—individuals not afraid to be a little different and stand out from the crowd.  At NAU, we’ve embraced this symbol as an image of the very of nature our students, staff, founders and the university. We came from a unique beginning and continued over the years to hold true to our philosophy that everyone deserves an education. What started as an inspiration to offer specialized business training in South Dakota over 70 years ago has expanded to 37 locations serving thousands of Mavericks across the nation.

The origin of the Maverick

As NAU (then known as National College) began to grow in the late 70s, the Rapid City campus also expanded its athletic teams. Following true NAU tradition, the teams set out to make a name for themselves and began to succeed. While several “mascot” names were used, including the Royals and the Executives, it wasn’t until the term Maverick (and some important wins) that the university felt they had found a true representation of NAU’s unique brand. “The term grew out of an effort in college athletics, but the value is not athletic. The maverick term was and still is representative of NAU’s concept in education,” said Guy Tillett, Director of Alumni Services. Mr. Tillett has continued to serve students as an employee of the university for nearly 50 years.

While the university continues to grow and adapt to the changing needs of our students, the NAU Maverick is still representative of the people and tradition of the university. Today we continue to serve Mavericks like our students—people brave enough to make their own path and dare to be different.

Contributions by Guy Tillett, NAU Director of Alumni Services