NAU once again honors Prescott Valley resident Doug Wall at opening of new aquatic center
In recognition of his many years of service and commitment to Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the state as a whole, Douglas J. Wall was once again honored by the university during a private grand opening event on Friday, Feb. 19.
The reception took place in the university's brand new Douglas J. Wall Aquatic Center - part of a larger sports complex the university has been constructing for the past two years and that officially opened on Monday, Feb. 22. It included the unveiling of a plaque dedicating the aquatic center in Wall's honor. The former aquatic center was also dedicated in honor of Wall in 1996.
"We are truly pleased to acknowledge Doug Wall's contributions to Arizona," NAU president Dr. Rita Cheng said. "We especially are happy to honor Doug for his many years of service to NAU and later as a member of the Arizona Board of Regents; and for his unwavering support of and contributions to higher education."
The 87-year-old - a former Division I football backup offensive guard at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas, and a successful swimming coach - recalled the first dedication of the aquatics center after him, saying both he and his family were deeply touched.
"And when I learned that this new multi-million aquatic center was going to carry my name, well..." Wall's eyes twinkled as he chuckled. "I'm still not sure I deserve it, but I'll take it."
Wall is one of those individuals whose extensive resume would exceed the word limit permitted for this article.
To name a few of his roles, he has been the director of Arizona Public Service (APS), director of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and - perhaps most significantly for Prescott - was trustee for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
"Without Doug, Embry-Riddle wouldn't be here today," said Ray Newton, long-time close friend of Wall and his wife Marilyn.
Wall is also a former legal counsel and faculty member of NAU. Although he is fully retired, Wall's name still dons the Flagstaff-based law firm Mangum, Wall, Stoops & Warden, PLLC.
"When I graduated from law school, I went to work for Doug," Mayor of Flagstaff, Jerry Nabours, said. "He was my mentor. I knew nothing about the actual practice of law. I learned very quickly that nothing is more important than the best interest of your client. He was a masterful attorney and every client of his had a champion on his or her side."
Frank Besnette, who worked with Wall at both NAU and on the Arizona Board of Regents, believes Wall deserves high marks for his service as a Regent.
"He took his role as a Regent seriously, but never himself," Besnette said. "For eight years, he was a strong, strident and often lone voice reminding everyone that the Arizona Constitution says '...education shall be as nearly free as possible.'"
Wall isn't as active as he once was due to some declining health concerns, but he said he's had a beautiful ride and is grateful for all those who rode along with him.
"I've been in Arizona since 1955, and I've had the opportunity to work with and be friends with some of the nicest people you could ever meet," Wall said.