More Than Employees—NNU Honors Six Individuals with Emeriti Status for Their Devoted Service to the University

More Than Employees—NNU Honors Six Individuals with Emeriti Status for Their Devoted Service to the University

Northwest Nazarene University
Feb 4, 2021

NNU is privileged to have a community of faculty and staff dedicated to serving the university above and beyond expectations. This year, six of those individuals were honored with emeriti status. Nancy Ayers, Kevin Dennis, Fred Fullerton, Brenda Johnson, Wes Maggard and Bill Packard truly exemplify that the NNU community of faculty and staff are more than employees—they are servant-leaders committed to the success of the university and its students. 



Nancy Ayers, registrar emerita, first came to NNU in July 2000 as the Degree Audit Coordinator and Secretary to the Dean of Academic Resources. Nancy became the Registrar in July 2006. She graduated from Arizona State University in 1979 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and received a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwest Nazarene University in 2006. 

Before coming to NNU, Nancy worked as a sixth-grade teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, and served as the co-owner and vice president of a small business in Nampa, Idaho. Nancy has two adult children and eight grandchildren, whom she loves dearly. 

In her time at NNU, Nancy participated in the implementation of NNU’s current student information system, taught Math for Business in the NNU School of Business, worked 18 commencement exercises, handed out thousands of diplomas and her signature graced thousands of transcripts. Nancy served for a number of years as the Principal Designated School Official for international students and as the school certifying official for veterans using tuition benefits. Over her 20 years at NNU, Nancy has served faithfully on numerous committees and councils and has overseen a number of employees and vital institutional projects. 

When Nancy began at NNU, her primary task was to hand-write degree audits for every degree-seeking student. During her tenure in the Registrar’s Office, she built the systems infrastructure for the current automated degree audits and oversaw several technological updates to the student information and reporting systems. Nancy’s employees note, “Nancy is a delight to work for. She sees the potential in her team, and always supports our goals. Nancy is beloved by staff and faculty, and will be sorely missed.” Nancy has been a dedicated servant to NNU even in the midst of personal adversity, and her knowledge of policy and procedure has been vital to NNU’s success over the years. 

As the master says to his faithful servant in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, we can look to Nancy’s career at NNU and say: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” Nancy has certainly been set over much at NNU, and like the servant in the parable, has proven faithful. 


Associate Professor Kevin Dennis has devoted his entire career to Northwest Nazarene University. Professor Dennis graduated from Northwest Nazarene College in 1977 and received a Master of Arts from Idaho State University in 1979. 

Over the course of his career, Professor Dennis instructed and mentored students in English and the arts. He taught courses ranging from English Composition to Principles of Writing to Greek and Roman Classics to Modern World Literature. During his teaching career, he received the Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994 and was voted Professor of the Year in 1994. 

Professor Dennis has served the university on many committees and councils, including service on the Faculty Policy Council for 14 years, on the General Education Council for 10 years, and as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees for 14 years. 
Although his tenure and service to the university in various governance roles is impressive, more importantly, Kevin loved and served NNU’s students well. His deep care and concern for students was significant in their lives. When Kevin saw a need, he offered a listening ear and then did his best to find ways to support the student. NNU and her students have been blessed by this deeply committed professor who has spent his life in service to them. Kevin would love to stay in touch with former students and colleagues. Email him at


Dr. Rev. Fred Fullerton joined NNU as Vice President for Spiritual & Leadership Development in 2009 and proudly served the university until his retirement in October 2020. In this position, he led the work of spiritual formation for the undergraduate programs at NNU, served as the relational contact for the constituent churches of the Northwest Field of the Church of the Nazarene, USA/Canada region, began initiatives in spiritual formation for graduate programs and guided service opportunities for students to minister across the Boise Valley. Fred’s servant leadership impacted students, staff, faculty and all who were blessed to work with him. You can read more about Fred’s work in "More than a Boss" in the 2021 Winter issue of The Messenger.



Brenda Johnson went home to the Lord on May 7, 2020. At the time of her passing, she was an active and important member of the faculty in the College of Business at Northwest Nazarene University. 

Dr. Brenda G. Johnson, Associate Professor of Business, began her career at NNU in August 2001 as an administrative assistant. She subsequently served in several capacities, including the program coordinator for the MBA program. 

She graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 1974 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from NNU in 2002 and a Doctorate of Business Administration from Anderson University in August 2011. 

While receiving her doctorate, Brenda served as an adjunct professor for the NNU College of Business before joining the College as a faculty member in 2007. In recent years she also served NNU as the head of the International Study Program. 

Dr. Johnson was loved by her students, and, in return, she was completely devoted to them. As her health declined, she continued to come to campus and teach to the point of her final hospitalization. Brenda drew strength from her students, and, in many ways, her continued service was therapeutic. 

We are deeply grateful for Dr. Brenda G. Johnson’s 19 years of dedicated service to Northwest Nazarene University and her students. 


Mr. M. Wesley Maggard, Jr. devoted his 45-year career to higher education, all at Northwest Nazarene University. “Wes” graduated from Northwest Nazarene College in 1975 with a degree in Religious Education. He went on to earn a Master of Ministry degree, graduating in 1992. Following his graduation in 1975, Wes began his career as the Director for the Brick House, going on to hold other positions as Director of Campus Safety, then as Director of Housing, and spending the last 36 years in the Financial Aid Office, including a number of years as the Director. 

Wes is known for his love, care and ministry to the students and their families. He spent countless hours working with the students and their parents to search for all options that would allow a student to become part of the NNU community. He knew that every student was another candidate for Christian transformation. Wes never forgot his mission at NNU—to serve students and be a Godly example to every one of them. His kind heart and gracious demeanor eased parents’ minds as he discussed the hard aspects of financing their child’s education. Wes set the standard for what it means to be a Christian steward of NNU’s resources. 

Not only did Wes contribute his work ethic to NNU, but he also shared his fun and jovial side. Wes played Santa Claus for Morrison Hall, oversaw Thanksgiving and Christmas gift baskets and facilitated Constitution Day remembrances. 

Wes offered his talents and services to the Nampa community as well, serving as a board member at Nampa Christian Elementary School and Northwest Christian Credit Union, as a member of the scholarship committee for Mission Aviation Fellowship and as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. He serves in his local church teaching Sunday School and has participated in three Work and Witness mission trips. Wes received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2005. He exemplifies Servant Leadership in every aspect of his life. 


Dr. William Packard, Professor of Physics, has devoted most of his career to higher education. Dr. Packard graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 1980, received a Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981 and earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987. While working on his doctorate, he also studied mathematics and electrical and computer engineering. 

Dr. Packard began his career at Northwest Nazarene University in 1999. Before coming to NNU, Dr. Packard served in higher education at Arizona State University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Between 1990 and 1992, he also founded Pachyderm Scientific Industries where he served as Director of Research & Development and CEO. 

Over the course of his NNU career, Dr. Packard instructed and mentored students in the mathematics, physics and engineering departments. His colleagues report, “Bill has always been a man of impeccable character and high moral and academic standards. He has poured his life into his NNU students and has been beloved by his students year after year. He was affectionately known for bringing fantastic Physics demonstrations into the classroom to motivate and inspire students. He took on an Albert Einstein-like persona ‘Alfonso Machuly’ and was known to dress in character to engage his students. He brought students into his research, including work on an LED lantern project for third-world African countries. But most importantly, he cared deeply for the salvation and spiritual growth of his NNU students. He is sorely missed in both the classroom and lab at NNU.”