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July 3, 2014

Where Are They Now: Col. Rebecca Seeger

Throughout the summer, NAU Athletics will take a look back and catch up with former Lumberjack women's basketball players in a Where Are They Now series.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – People make a difference in lives of others in a variety of ways every second of every day. Through 30 years of service in the Air Force, Col. Rebecca Seeger dedicated herself to serving her country.

After her days with the Northern Arizona women's basketball team were completed, Seeger worked as an electrical engineer and program manager for the Air Force. Over her three decades of service, Seeger held numerous roles including working with the Air Force Inspector General Office and serving as Commander of the Defensive Contract Management Agency where she oversaw 11 states.

"It was the most phenomenal experience," Seeger said. "I got to launch satellites into space – Titan IIs and Titan IVs – and I did high power microwave research. I did studies and analysis and that was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed being in command. I wouldn't change it for anything."

Seeger has a unique role in the history of Lumberjack women's basketball history as she played for the 'Jacks for three seasons from 1976-79. What is special is that Seeger's first year at NAU was just the program's third in existence. Having just won a pair of games their first two seasons, the Lumberjack women's basketball program was still at its grass roots level.

The team continued to find their way during Seeger's three seasons, winning five games each season, but the wins and losses did nothing to cloud her time at NAU, where she also played one season of softball.

"As anybody says, my teammates were great," Seeger said. "I got to play with Peggy Kennedy, Kris Hermansen and Lea Ann Evers; and Peggy and Lea Ann are (NAU) Hall of Famers. It was fun, I enjoyed it and it was a good way to spend my time at NAU."

In addition to the early struggles of the program still in its infancy years, Seeger played during the infancy years of Title IX, which became a law in 1972. For the first time under Title IX, women's sports had to have equal funding and representation to male sports sponsored by institutions. Fortunately for Seeger, because she lived in Germany for a few years because of her father's work in the Air Force, she had opportunities to play sports that her counterparts in America didn't necessarily have.

"I was pretty lucky because when I lived in Germany during junior high and high school, they had sports for both boys and girls so I started playing sports when I moved to Germany," Seeger said. "I didn't realize that some people didn't get that chance. I noticed some differences because in Germany, the women were just as strong as the men in track & field and when I moved back to the states there were things that weren't available for women and I wasn't expecting that. But my parents never told me I couldn't do something because I was a girl."

Seeger was born in Tucson on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, but she spent a lot of her life growing up in different cities moving every few years because her father worked in the Air Force. She started school in Hawaii, started junior high in Tucson, started high school in Germany and finished high school in Florida. When it came to college though, she only applied to three schools – Arizona State, Arizona and Northern Arizona – and she was sold on NAU when a neighbor told her she could ski at 7,000 feet.

Seeger has traveled the world, since retiring from the Air Force she has resided in Flagstaff, the 26th place she has lived. Yet despite being retired, Seeger, an NAU Athletics season ticket holder, continues to find a way to make a difference. She has been an annual giver to the Lumberjack Athletic Association since 1995 and in 2006, she established the Rebecca Seeger Women's Basketball Endowment, a scholarship awarded to a women's basketball player with a 3.5 GPA or higher with a preferred science major.

"I just wanted to give back," Seeger said. "I was actually cut my senior year so I could've been bitter but basketball was one of the main reasons I enjoyed my time at NAU. There are three core values in the Air Force: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. I could certainly use the money on myself, but here's an opportunity to give to someone else and it feels good."

Having fallen in love with soccer during her time in the Air Force, Seeger is also in the progress of establishing the Col. Rebecca Seeger Women's Soccer Endowment for an NAU soccer player. For Seeger, who spent her life in leadership development, training and mentoring in the Air Force, her endowment is a way to perpetuate what she has been doing her entire life: making a difference.

"For me, it's all about NAU and the Air Force," Seeger said. "I can't say enough about the Air Force and what it taught me and my journey started at NAU to make a difference. Now, I feel like I'm helping a young lady realize her full potential, and that helps NAU which helps the United States. It's got a patriotic feel but what can I say, my whole life has been in the Air Force."