TEMPE, AZ—Representatives in the alumni office at Arizona State University announced this week that in an effort to determine the whereabouts and current mailing address of Class of '98 graduate Glen Schutt, they are utilizing the services of longtime employee and Navajo tracker Joe Lone Tree.
Lone Tree, who has more than 10 years experience tracking ASU alums through both the spirit and waking worlds, was assigned the task after multiple attempts to contact the former engineering major and inform him of upcoming alumni events and giving opportunities failed, sources said.
"Staying up-to-date with our graduates is very important to us, and we do our best to maintain a lifelong relationship with them," ASU Alumni Association president Christine Wilkinson said. "Which is why, in the case of hard-to-reach people like Glen Schutt, Joe Lone Tree and his invaluable expertise in the areas of forest and desert terrain, weathering, and the ancient movements of the sun helps us find out where our grads are and what they've been up to."
According to sources, Lone Tree, whose age and origins are unknown, was given a copy of Schutt's file and last-known contact information last week but immediately set it aside, choosing instead to light a fire in his cubicle and invoke the spirit of the Great Coyote.
University sources said that after investigating the ground outside McClintock Hall, Schutt's freshman dormitory, Lone Tree cast yellow pollen toward the sun, sang the song of First Woman and First Man, and retreated into the desert, carrying only a small hunting knife and a copy of the ASU alumni magazine.
Lone Tree has not been seen since early yesterday evening, when a group of hikers spotted him carrying a change of address form and running at full speed along a creek in Colorado's Arapaho National Forest.
"Glen Schutt has not been the easiest guy to get ahold of these past six years," alumni office representative Don Michaels said with a chuckle. "But with the help of Joe Lone Tree, as well as the various desert plants and animals that typically aid Joe in his many journeys, we hope to be able to fill in Glen on all the fun things we have planned for Founders' Day this year."
"Also, on the off-chance that Joe is reading this, if you could send us a smoke signal in the next day or two updating us on your progress, that would be great," Michaels added.
According ASU alumni office records, Lone Tree has successfully located more than 5,000 graduates in the past, having tracked down alumni as far afield as Halifax, Kuala Lumpur, and Beijing using his unique combination of standard fieldcraft and the quasi-mystical Navajo trackingway.
Lone Tree also reportedly works in collaboration with fellow tribesmen in various student loan offices, who share information as they traverse the numerous trails they have formed between college campuses and the nation's major metropolitan centers.
"We've learned not to get in Joe's way," said alumni relations director William Zelazny, noting that Lone Tree "doesn't cost much, as his traditional methods are very frugal." "I used to get upset when he would ask for a copy of an academic transcript, but instead of reading it, would burn the folder and then scatter the ashes in sacred Canyon de Chelly in order to read the patterns on the sandstone. But his results speak for themselves, and how else would we be able to remind people of the 10-year reunion coming up?"
Added Zelazny, "Remember, all you Class of '01-ers, June is just around the corner!"
At press time, Lone Tree had left a voicemail message with ASU alumni headquarters, reporting that he had followed Schutt's spoor to an arroyo outside of Chinle, AZ.
"I shall scatter cornmeal in my shadow and e-mail you Mr. Schutt's home and work address before the rising of the new moon," Lone Tree said in the message. "Farewell, and go Sun Devils."