March 23, 2004 by Karl Hill NMSU News Center
The Navajo Nation and New Mexico State University have joined in a new collaboration to enhance opportunities for Navajo students at the university.
The agreement was formalized by Navajo Nation Vice President Frank J. Dayish Jr. and NMSU Interim President William V. Flores with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, March 18, at NMSU.
“Our administration has made education the No. 1 priority,” Dayish said at the signing ceremony. “That includes everyone from before birth to our elders, who continue to teach us, because learning is a lifelong process.”
The Memorandum of Understanding focuses on programs to create more opportunities and enhance the academic success of Navajo students. Among other activities, it calls for the university and the Navajo Nation to conduct educational workshops, establish tuition waivers for Navajo students, secure funds for retention programs, and collaborate on increasing the number of Native American students enrolling at NMSU as new, transfer or distance education students.
“This agreement goes beyond just bringing more Navajo students to NMSU,” Flores said. “It’s about building a relationship that will continue to grow and develop.”
The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian tribe, with about 300,000 members. A majority of NMSU’s Native American students come from the Navajo Nation, Flores said.
NMSU’s main campus has a Native American enrollment of more than 470 students.
Dayish said the agreement with the university is “a major milestone for me, as someone who graduated from NMSU. This relationship we have established will continue to grow.”
Dayish earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with an emphasis on economics and operations management, at NMSU. He went on to get a master’s in business at the University of Maryland.