Lawrence- A little less than 200 graduates took to the stage and proudly accepted their diplomas at Haskell Indian Nations University this morning. About half received Bachelor’s degrees while the other half received Associate’s Degrees.
Coach Phil Homeratha was named Alumnus of the year. Homeratha graduated from the University in 1961 and has provided over 20 years of coaching for the school. Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Director of Government and Community Affairs and longtime area broadcaster Hank Booth was named 2011 Friend of Haskell. Other dignitaries in attendance included, Aron Cromwell, the Mayor of Lawrence, Tarik Khatib, the Chief of Police and one of the few remaining Navajo Code Talkers, Samuel Tso.
Mr. Keith Moore, the Director for Bureau of Indian Education out of Washington D.C. gave the commencement address. The message for the graduates was learning, leadership and service. Moore also touched on the low graduation rates in the Native American Community.
“We know that we have a lot of work to do, said Moore. “We are not anywhere near where we would like to be in terms of student achievement, outcome and graduation rate.”
Several graduates said graduation is just the beginning.
“My ultimate goal is to get a doctorate degree and research toxic wastes on my reservation and the effects of it, said Tennille Begay a graduate who received her B.S. in Environmental Science.