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Haudenosaunee Promise succeeds in helping Native American students attend SU
Haudenosaunee Promise succeeds in helping Native American students attend SUAugust 22, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
On Aug. 15, 2005, members of the Syracuse University and Haudenosaunee communities announced a new scholarship program to provide qualified American Indian students with the necessary financial resources to attend SU. It was announced that the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship Program, administered by the University’s Office of Scholarship Programs, would provide financial assistance equal to the cost of tuition, on-campus room and board and mandatory University fees to all admitted first-year and transfer students who are certified current citizens of one of the six Haudenosaunee nations.
One year later, SU is pleased to be welcoming 44 Native American students to campus this fall, with 30 of these students — 17 first-year and 13 transfer students — here as part of the Haudenosaunee Promise. Because of the Promise and other campus and outreach efforts, the Native American population of incoming students has grown eight-fold from 2004 to the greatest population size in SU history. This year, more than nine territories will be represented.
“I am delighted to welcome such a large group of bright and gifted students to the University,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “We are continuing to build and expand upon our historical relationship with the Haudenosaunee, and the results thus far are truly exciting.”
The Promise, developed to express SU’s gratitude and appreciation for the historical, political and cultural legacies of the Haudenosaunee, financially assists qualified Native American students in each year of study toward their first bachelor’s degree. Scholarship recipients are required to maintain full-time academic status at SU with a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average. SU does not limit the number of Promise scholarships awarded annually.
“In having set out to make Syracuse University accessible to students of the Haudenosaunee, we are truly impressed with how well the first year has gone,” says David C. Smith, vice president for enrollment management. “There is no question that we are on our way to a much higher level in our relationship.” Last year, Cantor named Smith as the University’s emissary to the Haudenosaunee, and Stephanie Waterman ’83, G’04 was appointed the Onondaga Nation’s emissary to the University.
To qualify, students must be citizens of one of the following territories throughout New York state and Canada that are part of the Haudenosaunee nations: Akwesasne Mohawk, Kantatsiohareke Mohawk, Ganienke Mohawk, Kahnawake Mohawk, Kanesatake Mohawk, Tyendinaga Mohawk, Tonawanda Seneca, Six Nations (Canada), Oneida (New York), Oneida of the Thames (Ontario), Onondaga, Allegany Seneca, Cattaraugus Seneca, Oil Spring Seneca and Tuscarora.
Lisa Parker of Akron, N.Y., and a member of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation, will be a freshman at SU as part of the Haudenosaunee Promise and plans to study education. “I feel that many of the obstacles that Native American students may face have been addressed currently through the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship,” says Parker. “Syracuse University has provided students opportunities to alleviate cultural differences by providing academic and personal support, providing opportunities to meet and live in a Native American Learning Community residence hall, attend small group information sessions with family members before opening day, and opportunities to meet SU faculty and staff.”
Odie Brant Porter, assistant provost at SU and also a citizen of the Seneca Nation (Allegany Territory) notes, “This is an exciting time to witness the increase in the native student population. Our native students bring many distinct talents and perspectives, so the learning process will be mutually beneficial to both natives and non-natives alike.”
As a form of collaboration between academics and student life, the Division of Student Affairs’ Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) has established a new program to help all Native American students on campus. Named the Native Student Program, the initiative is led by Regina Jones, assistant director in OMA, and housed at 113 Euclid Ave. It is designed to help native students transition into college life and access support throughout their career at SU. The program launched Aug. 1 and has partnered in hosting orientation events for new native students.
Robert Odawi Porter, director of the College of Law’s Center for Indigenous Law, Governance and Citizenship, notes that SU’s commitment to Native American students is like none other in higher education “No other university has made this kind of commitment to neighboring aboriginal peoples,” says Porter. “For too long we have struggled to resist Western efforts to de-culture our people through education. Now, through Chancellor Cantor’s leadership, SU is creating an opportunity for us to achieve a Haudenosaunee intellectual renaissance.” Porter is a citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians and was raised on its Allegany Territory in upstate New York.
In the past two years, the University has worked to expand its academic offerings in related areas. Richard Loder ’67, G’78, part-time professor of sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, was appointed to a three-year directorate of the Native American Studies Program in The College of Arts and Sciences, the first time a faculty member of Native American heritage has served in a leadership position in the college. Loder’s appointment is part of a re-envisioning of the Native American Studies Program to expand its offerings to all members of the University community.
For more information on the Promise scholarships, contact Patricia Johnson, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs, at 443-2515.