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President Fries and 23 Native American Tribal Leaders Sign Agreement Feb. 19

New Mexico Highlands University President Jim Fries and leaders from 23 Native American tribes signed an agreement Feb. 19 to promote higher education opportunities for Native American students at Highlands.  “One of the most exciting things about Highlands is the rich diversity of the students that attend our university,” said Fries at the signing ceremony. “Native American students from 19 tribes attend Highlands and represent 7 percent of our student population. We want to see that number increase.”Rochelle Yazzie, Native American student services coordinator at Highlands, thanked Fries and Judy Cordova-Romero, vice president for student affairs, for their help with forging the agreement.One highlight of the agreement is a tripling in the number of scholarships Highlands’ offers Native American students. The agreement also calls for intensified recruiting and retention activities for Native American students.   “It’s exciting that these Highlands’ scholarships provide opportunities for more Native American students to achieve their educational goals at our university,” Yazzie said. “I also think this agreement will enhance the working relationship between Highlands and the tribes.”Yazzie said the new memorandum of understanding updates a 1997 agreement between Highlands University and 23 Native American tribes, 22 from New Mexico and one from Texas.   Click image to view video