Magazine article University Business

A New Rung on the Ladder

Magazine article University Business

A New Rung on the Ladder

Article excerpt

WHEN CASSANDRA MANUELITO-KERKVLIET WAS inaugurated as president of Antioch University Seattle in October, she not only became the first Native American woman to become president of an accredited university outside the tribal college system, but she also adhered to the wishes of her great-great-grandfather, Navajo Chief Manuelito.

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"When he signed the Navajo Treaty of 1868, he said, 'Education is the ladder to success. Tell my grandchildren to climb that ladder,'" she explains. "Here I am in the 21st century doing what he said."

Although Manuelito-Kerkvliet admits it is humbling to think of the sacrifices her ancestors made that allowed her to reach her position, she is excited by the changes she sees coming in higher education leadership. Through involvement with ACE's Women of Color Administrators, she enjoys meeting young women who are not taking the traditional faculty-to-dean path to leadership positions. Manuelito-Kerkvliet held various minority affairs and student services positions at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, The University of New Mexico, and the University of Wyoming before becoming president of Dine College (Ariz. …

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