Faculty Experts

New initiative brings more opportunity to Native Americans and Alaska Natives

I am thrilled to announce a new $990,000 Lumina Foundation grant to help the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) launch a new consortium of Native-Serving Institutions, of which Fort Lewis College will be a part. This new network of schools will work to bring more educational opportunity and success to Native American and Alaska Native peoples.

I’m proud that this WICHE project will be directed by Ken Pepion, who served as associate vice president of academic affairs at Fort Lewis College for many years. I know that Ken will do a tremendous job.

Fort Lewis College has been a leader in educating Native American and Alaska Native peoples for more than a century. Around a third of the FLC student body is Native American or Alaska Native, something for which we are very proud.

“This initiative will give voice and power to a population that is tragically underserved, and to the colleges and universities on the front lines of student-achievement challenges,” says WICHE President Joe Garcia. “The network fits well within our mix of programs that increase access to affordable higher education, and we look forward to helping bring it to fruition in the coming years thanks to Lumina Foundation support.”

I, and Fort Lewis College, stand alongside President Garcia, WICHE and the Lumina Foundation. I’m looking forward to seeing more educational opportunities reach our Native American and Alaska Native friends and neighbors across the country.


Dene Thomas
President, Fort Lewis College

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