It is an honor indeed to have the privilege of serving as the AIGC Board President. I am a six year veteran of the board and have observed three pretty awesome predecessors in this position beginning with Shenan Atcitty, Esq., (Navajo) Elizabeth (Libby) Rodke Washburn, Esq., (Chickasaw) and finally, my immediate predecessor, David Mahooty, (Zuni Pueblo). To each of these and others who came even before them, I extend my appreciation for your leadership and your service to the organization and the students who have been the beneficiaries of AIGC and AIGCS. I also extend my appreciation for the service and commitment of previous Executive Directors and especially the present Director, Sam Deloria and to all those staff members who have lent their expertise to the jobs of acquiring funds for scholarships and administering those funds seeing that they were given for the right purposes to the right people.
As a person who has spent a career in higher education, I have witnessed firsthand the gratitude demonstrated by the recipients of these scholarships. AIGC and AIGCS scholarships have made it possible for thousands of American Indian scholars to attain the levels of education necessary for entry and success in dozens of fields of endeavor. I am a person who believes wholeheartedly in the value education brings especially tor our people, our communities and our world.
AIGC now has reached a new benchmark in its nearly 45 year history. We recently have been selected to administer an additional $12 million in graduate scholarships from the $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement. This new scholarship program represents a tremendous opportunity for AIGC to exponentially expand the reach of AIGC scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native graduate students across the country.
Joining me in this exciting time for AIGC are Melanie Patten Fritzsche (Laguna Pueblo), as Vice President and Rose Graham (Navajo), as Secretary and Treasurer. Walter Lamar (Blackfeet) and Joel Frank (Seminole Tribe of Florida) are new board members. The other veteran board members include Michael Bird (Kewa and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblos) and Danna R. Jackson, Esq. (Confederated Tribes of Salish and Kootenai).
Together, we have an important role to fill as Board members. I pledge to honor the many great efforts and achievements that brought AIGC to the forefront of American Indian graduate education. I will dedicate significant time and effort to this organization to ensure I meet all my obligations, working closely with the Director and the Board in continuing to move AIGC forward.
Grayson Noley (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)
AIGC Board President