The number of Native American students earning a bachelor’s degree is on the rise at Oklahoma State University, reinforcing the school’s position as the nation’s top-ranked land-grant institution in that category, according to a survey published in a recent edition of Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine.
The survey shows the number of Native Americans earning a bachelor’s degree at OSU rose by 23 percent, from 193 graduates in 2013, to 238 in 2014, the latest years that national statistics are available. The increase moved OSU from fourth to second place among all universities nationwide, second only to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, which was founded specifically for Native Americans.
“The increase in Native American graduates at OSU is a solid testament to the hard work of the students themselves, and a significant marker of OSU’s commitment to improve the quality of life for all individuals as an emerging national leader in diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president and chief diversity officer for the Division of Institutional Diversity at OSU. “OSU is honored and humbled by our continued recognition in graduating Native Americans at all levels, and as a land-grant university, it is our goal to establish and strengthen partnerships with the sovereign Native American nations as one very important way to build on this progress.”
The University recently founded the OSU Center for Sovereign Nations through a major partnership with the Chickasaw Nation. The center, officially launched in August, is focused on enhancing the university's ability to serve the needs of all Native American students at OSU. Tribal leaders from across Oklahoma are being invited to join in support of the multidisciplinary center, which will connect and build relationships among American Indian Nations and implement initiatives across the OSU system. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education designated OSU as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), based on its enrollment of Native American students.