A program started in 2011 by the Cherokee Nation to ensure more Cherokees attain college degrees graduated its first student at Northeastern State University on Saturday, May 10.
Bethany Glenn, of Stilwell, Oklahoma, is the first student to ever complete the Cherokee Promise Scholarship program. Glenn, a Cherokee citizen, will graduate from NSU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Glenn was one of two sophomores to originally start the scholarship program. Scholars are awarded $4,600 a semester for college tuition, housing and meal plans. They live in a section of the dorm dedicated just for Cherokee students. It allows the students to better interact with and support each other.
“It has really been a privilege to be a part of such a fantastic scholarship program that provides financial support and a family-like support system,” Glenn said. “Living on campus and being so close to class and other resources has been so helpful, and I wouldn’t have had that luxury without the support of the Cherokee Nation.”
NSU currently has 45 Cherokee Promise Scholars. Because of its success, Rogers State University started a Cherokee Promise Scholars program on the Claremore campus in 2013 and currently has seven scholars.
“We are proud to see the first Cherokee Promise scholar graduate and expect to see many more in the immediate future,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The program was created to give Cherokee students increased opportunities to pursue a college degree. Young and talented Cherokee citizens like Bethany are our tribe’s most valuable asset, and we have a responsibility to ensure they are able to pursue their academic dreams and fulfill their true potential.”
As part of the program, students are required to maintain a 2.7 GPA. The scholars are also required to take certain Cherokee language classes and attend cultural activities put on by the university. These activities include stickball, basket-weaving and community service.
For more information on the Cherokee Promise Scholarship at NSU, call Kristen Thomas at 918-444-3681. For information on the scholarship at RSU, call Mandy Scott at 918-453-5000 ext. 3841.