The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving cultural and economic well-being for individuals and tribes through graduate education, recently announced newly elected officers and new board members. Grayson Noley, Choctaw Nation, will serve as Board President; 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.
Other board members include Michael Bird, Kewa and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblos, and Danna R. Jackson, Esq., Confederated Tribes of Salish and Kootenai.
Noley is Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a master’s and doctorate degree in education from Pennsylvania State University and a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He has authored more than two-dozen refereed journal articles and book chapters and served for 13 years as chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at University of Oklahoma.
Fritzsche is a staff attorney with the American Indian Law Center. Formerly, she was an Assistant Attorney General for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office in the Civil Division and an Attorney-Advisor for the Solicitor’s Office of the Department of the Interior. She received her Bachelor of Arts in history and government from Adams State College and a J.D. with a Certificate in Indian Law and Natural Resources from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Graham is the director of the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance in Window Rock, Arizona, which serves more than 10,000 Navajo students pursuing post-secondary education. Prior to this, Graham worked with the Navajo Nation Council for nine years as Legislative Services Director, Legislative Advisory and Interpreter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from Fort Lewis College.
Lamar currently serves as president and CEO of Lamar Associates, a Native American-owned consulting and professional services company specializing in law enforcement, security, and emergency preparedness. Prior to starting his own business, Lamar had a 25-year career as a Special Agent of the FBI, a Deputy Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, and a Senior Advisor to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.
Frank is the director of Grants and Government Relations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. He is a founding member and former president of the National Indian Gaming Association and volunteers his time as an economic development adviser for the National Center for Tribal Economic Development. He also serves on the board of the AMERIND Risk Management Corporation.
“The American Indian Graduate Center is proud to have a distinguished, diverse and dynamic group of board leaders to guide our organization,” said Sam Deloria, director of AIGC. “As a national organization, we represent American Indians and Alaska Natives with a range of interests and study areas. Grayson, Rose, Melanie, Walter and Joel offer a tremendous value to AIGC through their decades of collective experience.”
AIGC, over its lifetime of 44 years, has given more than 16,600 scholarships to American Indians and Alaska Natives who now hold high-ranking positions.