Bureau of Indian Education Director Dr. Charles M. Roessel today announced the selection of Dr. Venida S. Chenault as president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.
Chenault, a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, had been serving as vice president of academic affairs at the university since December 2004. Her new appointment takes effect January 12, 2014.
“Dr. Venida Chenault is an experienced administrator whose leadership at Haskell Indian Nations University and strong commitment to American Indian higher education is well-known among her students and colleagues,” Roessel said in a press release. “Her familiarity with the needs of students, her respect for the school community and her vision for the institution itself has made her the right choice as Haskell president. I am proud to have her on my education management team.”
Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary of Indian Affairs and a member of the Chickasaw Nation, also praised her appointment: “I am very pleased at the selection of Dr. Venida Chenault for Haskell president. This institution is one of the most important Indian higher education institutions in the country. Our search for new leadership at Haskell has led to a strong and able education professional, a person who has long been committed to this institution, and who will work towards its constant betterment.”
Chenault has been associated with Haskell for 21 years beginning in 1991 as a faculty member teaching social work, American Indian studies and addiction until 2004. In December of 2004, she was named vice president of academic affairs.
She was even a student at Haskell in the fall of 1975 and spring of 1984 and later attended the University of Kansas, where she earned a bachelor’s in social work in 1986, a master’s in social work in 1990 and a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2004.
She has received several awards, including Haskell Outstanding Alumni of the Year (Spring 2009) and the Crystal Eagle Indigenous Leadership Award, Center for Indigenous Studies, University of Kansas (Spring 2005).