Haskell Honors Outgoing PresidentSep 15th, 1999 | By tcj | Category: 11-1: 10th Anniversary Issue, Tribal College News
Haskell Indian Nations University asked outgoing Haskell President Dr. Bob Martin and his wife, acclaimed author and poet, Luci Tapahonso, to give the keynote address at the spring commencement last May. Martin’s announcement of his resignation from the university in January prompted the university to select him and Tapahonso in recognition of their contributions to Haskell. Both Martin and Tapahonso have accepted faculty positions at the University of Arizona.
Martin is a member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation, and Tapahonso is a member of the Dine Nation (Navajo) of New Mexico. Before coming to Haskell, Martin served as president of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, N.M. During his tenure at Haskell the university developed a long-range plan, Vision 2005, designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. One of the goals was achieved in the fall of 1995, the Elementary Education baccalaureate program. Since then, Haskell has added three new baccalaureate programs– American Indian Studies, Business Administration, and Environmental Science. Martin cites his time at Haskell as the most important endeavor of his professional career.
Tapahonso, an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, coordinated cultural events between the university and Haskell. She did readings at Haskell and found Indian keynote speakers. The author of two children’s books and six books of poetry, she has received the 1998 Kansas Governor’s Art Award and “Distinguished Woman” awards from the National Association of Women in Education (1998) and the Girl Scout Council of America (1996). Her poems have also been translated into German, Italian, and French.
Haskell conferred degrees upon 120 graduates, including six graduates earning the Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Elementary Education. This is the third year that baccalaureate degrees have been granted by Haskell. An honorary doctorate degree was awarded to Bill Koch, president and CEO of The Oxbow Group. Haskell, an institutional member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), is the only all-Native, inter-tribal university in the United States. Students from over 150 federally recognized tribes and approximately 35 states enroll each year.