Paige Names Director of White House OfficeFeb 15th, 2002 | By tcj | Category: 13-3: Sustaining Our Future, Tribal College News
U. S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige has appointed Victoria L. Thornton as the new director of the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (WHITCU).
WHITCU was created by former President William Clinton’s executive order in 1996. The office receives advice from the President’s Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities. Members of the board had not been named at press time. As director of the initiative, Thornton will work with members of the board and department leadership to ensure tribal colleges and universities are recognized as accredited institutions and have access to federal opportunities available to other higher education institutions.
Thornton worked in the former Bush Administration as director of scheduling and logistics for Admiral James D. Watkins at the U. S. Department of Energy and in the Reagan Administration as a staff member for the Presidential Commission on Indian Reservation Economics. She is returning to the Department of Education where she worked in various capacities from 1981-1987.
Thornton is part Diegueno of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians located in Valley Center, CA, where her father served as tribal chairman for nearly 20 years. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from California State University- Fullerton and her teaching credentials from the University of California- Irvine. Carrie Billy (Navajo) served as the first WHITCU executive director under the Clinton Administration.