Anonymous donors recently contributed funds to the Western New Mexico University Foundation, establishing an endowed named scholarship to support Native American students.

In addition to the scholarship, the donors created an immediate use fund to supplement the endowment while it grows.

This gift and pledge commitment honors the couple’s belief in education and the impact it has on creating opportunities for Native American students specifically. One of the donors developed this cultural endearment early in her professional life while teaching on a reservation.

“They have a care and concern for Native American cultures and indigenous students,” said WNMU Foundation Director Jodi Edens-Crocker.

Endowed scholarships are created with gifts that total a minimum of $15,000, and this overall pledge amounts to more than $130,000 over the couple’s multi-year commitment. The supplemental scholarship will be awarded by the Foundation as soon as possible.

“To me, this demonstrates how much the community supports what is happening on the Western New Mexico University campus,” Edens-Crocker said. “These donors are not affiliated with Western New Mexico University, other than the fact that they live in the area and see the good things we are doing to support the student body’s many diverse cultures.”

On average, Western New Mexico University serves more than 100 Native American students each semester, and the proportion of American Indians in Western New Mexico University’s student body has grown by almost a full percent since 2014.

Through the on-campus Native American Cultural Center and the longstanding Movimento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) student group, in addition to special agreements the university holds with entities such as the Navajo Nation Department of Dine Education, Western New Mexico University ensures the needs of its Native American population are met and the traditions of their backgrounds honored.

“WNMU Foundation donors are building an establishment that is having an immediate impact on our students as well as securing support for WNMU students of the future. It’s amazing to be a part of!” Edens-Crocker said.

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