UKIAH, Ca., 6/20/23 – Mendocino College celebrated a major milestone recently: out of the 116 community colleges in California, it has the highest percentage of Native American students. In Spring 2023, the college reported that 5.56% of its students identify as Native American. Mendocino College serves Mendocino and Lake counties and averages a student population of 6,800.
The college credits this achievement due to ongoing efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive learning space for students, particularly those from historically marginalized communities. In 2018, the Pomo Pathways program was started in partnership with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. The program helps adult or returning Native American students transition easily to college with culturally relevant academic and social support.
The college also offers a Native American Student Resource Center, a Native American Club and special Native American-focused event days on campus. Additionally, the college received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Native Learning Symposium. The lecture series, which features Native American experts, educators and elders, is open to the public and examines a variety of subjects significant to the local Indigenous communities ranging from the sciences, arts, health, language and more. The series resumes August 25, with lectures offered monthly, free of charge, through November.
Here is the announcement from Mendocino College:
Mendocino College is thrilled to announce that it has attained the notable distinction of having the highest percentage of Native American students among all California Community Colleges. This achievement underscores the college’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity.
The college has long been dedicated to supporting the needs of Native American students, with initiatives such as the Pomo Pathways program, the establishment of the Native American Student Resource Center (NASRC), increased cultural events including Native American Motivation Day, and collaborating with local tribes. These efforts have contributed to an inclusive campus environment where Native American students can thrive academically and personally.
“We take immense pride in our student population, and the invaluable diversity students bring to our college community,” said Dr. Tim Karas, President of Mendocino College. “This achievement reflects our ongoing commitment to cultivating an inclusive and supportive environment for all students, and we remain dedicated to their success and well-being.”
Mendocino College values its role as a leader in Lake and Mendocino counties, and to nurture ongoing learning has established the Native Learning Symposium with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This speaker series, open to the public, is in collaboration with representatives from local tribes and features local Native American experts, elders, and educators. The series is designed to educate about the history, culture, and political organization of the tribes in the Mendocino-Lake Community College District. The series will resume on August 25, 2023 from 3-4:30pm focusing on Wellness. The series continues monthly through November. To learn more visit www.mendocino.edu/nativelearningsymposium.
Mendocino College’s accomplishment in attracting and supporting Native American students enriches the educational experience for all students and strengthens the broader California Community College system, and our community as a whole. By embracing diversity and fostering cultural understanding, the college is paving the way for a brighter future where all students can thrive.
For more information about Mendocino College and its commitment to diversity, please visit www.mendocino.edu or contact the Mendocino College Native American Student Resource Center at (707) 468-3000 ext. 4603.