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Marquette establishes new scholarship for Native American students

Emily+Sexton+%28left%29+and+Rainer+Posselt+%28right%29.+Photo+by+Isioma+Okoro-Osademe+%2F+isioma.okoro-osademe%40marquette.edu
Emily Sexton (left) and Rainer Posselt (right). Photo by Isioma Okoro-Osademe / isioma.okoro-osademe@marquette.edu

Emily Sexton (left) and Rainer Posselt (right). Photo by Isioma Okoro-Osademe / isioma.okoro-osademe@marquette.edu

Emily Sexton (left) and Rainer Posselt (right). Photo by Isioma Okoro-Osademe / isioma.okoro-osademe@marquette.edu

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Marquette will start offering a new scholarship to students of Native American descent after a committee pushed for a stronger university effort to recruit and retain Native American students.

University Advancement will gather the necessary funds to make sure The Josiah A. Powless Scholarship is available for years to come. William Welburn, executive director for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, said an initial donation of $15,000 was made last December after the scholarship was created. Multiple donors will need to fund the scholarship to reach the $50,000 goal.

The start date of the scholarship is to be determined based upon how quickly donations are received. Once the scholarship is officially offered, it will be awarded to one student every year after.

“The initiative truly began with the passion of our Native American students,” Welburn said in an email. “This outstanding group of young women and men made it clear that an endowed scholarship would be a solid foundation on which to improve the recruitment and retention of Native American students at Marquette University.”

Emily Sexton, a junior in the College of Business Administration and student representative of the Native American Student Association, said after a former Native American Marquette student charged the university with a list of recommendations to improve on Native American’s representation on the campus, Marquette created a committee on recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students.

One of the committee’s goals was to provide financial assistance and members believe they are one step closer.

“Public support has been really exciting,” Sexton said. “We want to facilitate good experiences for Native American students.”

Sexton said she is happy to see the university get on board with supporting Native Americans.

In my experience, I liked universities that acknowledged my background,” Sexton said about deciding on a college to attend. “It signifies to Native American communities we support them.”

Rainer Posselt, a senior in the College of Health Sciences and president of Marquette’s NASA, said not only is this a step in the right direction, but the scholarship will help bring more Native Americans to Marquette.

“It shows Marquette’s commitment to Native American students and the communities,” Posselt said.

Welburn agreed and said there is still fundraising work to do for what he calls an “important initiative.”

“We at Marquette hope that this scholarship demonstrates our commitment to our Native American students,” he said. “We hope to foster engagement among future recipients of this scholarship and our alumni and other benefactors.” 

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One Response to “Marquette establishes new scholarship for Native American students”

  1. Pat Peterson on January 6th, 2017 2:48 pm

    This definitely a positive step in the right direction to grow and retain Native American students due to the limited scholarships available to this population. It would behoove the various tribes to support this initiative. I think Marquette University should appeal to the tribes and national native organizations to assist in funding the program. It’s a win-win for all parties!

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