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Southeastern among tops in the nation in Native American graduates

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DURANT — Southeastern Oklahoma State University has again earned high marks from "Diverse Issues In Higher Education" magazine.

According to the publication, Southeastern ranks seventh in the nation in awarding undergraduate degrees to Native American graduates in all disciplines combined. Each year, the magazine publishes its top 100 rankings of minority graduates. In 2008-09 27.4 percent of all Southeastern graduates were Native American.

Southeastern also ranked high nationally in awarding degrees to Native American students in the following disciplines:

* 2nd Education

* 6th Biological and Biomedical Sciences

* 8th Psychology

* 14th Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services

* 18th Social Sciences and History

"We are once again honored to be recognized nationally for our work with Native American students," said Southeastern president Larry Minks. "We have a number of programs in place, including the Native American Center for Student Success, to assist these students as they strive to reach their educational goals. We are also very fortunate to have tremendous support from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation. Partnerships have been established with both nations to truly benefit students and we look forward to continued success."

The SE Native American Center for Student Success provides advisement and assistance in accessing external funding for Native American students.

The center also houses staff from the Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program and Chickasaw Nation Education Services and offers a College Success course for new freshmen.

The Center is home to the "Native American Excellence in Education" grant funded by the Office of Indian Education to assist with preparing future Native American educators.

SE offers a Native American Studies minor, Native American management option and four courses in Choctaw Language and Culture. Since 2005, almost 500 students have completed at least three credit hours of Choctaw Language.

Each year, SE partners with the Choctaw Nation to sponsor "Native American Visitation Day" which has high school students experiencing a college setting.

In addition, SE hosts the Native American Symposium and Film Festival. The Native American Collection is located in the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library and contains approximately 6,100 cataloged items pertaining to history and culture.

Also, the Centre Art Gallery of Southeastern houses a collection of traditional Native American art in Oklahoma.