Published May 25, 2016
SANTA FE — The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, held its graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 14. IAIA is the only college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. The school currently serves 630 Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and is the only college in New Mexico accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
IAIA graduated 65 students this academic year, which is the largest graduating class since it began awarding BA and BFA degrees in 2001. As part of that number, 26 MFA degrees in creative writing were awarded. The graduating class included Native American students from over 30 different federally-recognized tribes.
IAIA Alumna Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo, ’89) gave the commencement address, and IAIA Alumnus David Bradley (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, ’79) received an Honorary Doctorate. The class of ’16 Valedictorian William Ray Thoms(Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation) delivered the Valedictory. Also, during the ceremony, Jim Rivera (Yoeme/Pascua Yaqui) received the Faculty of the Year Award.
IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation) remarked, “This is a significant milestone in the natural evolution and expansion of IAIA’s mission from a high school, to offering associate and bachelor’s degrees, and now graduate programs. I am so proud of the commitment and passion of our faculty, staff, and students.”
IAIA takes great pride in preparing students to pursue a life rich with ideas, expression and moral values. The college is ensuring a continual flow of leaders and leadership to carry Native heritage and traditions forward. The faculty, many of whom are Native leaders, and IAIA alumni give witness to the positive impact IAIA’s unique environment and influence has had on their lives.