Diné College History
Diné College was established in 1968 as the first tribally-controlled community college in the United States. In creating an institution of higher education, the Navajo Nation sought to encourage Navajo youth to become contributing members of the Navajo Nation and the world society. Under the direction of an eight-member Board of Regents confirmed by the Government Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, the College serves residents of the 26,000 square mile Navajo Nation, which spans the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. As a postsecondary educational institution, Diné College awards associate degrees and certificates in areas important to the economic and social development of the Navajo Nation.
The Navajos have a long history of dedication to education for their people. A few days before his death in 1893, the great chief, Hastinn Ch’il Haajiin (Manuelito) said:
“My grandchild, education is the ladder. Tell our people to take it.”
For the past five decades, the Navajos have allocated a relatively large proportion of their efforts and resources to improving educational opportunities for their tribal members.
The Navajo Tribe took a momentous step toward educational self-determination of Indians by establishing Navajo Community College (now Diné College) in 1968. This landmark institution was an innovative means to meet the long unmet postsecondary educational needs of Native Americans.
Diné College was the first college established by Native Americans for Native Americans. It set a precedent for later tribally controlled community colleges on or near reservations. Diné College remains the oldest and largest. In the following decades, 33 similar colleges have been founded by other Indian tribes.
A major milestone in the development of Diné College was its attainment of accreditation by the North Central Association (NCA) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in 1976. It became the first tribally controlled institution to be accredited as a two-year college. In 1995 NCA renewed the accreditation of the College for an additional six years. The 2002 comprehensive visit garnered a recommended 8 year re-accreditation.
Under the direction of an eight-member Board of Regents confirmed by the Government Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, Diné College has the responsibility to serve residents of the 26,000 square mile Navajo Nation which spans the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
As a postsecondary educational institution, Diné College awards Associate degrees and Certificates in areas important to the economic and social development of the Navajo Nation. To comply with the College mission, personalized instruction is guaranteed to each student because of the low student-faculty ratio.
In 1998, Diné College bestowed its first baccalaureate degrees under the Diné Teacher Education Program, accredited under a partnership with Arizona State University.