More Than 200 Students Will Graduate at Diné College’s Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremony


May 7, 2019

TSAILE, Ariz. — More than 200 candidates for graduation will be recognized during the 51st Diné College Commencement Ceremony on May 10.

The spring commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the Charlie Benally library grounds. A graduation “Pre-Show” starts at 9 a.m.

The public is invited to join and celebrate the students’ achievements. Degrees to be awarded include three bachelor of science degrees in biology, 11 bachelor of arts degrees in elementary education, 12 bachelor of arts degrees in business administration, 16 bachelors of arts degrees in psychology and one certificate in Navajo Nation Leadership — interestingly.

“We are proud of all of our graduates,” Michael Lerma, dean of the School of Social Science and Business, said. “It’s the beginning of a very important journey for each graduate.”

The biology degrees represent the second consecutive year in which students are graduating. The program graduated six students last year. The School of Diné Studies and Education is one of the more popular at the college. Its rate of graduation a well as job placement is very high. The psychology program is growing yearly and contains a research component whereby selected students travel to out-of-state colleges or universities for research projects.

The Graduation Agenda

The commencement processional will be led by a small group of professors at Diné College and traditional practitioner Avery Denny.

This year’s keynote speaker is Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation and a former student at Diné College. Nez is from Shonto, Ariz., and is a bachelor’s and master’s graduate of Northern Arizona University. He is a former vice president of the Navajo Nation and is the youngest president to serve as its chief officer.

Also during the commencement, there will be a moment of silence for Martha Jackson, professor emeriti, graduate of Diné College and the University of Arizona and Goddard College in Vermont, passed away in January at the age of 86. Jackson grew up in the Seba Delkai area of Arizona and taught Navajo language, Navajo linguistics, Navajo descriptive and narrative writing, among other Navajo language-based courses at Diné College.

A welcome and introduction will be given by Diné College President Charles Roessel and an alumni induction ceremony will be spearheaded by Patrick Blackwater, a Diné College graduate and the college’s Alumni Association President. Congratulatory remarks will be given by Tom Platero of the Office of the Navajo Nation Speaker and the board chairman at Navajo Technical University. Platero is set to receive a certificate in Navajo Nation Leadership.

The National Anthem will be performed by Talibah Begay. Instructor Denny will lead the recessional.



Marie R. Etsitty Nez 
Vice President of External Affairs

George Joe, M.A., M.Ed, Director Of Marketing and Communications

Bernie DotsonPublic Relations Officer

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