News Release – Diné College to Recognize 176 graduates May 8th; a Record 53 Bachelor’s Degrees to be Conferred

2020 Diné College Graduates. (L to R) Melvina R. Endischee, Associates of Arts in Business Administration. Frank Apachito, Associates of Arts in Liberal Arts. Deanna Lynn James, Associate of Science in Health Occupation.

Diné College to Recognize 176 graduates May 8th; a Record 53 Bachelor’s Degrees to be Conferred


May 3, 2020

TSAILE, Ariz. — The worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) is not stopping Diné College from recognizing 176 graduates and conferring a record 53 bachelor’s degrees May 8.

This year, due to COVID-19, the college will recognize the students for their achievements through the college’s website.

“You did not ask to graduate during a pandemic,” Diné College President Charles M. Roessel, Ed.D., said in a pre-recorded online address to students on the college website (

“I am honored by your stories of resilience. Your courage, love and commitment have inspired all of us across the Navajo Nation. We are honored to call you Warriors.”

The site will be viewable for a month after the graduation.

“This year’s graduation will be different due to social distancing conditions created by (COVID-19),” Diné College Provost Geraldine Garrity said. “The graduates will be recognized via the college website: There will be no virtual graduation, however, a celebratory website will acknowledge students for their academic achievements. The usual graduation ceremony is postponed, allowing students to participate in a future in-person ceremony. Graduates will receive their diplomas imprinted with the May 8th graduation date.”

Diné College will have a number of speakers who have pre-recorded congratulatory messages to the graduates. The website will also include a hyperlink of conferral video if graduates decide to celebrate at home with immediate family members, Garrity said.

Garrity said the 176 students will receive associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and certificates, which includes a record 21 students receiving a bachelor’s of arts degree in psychology. Also, there are 10 students graduating with a bachelor’s of arts degree in business administration and eight set to get bachelor’s of science degrees in public health.

And, there are five students scheduled to graduate with bachelor’s degrees in biology, a program which was instituted about three years ago.

“The psychology program is only three years old, but the number of graduates keeps increasing,” Garrity said. “We are very proud of each graduate.”

Xandria Begay, 31, is a business administration major from Rock Point, Ariz. Begay, a mother of three, also received an associate’s degree from Diné College about three years ago. She said she would have liked to have participated in a typical ceremony, but is grateful nevertheless, considering the circumstances.

“When I first found out we were OK with it being postponed. But then the closer the date got, it got frustrating and emotional. Because I wanted my family to be there at the actual graduation and experience it with me. They were there with me when I received my associate’s degree. I felt like I was my own success story for my family. I wanted them to experience it with me.”

Begay said the shift to online instruction wasn’t really a big adjustment. “My classes were already online so the transition wasn’t too difficult. I already had an internet connection at home.”

The graduate website will include speakers, bios and photos of each graduate and a message from President Roessel, Garrity said. She said Class of 2020 will also receive a congratulatory gift package which includes the traditional diploma, a cap and gown and some college souvenirs.

Roessel added, “The sudden switch to online classes during the middle of the Spring semester was a challenge for a lot of students, but the graduates persevered. These students hung in there and completed their course requirements. I know some of them didn’t even have a laptop or access to the Internet, but they overcame these obstacles.”

Registration for the summer semester started May 4, and the first day of online classes is May 26. The entire registration process, including advisement and registration, will be online (, Garrity said. Tuition at Diné College is still $55 per credit hour — the lowest in the state of Arizona.



Marie R. Etsitty Nez 
Vice President of External Affairs

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

Bernie DotsonPublic Relations Officer

Scott TomGraphic Design and Digital Media Specialist

Jazzmine D. MartinezMarketing Assistant

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