After over a year of interim leadership, Haskell finds permanent president

photo by: Journal-World File

A sign at the entrance to Haskell Indian Nations University is shown Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

Story updated at 1:01 p.m. Wednesday

After more than a year of interim leadership, Haskell Indian Nations University has hired a permanent president.

Ronald Graham, a former division dean of instruction at Victor Valley College in Victorville, Calif., started his new role as president of Haskell on Monday. Graham is a member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

Graham had been scheduled to share further information about himself and his new role in an interview with the Journal-World on Wednesday afternoon, but Haskell spokesman Stephen Prue told the Journal-World that the interview would need to be postponed until federal officials could review interview questions in advance.

According to Graham’s LinkedIn, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and police science from California State University-Sacramento, a Master of Science in criminology from California State University, Fresno, and a Doctor of Education in international multicultural education and organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco in 1995.

Graham’s LinkedIn also says that he has previously served in leadership roles at other colleges and as worked as a pilot, deputy sheriff and security training coordinator, among other positions.

Haskell’s student newspaper, the Indian Leader, reported in early September that Graham interviewed on campus on Sept. 5. Later that month, Graham shared a post from Haskell on his Facebook wall and wrote in the comments that he had recently visited campus.

“I fell in love with this university, faculty, staff, and students when I visited there a few weeks ago,” he wrote. “This school does so much with so little. It is a direct stepping stone for our Native American students who attend there to achieve their aspirations upon graduation.”

Prior to Graham’s appointment, Haskell administrator and instructor Jim Rains had been serving as acting president of the university while former interim president Daniel Wildcat recovered from a medical emergency. Wildcat had been acting as interim president of the university since November of 2018, replacing Venida Chenault, who left to work on special assignment for the Bureau of Indian Education just days after a federal report detailed allegations of misconduct at the university. On March 5, it was officially announced that Chenault had accepted an upper-level management position within the BIE and would not return as president.


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