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(Many Paths)
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St. Gregory's University, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Strike $5 Million Agreement
by St. Gregory's University press release
Pictured is: (from left) Former Oklahoma Governor David Walters, St. Gregory's University President Greg Main, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Chairman Rocky Barrett and Rt. Rev. Lawrence Stasyszen, Chancellor of St. Gregory's University and Abbot of St. Gregory's Abbey.

St. Gregory's University announced a historic agreement, establishing a $5 million prepaid tuition program between St Gregory's Abbey, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the university. The Nation, under the leadership of Tribal Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett, will provide scholarships to Tribal members over the next six years, with 60 students receiving up to four years of full scholarships to attend St. Gregory's.

Both traditionally-aged students in an undergraduate program or adults pursuing an Associate, Bachelor's or Master's in an accelerated degree program are eligible to receive scholarships to cover their tuition and attendance costs. The scholarships are immediately available and can be used as soon as the fall 2015 semester.

"The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is proud to help more Tribal members earn degrees to ensure their own financial security while simultaneously strengthening St. Gregory's economic sustainability," Barrett said. "We're continuing the partnership formed with the monastic community 140 years ago when our ancestors helped two French monks found the school at the original site at Sacred Heart Mission."

St. Gregory's will use the $5 million scholarship prepayment to meet operational needs, refinance its assets, expand its fundraising activities and conduct a long-term strategic planning process.

"Chairman Barrett has reaffirmed the historic partnership between the Potawatomi people and the Benedictine Monks." said Greg Main, President of St. Gregory's University. "This three party agreement between St. Gregory's University, St. Gregory's Abbey and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation empowers the university to chart an exciting vibrant future."

Enrollment in the traditional program on the Shawnee campus has grown nearly 40 percent, Main said. St. Gregory's launched a new Catholic Nursing Program last year in conjunction with the state's four Catholic Healthcare Systems. Campus facilities and technology have been significantly upgraded. The first online degree programs, including the Masters of Business Administration, will be offered in 2016.

"St. Gregory's has demonstrated remarkable initiative, progress and development during the past four years, and it is well positioned for long term planning and comprehensive refinancing," said Rt. Rev. Lawrence Stasyszen, Chancellor of St. Gregory's University and Abbot of St. Gregory's Abbey. "It is gratifying and fitting that the Citizen Potawatomi, who made possible our original foundation, have ensured the future of Catholic liberal arts education in the state of Oklahoma. They have also enabled us to renew our original mission to serve the American Indian Peoples of this region."

St. Gregory's offers a residential campus experience for traditional age students in Shawnee and accelerated adult degree programs for adults in Shawnee and Tulsa. Nursing degree completion classes are also offered in Oklahoma City. The University confers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees with 37 majors, eight pre-professional programs and five graduate degree programs.

"I salute Chairman Barrett for securing the future of one of Shawnee's oldest institutions and major employers as well as Oklahoma's only Catholic University," said former Governor David Walters, who worked with Barrett to outline the financing plan. "I appreciate Rocky Barrett's thoughtful insight and admire the current and historical support provided by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to St. Gregory's University."

St. Gregory's will launch a strategic planning process in September, expected to involve more than 200 people on various committees. Co-chaired by Archbishop Paul Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and Bishop Edward Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa, the six month effort will include civic and Catholic leaders, educators, philanthropists and stakeholders from around the state.

"This prepaid tuition grant from CPN gives us the time needed to implement a bold plan to secure the university's vitality and future growth," Main said. "Many new and innovative education programs are already being considered."

Interested CPN members can contact Dr. Ron Faulk, Academic Dean, at 405-878-5407 (office) or


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