Ullman (left) and Alex Jimerson (right) graduated with the
Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship in 2011. Both are from the
Seneca Nation. Regina Jones, (center) assistant director of
the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Syracuse University,
is the leader of the Native Student Program at the university.
Powless, of the Onondaga Nation, graduated from Syracuse University
ONONDAGA NATION -- The Onondaga Nation will honor former Syracuse
University Chancellor Nancy Cantor this evening for her role in
creating the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship.
The promise scholarship was announced in 2006 by Cantor as a
way to strengthen the relationship between the Haudenosaunee, which
includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora
nations, and the university.
The scholarship provides certified current citizens of any of
the six Haudenosaunee nations financial assistance equal to the
cost of tuition, on-campus room and board and mandatory SU fees
in each year of study toward their first bachelor's degree.
"It's been 10 years and we never properly thanked Nancy Cantor
for her work," said Onondaga Nation Clan Mother Wendy Gonyea.
Gonyea, the treasurer of the Onondaga Nation Education organization,
said the group invited Cantor to the second annual Graduation Dinner,
which will be held tonight at the community center on the Onondaga
Nation. The graduation dinner honors all graduates of the Onondaga
Nation School and all Onondaga Nation students who graduated from
high school and college.
Gonyea said the promise scholarship has given Onondaga Nation
community members a goal to work towards and it makes a college
Since the start of the scholarship, 88 Haudenosaunee students
have graduated from SU, according to Regina Jones, assistant director
of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Jones, who coordinates the
Native Student Program, said nine new promise scholarship recipients
will enter the university in the fall and will join 49 current promise
Jones said the scholarship has not only increased the number
of Haudenosaunee undergrad students but it has also lead to an increase
of graduate students from Native American nations.
"What this scholarship really does is give our students hope,"
Promise recipients from the Seneca Nation, Alex Jimerson and
Jennifer Ullman, said they are extremely grateful for the opportunities
the scholarship has given them. Both graduated in 2011.
Jimerson, 27, graduated with a degree in public health. He is
currently enrolled in a graduate program in food studies at New
York University. Ullman, 28, is currently employed with Seneca Gaming
"I am eternally grateful for Nancy Cantor and the Promise Scholarship,
and the opportunity to attend and graduate from such a great university,"
Elaina Powless, of the Onondaga Nation, graduated with a degree
in advertising in 2015 and currently works at an advertising agency
in New York City.
"I have a huge appreciation for Nancy Cantor and the opportunity
I was able to receive through the promise scholarship," Powless
said. "I have no idea where I would be today, but this experience
has been the greatest and I feel so fortunate to be a part of graduates
of the Haudenosaunee Promise.
Cantor left SU in 2013. She is currently chancellor of Rutgers
"The Haudenosaunee Promise was created to signal both a shared
recognition of the special relationship between the Haudenosaunee
and the university and a shared commitment to increase educational
opportunity where it has been in too short supply for too long,"
Cantor said. "In that sense, the program reflects both higher education's
responsibility to remain visibly open to all and the beautiful Haudenosaunee
principles of striving to bring minds together and to keep future
generations in mind in all things we do."
The ONE organization will present Cantor with a special gift
tonight, Gonyea said.
"We were in shock when she told us about her idea for this scholarship
so many years ago," Gonyea said. "She deserves to be recognized."