Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet will present her lecture titled “My Climb to the Highest Rung” on April 26 at 11 am as part of the newly launched Presidential Speaker Series at Clarkson University.
The series is designed to bring eminent scholars and thought leaders from across the country and around the world to help members of our community tackle perennial and emerging challenges such as racism, colonialism, sexism, poverty, climate change, and the cost of higher education, among others.
Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet’s lecture connects to the words of her Great, Great Grandfather, Navajo Chief Manuelito, who famously said, “...My grandchildren, education is a ladder. Tell our people to take it.” The event will be held in person and via Zoom from 11 am to 12:30 pm. To register for the event, click here. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Chosen as president of Antioch University Seattle, Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet became the first Native American woman to ascend to the presidency of an accredited university outside the tribal colleges. Prior to her presidency at Antioch from 2007 to 2013, Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet served as the first woman president of Diné College, a tribal college with 8 campuses located on the Navajo reservation situated in Arizona and New Mexico.
Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet is the great, great-granddaughter of Navajo Chief Manuelito. She was born into the Towering House and Salt clans. Her maternal and paternal grandfather clans are from the Mud and Weaver clans.
She earned her Bachelor’s in social work, her Master’s in counselor education both from the University of Wyoming and her Doctorate in educational policy and management with a special emphasis in higher education administration from the University of Oregon.
Prior to her leadership positions, Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet worked for over 25 years in various student support and counseling roles at Oregon State University, University of Oregon, University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and the University of Wyoming. Cassandra has served on advisory boards at the University of Wyoming, American University, University of Washington, University of Utah, University of California, Berkeley, the American Indian College Fund, and HERS (Higher Education Resource Services).
She has received several notable awards and recognitions throughout the years. She divides her time between Corvallis, OR and central MT as she remains professionally engaged in consulting work, speaking engagements, and professional coaching and mentoring. Her love of backpacking, camping, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, along with knitting, quilting, and three grandchildren keep her busy and sustains her personal wellness and a commitment to hózhó, the Navajo word for balance.
The ongoing Presidential Speaker Series continues Clarkson’s legacy of innovation, experimentation, and self-invention in order to better prepare the next generation of leaders and global citizens to address society’s vexing challenges. It is sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.
The series is designed to enrich the intellectual life of the University and its community through stimulating and sustained conversations on a wide range of topics. In addition to delivering speeches/lectures that are recorded and available to the university and its community the speakers, while on campus, will also engage in interactions with various stakeholders, including faculty, students, staff, administrators and members of the Board of Trustees.