Antioch Seattle President Inaugurated Oct. 25

Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, the first Native American woman to ascend to the presidency of an accredited university outside the tribal college system, was inaugurated as president of Antioch University Seattle Oct. 25 in front of 200 invited attendees.

Appointed president of Antioch Seattle in 2007, Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet’s previous accomplishments include serving as first woman president of Diné College, the first tribally controlled college in the U.S., and as founding director of the Indian Education Office at Oregon State University.

In the three decades she has worked in higher education administration, student services and counseling, Dr. Manuelito-Kerkvliet has held positions at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of New Mexico and University of Wyoming. She serves on several advisory boards, including the Washington Internships for Native Students at American University, William D. Ruckleshaus Institute of Environmental and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, Institute of Translational Health Sciences at the University of Washington and Woksape Oyate: Wisdom of the People at the American Indian College Fund.

The great, great granddaughter of Navajo Chief Manuelito, she received her B.A. in Social Work and her M.S. in Counselor Education from the University of Wyoming and her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Management with a specialization in higher education administration from the University of Oregon.

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When MaiLinh Hartz, a master’s student in the Couple and Family Therapy program, was younger, people often said she had an old soul. “I was very introspective and had time to listen and absorb people’s stories and emotions,” she explains. It’s a common narrative heard among people who work in the mental health field that they were always, in some way, drawn to care. As a student, she is expanding what it means to take care of others—not just as a therapist, but as a peer. 

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