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U of U Names Director for American Indian Resource Center

Dec. 14, 2007 The University of Utah announced today that Beverly Fenton has been selected as the director of the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC). Fenton becomes the first director since the center was established in January 1996 to aid in the recruitment, retention, and support of American Indian students. She begins work on January 2, 2008.

“The university is very fortunate to have Ms. Fenton as the director of the American Indian Resource Center,” says Octavio Villalpando, the university’s associate vice president for diversity.  “She has extensive experience leading successful university-level support programs for American Indian communities and brings important knowledge to help shape the future of the center.”  

In partnership with the ethnic studies program, the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, and many other student support programs in place at the university, Fenton will help the university strengthen its outreach and services to American Indian students and their communities in Utah.  “The center has been in place for approximately 12 years and is now ready to flourish under Ms. Fenton’s leadership,” adds Villalpando.

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the University of Utah as director of the American Indian Resource Center,” comments Fenton. “This position is tangible recognition of the university’s commitment to American Indian students, staff, and faculty. My immediate vision for the center is to provide support for existing programs and to develop new initiatives for recruitment, retention, outreach, and research to ensure the personal growth and academic success of American Indian/Alaska Native students.”

As director of the AIRC, Fenton will oversee recruitment of American Indian students and the development of programs for student retention in undergraduate and graduate programs. Her directorship will include the creation of mentoring programs, and campus cultural activities in addition to supervision of the AIRC. She will consult with tribal education organizations and work with school programs K-12 statewide concerning access and participation in higher education programs.  

Fenton will work closely with the university’s Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA) and its program coordinator for American Indian students: “The Center for Ethnic Student Affairs is extremely excited with the appointment of Beverly Fenton as director of the American Indian Resource Center,” notes Richard Garcia, CESA director. “She has long been an advocate for American Indian education and brings a wealth of experience to the University of Utah. We look forward to working with her to serve our American Indian students on campus.”

Fenton adds, “It is also imperative to continue the development of collaborative relationships with Utah’s tribal communities and local and statewide educational organizations and institutions. My personal commitment is to create a network, with the AIRC acting as an educational hub, for the Rocky Mountain region which would provide information sharing about best practices, referrals, resources, support, and collaboration with similar entities.” 

Fenton served as the program coordinator for American Indian students with CESA at the University of Utah, from 1991 to 1997, before leaving for work at Colorado State University. She served as the MESA/STEP program coordinator for the state of Utah, and more recently as a student academic advisor for University College at the U. Fenton is an Ojibwe (Chippewa) and is one of the original founders of the AIRC. She has a master’s degree in education from Eastern Illinois University.