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Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship

There are now 150 Haudenosaunee students enrolled at Syracuse University which is on the territory of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

In the 1950s, when Chief Oren Lyons attended Syracuse University, he was the only Native American student. He received an athletic scholarship and was awarded the Orange Key for academic and athletic accomplishments. Lyons, an accomplished painter, graduated from the College of Fine Arts in 1958.

In 1989, Chief Lyons was named Man of the Year in Lacrosse by the NCAA. His legendary performance as goalkeeper for Syracuse University with Jim Brown on the undefeated 1957 national champion team led to the induction of Oren R. Lyons, Jr. into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. A lifelong lacrosse player, Lyons was an All-American at Syracuse, where the Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse went undefeated during his graduating year.

In 1993, Syracuse awarded Chief Lyons an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In 2007, Syracuse renamed the International Living Center to Oren Lyons Hall. In 2011, Syracuse presented Chief Lyons with The George Arents Award for "Excellence in Social and Environmenal Activism".

Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship Program

Syracuse University announced in 2005 that it will foot the bill for an undergraduate education to any enrolled Haudenosaunee student who qualifies for admission to the university. Students qualifying for the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship Program will receive full-time undergraduate tuition, on-campus room and board, and payment of university fees.

Based on current rates, the package is worth over $38,500 annually. The scholarships will not be limited in number. In return, students must qualify for admission to the university and must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5. Students must be enrolled members of one of the six Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) nations.

David C. Smith, the university's vice president for enrollment management and emissary to the Haudenosaunee said: "We sit here, six miles away from the center of the Haudenosaunee at Onondaga, and we might as well be on different planets. Now we're not any more."

No other university has made this kind of commitment to neighboring Aboriginal peoples. Porter said that there are several states and colleges that offer reduced tuition to American Indian students, but he knew of nothing on the scale of the Haudenosaunee Promise. Odie Brant Porter, Seneca, assistant provost said in a news release: "We have turned the corner in the education process, where education can be used to sustain our distinct culture and values, rather than being used to destroy it."

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