President Cheng and tribal leaders launch Tuba City alumni chapter with day of service

Lumberjack alumni, Tuba City

Northern Arizona University marked the beginning of an alumni chapter in Tuba City with a day of service to the community and a celebration with university leaders and local NAU alumni, then finished with a big Lumberjack win against Antelope Valley.

The event on Monday included a reception with NAU President Rita Cheng and other NAU officials along with Louise Yellowman, a 1973 alumna and former Coconino County board supervisor; Crystal Littleben, a 2014 alumna and Miss Navajo Nation 2017-18; Loren Hudson, a 2014 alumnus and principal of Greyhills Academy in Tuba City; and Miss Western Navajo Rainee Style.

Cheng spoke at the gathering, highlighting the partnerships between NAU and the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

“For decades, our mission has focused on students from Native American nations, and it’s even more important today,” Cheng said. “This is an essential part of who we are, and we work hard to ensure that every Native American student is successful.”

The NAU women’s basketball team, led by coach Loree Payne, arrived in Tuba City on Sunday to hold a basketball clinic for local students. Her team also went into an elementary school on Monday to visit with students before beating the Antelope Valley

Cheng-Loree Payne-Tate Tsingine
President Rita Cheng and Tom Cheng talk with Tuba City native Tate Tsingine, a junior, and women’s basketball coach Loree Payne.

Pioneers 104-49. It was a homecoming for junior Tate Tsingine, who is from Tuba City and scored 10 points in front of a friendly crowd.

“It was great going back home and seeing my family and the community,” Tsingine said. “For the younger kids, it was a chance for them to see first-hand that it’s possible. It felt really great.”

The NAU Alumni Chapter Program empowers alumni to create personal and professional opportunities that nurture lifelong relationships with one another and the university. Alumni chapters have been established to connect with alumni where they live and work.

Since February, the Office of Alumni Engagement, has launched seven chapters throughout the United States, including Flagstaff, Phoenix, Prescott, Tuba City, Washington, D.C., Portland and Yuma. Local alumni chapters provide a variety of programs, events, and visits featuring NAU alumni, faculty and university leadership.

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NAU Communications