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Oklahoma State University


Created as a result of President Hargis’ vision for focused service to sovereign tribal nations in Oklahoma, the Center for Sovereign Nations was launched in August 2015. Leadership and ongoing commitment from Provost Gary Sandefur underpins center strategy and is relied upon by center director Elizabeth Mee Payne, and by the center team including coordinator and acting manager Sky Rogers, and leader James Jump.

The center’s collaborative model was made possible through the joint investment of OSU and the Chickasaw Nation, with the ongoing invitation to other tribal nations to join as financial partners.  

In August 2016, we celebrated the addition of the Choctaw Nation as a center partner.

A three-fold mission guides the center:

  • Sovereignty: Promote understanding, respect and exercise of tribal sovereignty
  • Students: Promote American Indian student success and graduation
  • Partnerships: Increase the number and quality of partnerships between OSU and the 39 federally recognized tribal nations in Oklahoma

Learn more about our strategies for achieving these missions on this site.

Center strategy is guided by partner input.  Decisions are made collaboratively which ensures that the center connects tribal nation partners to the students they send to our campus.  This collaborative approach also ensures that center activity is aligned with tribal nation partner interests.

Three types of partners collaborate to serve students and to build relationships:

  • Sovereign Tribal Nations
  • OSU Administration, Faculty, and Staff
  • OSU Alumni and Friends

Meet our student leadership team and come by to connect with us.