News & Events

Mars Hill University Renews Agreement with Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Lunsford Hicks
MHU President Lunsford and EBCI Principal Chief Hicks at the first of two ceremonial signings of the agreement between the university and the tribe.

Representatives from Mars Hill University and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will meet on the Mars Hill campus September 9 to renew an ongoing cooperative relationship between the two organizations.

Plans call for Dr. Dan Lunsford, president of MHU, and Michell Hicks, principal chief of EBCI, to sign ceremonial versions of the agreement in both English and Cherokee. Those agreements will then be framed and displayed on the Mars Hill campus, in the first floor lobby of Blackwell Administration Building.

The agreement, which originally was signed in February of 2011, calls for EBCI to take an active role in continuing to provide advice and consultation for various historic events and presentations at the university. It also calls for a cooperative effort to provide comprehensive scholarship funds for all members of EBCI who qualify academically, and who choose to attend Mars Hill University.

Updates to the agreement this year allow for more flexibility in granting financial aid to students who are members of EBCI and attending Mars Hill than did the original document. MHU also will offer a $20,000 grant annually for any approved EBCI student(s) recruited to any of MHU's athletic teams.

According to Lunsford, the agreement honors Mars Hill’s commitment to diversity among the student body, as well as engagement in the region. That commitment has long included connections which celebrate all aspects of southern Appalachian heritage and all the people whose history coalesced to form the heritage of the region.

Lunsford said: “It is a great honor to continue our partnership with Chief Hicks and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Working together, we can ensure that students from the Eastern Band will be able to obtain a quality education from Mars Hill University.”

The September 9 event will be the second of two ceremonial signings. The first took place on August 8 in Cherokee.

(posted 20140901)