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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU to launch fundraising campaign to benefit American Indian students

Increasing retention and graduation rates of American Indian students at New Mexico State University is a priority. To that end, NMSU has created a Native American Scholarship Endowment, with American Indian Program Director Don Pepion and NMSU President Michael Martin among the first to contribute to the account.

the main reasons students don't complete college is lack of money," said Pepion. "We'd like to do what we can to keep the students here."

The American Indian Program has made plans to raise at least $10,000 over the next five years to help American Indian students successfully complete college. The renewable scholarship will be awarded annually to American Indian students who attend NMSU full time in pursuit of a bachelor's degree.

Pepion has also invited American Indian alumni and the Las Cruces community to contribute. Fundraising efforts will kick off with the screening of American Indian feature film "Christmas in the Clouds" at 8 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Telshor 12 Allen Theaters.

Developed with the help of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, "Christmas in the Clouds" is the first American Indian romantic comedy, telling a tale of love, bingo, tribal enterprise and mistaken identity. The film stars several known American Indian actors, including Graham Green and Wes Studi from "Dances With Wolves."

Tickets to the screening are $20 in advance and $40 at the door. Students will be able to purchase tickets for a $10 donation. All proceeds will go the scholarship endowment.

Tickets are available at the American Indian Program office, Garcia Annex Room 136 on the NMSU campus; The Bean of Mesilla, 2011 Avenida de Mesilla; Spirit Winds Gift Source, 2260 Locust St.; and Unravel Yarn Shop and Gallery, 300 N. Downtown Mall.

For more information about the film and the event, call (505) 646-4207 or (505) 522-0286.