NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

New director of NMSU's American Indian Program announced

Donald D. Pepion, dean of Vocational Education at Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Mont., will take over as director of New Mexico State University's American Indian Program on Sept. 4. Pepion will replace retiring director Harry Lujan, who has been with the program for 28 years.

Juan N. Franco, vice president for administration at NMSU, said Pepion will bring knowledge of the area and a great deal of experience to the job.

"The students who sat on the search committee saw him as the kind of person who is very student-oriented," Franco said. "He really understands the problems faced by our Native American population because he is a graduate of NMSU and has lived in the area."

Pepion began working at Blackfeet Community College in 1983. In addition to serving as president from 1983-86, he has been an instructor/counselor and dean of vocational education. He earned a doctor of education degree in 1999 and a master's of education in 1979 from Montana State University. He completed a bachelor's degree in individual studies in 1974 at NMSU.

Lujan, a native of Taos Pueblo, has been the director of NMSU's American Indian Program since August 1972. He said he hopes to maintain a working relationship with NMSU and the American Indian Program during his retirement.

"I've had quite an experience at NMSU," Lujan said. "I've seen an increase in American Indian student graduation rates and have witnessed so many success stories."

Lujan earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1970 from NMSU and a master's degree from Arizona State in 1971.

Chris J. Minnick
August 15, 2000