May 29, 2014

CGU receives $4 million donation to expand first-of-its-kind Native American Tribal Administration program

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to present the university with the final installment of a $7.4 million contribution

As part of a $4 million donation by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Claremont Graduate University (CGU) will expand the San Manuel Tribal Administration Certificate Program adding another year of advanced courses. This latest contribution by San Manuel makes for a combined total of $7.4 million donated by the tribe to endow the Tribal Administration Certificate program, which provides training and education for tribal management and employees. This program is the only one of its kind in the country.

To commemorate the program expansion, San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena and Secretary Ken Ramirez will present to CGU President Deborah Freund a check at the San Manuel Indian Reservation on May 30 for the advancement of training, practicums and courses for the program. The new program will be available for students who have completed the first-year certificate.

“What started in 2006 as an opportunity to enhance the skill sets and leadership potential of our managers and employees, in addition to broadening their understanding of tribal sovereignty and government, has quickly grown into the premiere tribal certificate program in the country,” stated Chairwoman Valbuena. “This direct investment in education has generated proud, knowledgeable graduates who are stepping up to take leadership roles and make better decisions in the workplace.”

“Program graduates learn the meaning of tribal sovereignty and how it is the cornerstone of a robust government and economy benefiting them, their families and the broader Inland Empire economy,” Valbuena said. CGU awards graduates of the program with certificates indicating their completion of a two-semester sequence of courses.

“Having the only Certificate Program in Tribal Management in the country, Claremont Graduate University educates leaders about Tribal Governments and the distinctive issues they face to enlarge the understanding of tribal sovereignty, helping to make better decisions for future generations,” said CGU President Freund.

“We are proud of our partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the program and what we have been able to accomplish together and we look forward to the expanded courses this program will offer for tribal governments in the future.”

A nationally recognized faculty and prominent guest lecturers from throughout the country teach the Tribal Administration program at CGU.

“This exclusive program focuses on a variety of tribal topics including how to conduct business when working with a Tribal nation. It gave me hands on training that I was able to bring back to the reservation and make instant, positive changes for the Tribe,” said John Klein, Director of Public Safety for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

“The specially designed courses for our industry have allowed me to return to the reservation and share this knowledge with our team so that together we are all making better decisions in the work place,” said Marisol Inzunza, manager of Operations & Grant Administration, Community Outreach for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

About the Tribal Administration Certificate Program

Founded in 2006, The San Manuel Tribal Administration Certificate Program provides training and education for the management and employees of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians focusing on the issues related to working for a tribal government. Classes are held at Claremont Graduate University and taught by the university’s expert faculty and affiliated scholars. Objectives of the Program include:

  • Fostering a new generation of leaders within the Tribal government workforce.
  • Fostering the professional development of San Manuel’s employees.
  • Equipping students with the latest on federal, state and Indian laws, Tribal sovereignty and the tenets of managing developing economies.
  • Providing a culturally informed curriculum that focuses on Native American issues of local and national importance and issues distinctively relevant to California Tribes.
  • About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

    The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, California. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino Valley, today known as the Inland Empire, who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel Reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. As an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians stem from our relationship with the land and to all who share it. Our ancestors have handed down our tradition of expressing ourselves through a culture of giving. As one of the largest employers in the Inland Empire, today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa’ (Serrano word meaning "to act on one’s beliefs") through partnerships with charitable organizations making a difference in the lives of thousands of families across the country. We draw upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide. For more information please visit

    About Claremont Graduate University

    Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is the graduate university of the Claremont Colleges. CGU’s five academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.