College Horizons was founded in 1998 by Dr. Whitney Laughlin at the Native American Preparatory School (NAPS) located in Rowe, NM in partnership with Norbert Hill and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. In 2003, the American Indian Graduate Center became a fiscal agent and by 2005 College Horizons received 501©3 status as a national nonprofit. In 2009, our founding director retired. College Horizons is now Native-led and comprised of 6 Native staff members, a Board of Directors, and an Advisory Council consisting primarily of Native community leaders, educators, professionals, college students, and College Horizons alumni and their parents.
Today, College Horizons is based out of Pena Blanca, NM and continues to support the higher education of Native students by providing College Horizons, a college admissions workshop for high school students, and Graduate Horizons, a and graduate admissions workshop for college students and graduates. Our programs operate during the summer and are open to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian participants from across the nation. The faculty of the program consist of college admissions representatives and volunteer counselors who are high school college counselors, teachers, Tribal education/scholarship staff, and educators working on college-access/retention and student services support to Native students.
From 1998-2000 the College Horizons programs were hosted at NAPS and the inaugural program consisted of 48 students and 20 partner schools. In 2001, as the program began to expand and draw Native students from around the nation, College Horizons was held for the first time on two college campuses – St. John’s College in Santa Fe and Washington University at St. Louis. By 2003 at the request of alumni, the Graduate Horizons program was established to prepare Native college students/graduates for competitive admissions to graduate/professional school. Today, College Horizons serves 300 high school and college students each summer, partners with 45+ colleges/universities per program, and brings 60 experienced volunteer college counselors and American Indian educators to work one-on-one with students.
In 2010, College Horizons Inc. contracted Iroots Media, LLC to re-brand the organization. The process included focus groups with participants at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, an online survey with Graduate Horizons alumni, and individual interviews with College/University representatives partnered with College Horizons.
The result was the development of two brands: College Horizons & Graduate Horizons. Participants, Alumni, and College representatives stressed the need for separate identities as both service different demographics.
Indigenous peoples around the world have used the Sun and Moon as a way to prepare for seasonal change and ceremonial planning. The cycle of the day is the inspiration for the color selection of the new logos. Specifically, the colors seen on the horizon. College Horizons represents dawn, the beginning of the college experience. Graduate Horizons represents dusk, the next stage, the graduate school experience.
Many indigenous cultures have respect for both moments of the day. The Pueblo, Hopi and Navajo, for example, provide corn meal/corn pollen offerings at dawn for a new day and a good life for all. At dusk, in traditional Hawaiian culture, the people observed the end of the day to predict the next days/weeks weather. These concepts fit well with the mission of the organization. College Horizons and Graduate Horizons can be seen as tools to facilitate and guide indigenous students toward educational success.
Thank you to Whitney Laughlin (Founder) for the development of our first logo.