Welcome Home!

Three students sitting on couch in housing

Our new student housing, Nizhóni Sunrise Suites, opened its doors before the fall semester with a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony. We were so excited to see this long-awaited dream become a reality for our students and our community.

One of the most meaningful aspects of opening the building was unveiling the meaning behind the name, Nizhóní Sunrise Suites. It’s important to acknowledge that we work, learn and live on the ancestral land of the Diné people. In reference to a home, nizhóní (Nee-ZOHN-ee) means ‘nice’ or ‘beautiful’ – but those who practice Díne traditions believe that a “beautiful” home is built from a ‘balanced’ place – meaning, the home is sitting on a solid foundation and each detail was given special attention to ensure healthy living.

Sunrise is also included in the name, symbolizing a new day and new opportunities to achieve success and new beginnings in life. The name, Nizhóní Sunrise Suites, serves as an inspiration to our students. We know this is a place where student lives will be transformed. Campus housing ensures safety and a sense of belonging that is so vital to student success. It has been proven time and again that residing in campus housing, results in higher GPAs and graduation rates. We are providing our students with more than a place to live, we are providing them with a place where they belong – a place where they can succeed and call home. We know that within these walls, they will create friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

I’m thrilled to announce the San Juan College Foundation introduced two new academic merit-based scholarship opportunities for students, the President’s Scholarship and the Trustees’ Scholarship. Thanks to the abounding and consistent support from this amazing community, San Juan College, through the San Juan College Foundation, is proud to offer these new scholarships in order to assist students living in Nizhóní Sunrise Suites. The scholarships will cover tuition, fees, campus housing and a meal plan. These new scholarships will allow our students to grow, thrive and further their educational dreams.

There have been many reasons to celebrate – San Juan College was selected as a Metallica Scholar. Yes, Metallica, the rock band. Their foundation, All Within My Hands (AWMH), has been working with the American Association of Community Colleges to provide direct support for career and technical education programs across the United States. Our students in one of our building trades programs will especially benefit from this generous grant.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded San Juan College a $300,000 grant to increase high-quality early learning access for infants and toddlers in San Juan County. San Juan College’s Child and Family Development Center (CDFC) expanded childcare services by opening a second childcare center at San Juan College’s East Campus in Aztec. This grant is an investment in the families in our community that will have a long-term impact by bringing high-quality early childhood programming from the CFDC into the Aztec community.

I am proud to announce the Board of Trustees approved the Mission, Vision and Strategic Directions for fiscal years 2022 to 2027. This included months of planning, involving hundreds of hours of employees working together to craft the revised Mission, Vision and Strategic directions of San Juan College. I would like to thank our alumni, community members, supporters, students, educational partners and workforce development leaders for their input in the process. We could not have done it without such a cooperative effort.

I hope you enjoy reading this report and the stories of how San Juan College has created a place where students can complete their educational goals in a place they can call home.

Kind regards,

Toni Hopper Pendergrass