Endowed Chair appointed

Generous gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians provides support for Native American Studies at the University

Redlands, CA (August 10, 2011)—The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the University of Redlands are pleased to announce the appointment of Lawrence Gross, Ph.D., as the new San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Endowed Chair in Native American Studies. Gross, who was selected after a national search, will officially start September 1.

In this new position, which is supported by a generous $3.7 million gift to the University of Redlands from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Gross will teach and develop courses and provide leadership for curricular and co-curricular initiatives in Native American Studies.

“The People of San Manuel are pleased that we were able to create this important endowment at the University of Redlands,” said San Manuel Chairman James Ramos. “This program is an important link to the future as it will provide Natives and non-Natives alike with an even greater understanding of the history and culture of the First Americans in our region. We are grateful that Dr. Gross is coming on board with his impeccable talent and credentials to build this exciting program.”

Gross, who is of Anishinaabe heritage from the White Earth Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota, brings impressive scholarly and teaching credentials to the position, said David Fite, the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. Gross is a highly regarded teacher and scholar who has published extensively on American Indian pedagogy, American Indian veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Anishinaabe Indian culture and religion, Fite said.

Gross has previously taught at Montana State University, Iowa State University and the University of Vermont and was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Diversity Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a master’s degree in Regional Studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University.

“The partnership between the University of Redlands and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians demonstrates our shared interest in a future that embraces the rich traditions and heritage of Native Americans and creates new educational opportunities for students,” said Fite.

“This is an opportune time for this partnership and the Native American Studies program,” said Audrey Martinez, San Manuel Tribal Treasurer and member of the San Manuel Education Committee. “As the regional and national communities develop, it will be beneficial for the future to be charted with factual and accurate accounts of the history and culture of Native Americans.”

As the chair in Native American Studies, Gross will lead the development of an undergraduate curriculum that includes both national and California Native American perspectives, with a focus on local Native American history and culture. The emerging Native American Studies program at the university will include classroom, applied research and experiential learning opportunities in partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

“We are particularly excited to join with San Manuel to foster Native American regional community education, including colloquia, exchanges and other informal presentations,” said Fite.

The gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians also supports the “Creating a Passion for Learning” and “Supporting the Educational Journey” programs at the University of Redlands, which will facilitate admissions, college transition and support services for Native American students and their families.

Media contact: Contact the Office of Public Relations by calling 909-748-8070 or by emailing

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