St. Michael Indian School (SMIS) and Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) announced that the two institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a partnership to explore the establishment of a Catholic university to be located on the campus of St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona. Both institutions founded by Saint Katharine Drexel will implement a four-stage process through 2020 that begins with a feasibility study conducted by both institutions for an affiliated Catholic university.

January 06, 2020

The intent of the MOU signed today by Xavier University of Louisiana and St. Michael Indian School is to explore the founding of

an affiliated university to provide Catholic higher education that builds up the faith, values, and wisdom of the students on the

Navajo Nation. It also established an ongoing relationship between the two institutions to explore the university’s feasibility and

funding possibilities along with a potential infrastructure plan.

The MOU outlined a four-phase process where each institution will take the deliberate steps necessary to ensure the appropriate

groundwork is completed that would lead to the founding of a university on St. Michael Indian School’s campus. Today, the

first phase of the MOU began with the implementation of a study that will explore the feasibility of building an affiliated Catholic

university to serve the Native American population. Conversations during this phase will center around project funding, potential

funding prospects, and the overall plausibility of the university.

“With a signed MOU in place, Xavier University of Louisiana and St. Michael Indian School join together through faith, fervent

prayer, and the providential vision of our shared Foundress to undertake this exploration with a prayerful discernment over 100

years in the making,” said Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana.


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Ghefua Yembu is an ambitious, smart and determined pharmacy student at Xavier University of Louisiana. Born in Cameroon, Africa, she is one of five children raised by her mother, a school teacher, and father, a military official, Growing up in a third world country with limited resources and opportunities, she understands the importance of education. Her vision for change and her message of peace inspires those around her. Today, she celebrates International Day of Education because everyone, no matter where they are from, should have the right to learn.