First four Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law students graduate from TU College of Law

Friday, May 17, 2013

(From left: Dwaynna Lucas, Cynthia Tiger, Bennie Francisco Jr., Professor G. William Rice and Professor Tim Pleasant.  Not pictured:  Fred Edward Knowles Jr.)

The University of Tulsa College of Law partnered with Concord Law School of Kaplan University in fall of 2011 to establish an online Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law (MJIL) degree.  The only one of its kind in the nation, the program provides a broad education in Indian Law for non-lawyers working in varied aspects of tribal government and business.

On Saturday, May 11, 2013 the first four students of the program - Bennie Francisco Jr., Fred Edward Knowles Jr., Dwaynna Lucas and Cynthia Tiger - took part in a graduation ceremony.  The students will complete their degrees this August. 

“This represents a milestone for these students, for Indian Country, and for the College of Law,” said Dean Janet Levit.

Students in the MJIL program come from diverse backgrounds. Bennie Francisco Jr., a native Navajo, is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies with a concentration in Leadership and Building Native Nations.

“While most MJIL students are predominantly first generation Native Americans,” says Shonday Harmon, Director of the MJIL Program at TU, “there is a scholarly component in the curriculum that educators from across the country are seeking out.” 

Fred Edward Knowles Jr. is a member of the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe and a professor at Valdosta University in Nashville, Georgia. He enrolled in the MJIL program in order to diversify the offerings of his courses when he returns to teaching. Dwayanna Lucas is a Cherokee from Catoosa, Oklahoma, and Cynthia Tiger is a member of the Muskogee Creek tribe.
Deadlines to enroll in the MJIL program for summer and fall are: May 15 and July 15, respectively. Summer classes will begin on June 3 and fall classes on August 26.