TAHLEQUAH- Northeastern State University recently presented Cassandra Benn, of Tahlequah, with the Descendants of Cherokee Male or Female Seminaries Scholarship. Cassandra, Biology major, plans to attend the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center upon graduation from NSU.
The scholarship is awarded annually to a student of Cherokee descent with at least a 2.5 grade point average and a record of campus involvement. Recipients of the scholarship must be able to prove they are descendants of students who attended the Cherokee Male or Female Seminaries. The Descendants of Cherokee Male or Female Seminaries Scholarship was established in 2001 to provide aid to NSU students descended from the seminarians.
NSU was originally founded as the Cherokee National Female National Seminary at Park Hill in 1846. Located south of what is now Tahlequah, the Seminary burned to the ground on Easter Sunday 1887, and the Cherokee National Council rebuilt on a 40-acre site north of town. Two years later, on May 7, 1889, dedication ceremonies were held for the new Cherokee National Female Seminary, now known as the historic Seminary Hall and a symbol of the institution.
Classes were held at the Female Seminary until the Oklahoma legislature purchased the building from the Cherokee tribal government on March 6, 1909. At the start of the next school year on September 14, 1909 classes convened for the first time at the newly created Northeastern State Normal School.
The Descendants of the Cherokee National Male and Female Seminaries Student Association meets every year on May 7 to commemorate the dedication of Seminary Hall in 1889.