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Navajo Code Talker, Chester Nez, to Get College Degree After 60 Years

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In the spring of 1952, Chester Nez had to abandon his studies at the University of Kansas because his GI Bill funding ran out. Now, at 91, Nez—the last surviving original World War II Navajo Code Talker—will be honored with a diploma as part of the university’s Veterans Day activities.

“Chester Nez’s contributions as a Navajo code talker and his pursuit of a BFA [Bachelor of Fine Arts] degree after World War II are exceptional,” said Dean Danny Anderson, who will present Nez with his diploma, in a press release. “The awarding of this diploma symbolizes our aspirations for our graduates to have an impact on the world and exemplifies how the talents and knowledge embodied in diverse ethnic and cultural identities, like Mr. Nez’s fluency in Navajo, are necessary for our collective prosperity. It is an honor to recognize him.”

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 12 at the Lied Center Pavilion and is free and open to the public as part of KU’s Native American Heritage Month activities.

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