New Mexico state Sen. Benny Shendo Jr. is taking a job with Colorado University in Boulder.
According to a release from CU, Chancellor Phil DiStefano appointed Shendo Jr. as associate vice chancellor for Native American affairs, a newly created position that will liaise between the campus and tribal communities across Colorado and collaboratively address all related issues.
Shendo, who has served as senator for District 22 since 2013, is a 1987 CU Boulder graduate and a former tribal administrator and lieutenant governor for the Pueblo of Jemez. District 22 includes parts of Bernalillo, McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan and Sandoval counties. It is unclear if Shendo will relinquish his Legislature seat.
“I cannot wait to get started in this new role at CU Boulder to strengthen our relationships with the tribes of Colorado and those historically connected to Colorado and to build a strong, supportive Native American community on campus for our students, faculty and staff,” Shendo said.
Shendo has experience in regional tribal matters and previously served as the cabinet secretary for New Mexico’s Indian Affairs Department. He also worked at the University of New Mexico and in the Dean of Students Office at Stanford University on Indian affairs issues.
Shendo began his duties on a part-time basis at CU Boulder on Oct. 2 before joining the campus full time on March 1, 2024.
“I am thrilled that Benny is joining the CU Boulder community in this important role,” DiStefano said. “His deep commitment to tribal affairs and his extensive network of relationships across many tribal communities will be an immediate asset to our campus as we seek to strengthen those relationships and encourage additional Native American students to matriculate.”