Garrison Tahmahkera's vision and leadership has created a legacy at Mesa Community College that now serves as a foundation for success among our American Indian students. He led the founding of the American Indian Center in 1986 and served as the first director until 2003 and continued to contribute for additional years as an Elder in Residence. The American Indian Center, now the American Indian Institute, was established to minimize transition difficulties American Indian students may encounter when leaving their home areas. The center has a legacy of parents who graduated from MCC and now their children are graduating and growing into leaders in their communities. Garrison says he is still in contact with many of his former students and colleagues.
Garrison has been recognized across the nation with a multitude of honors including the MCC 1987-1989 Adviser of the Year; 1990 Chief Manuelito Appreciation Award from the Navajo Nation; 2006 Native American Recognition Days - Man of the Year; and 2006 Outstanding Haskell Alumnus Award. Currently, he works with the American Indian Alliance collecting food, furniture, and clothing to distribute to people living on reservations in remote locations.