Tommy Arviso, Jr.’s experience on the college’s Mesa Legend student newspaper led him to a nationally acclaimed career in journalism. Tommy is of the Near the Water Clan, born for the Sage Brush Hill Clan. His maternal clan is Water’s Edge and his paternal clan is Sleep Rock People. By developing the diverse voice he brought to the MCC college paper, he set a global standard for American Indian newspapers and led the best in press practices throughout the nation. He recently retired as CEO and Publisher of the Navajo Times Publishing Company, the only Native American-owned newspaper and publishing company in the world. He worked for more than 36 years at the Navajo Times, beginning as a college intern, moving up through reporting, and then as an editor. An advocate for the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press, Tommy led the campaign for the newspaper’s independence from tribal government ownership. The Navajo Nation Council approved the for-profit incorporation of the Navajo Times in 2004.
He is the first full-blood Native American selected for a John S. Knight Fellowship in Journalism at Stanford University in California. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Associated Press Media Editors, UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, the Arizona Newspapers Association, and the Native American Journalists Association. His many honors include the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Phil Alvidrez Award for Excellence in Journalism, the John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Award for Freedom of the Press and the People’s Right to Know Award from the University of Arizona School of Journalism/Arizona Newspapers Foundation, the Arizona Newspaper Association Freedom of Information Award, the Native American Journalism Association Wassaja Award for “extraordinary service to Native journalism,” and the NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award.
For a link to the full video of the ceremony, please visit MCC Hall of Fame 2022.