Richard M. Milanovich Fellowship

Buff decorative line


The Richard M. Milanovich Fellowship began in 2015 as a partnership between The George Washington University and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians with two goals in mind: to prepare the next generation of leaders in Indian County, and to honor and preserve the legacy of service and leadership of the late Tribal Chairman Richard M. Milanovich. GW and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians invite qualified Native American applicants to apply for this prestigious opportunity.

Download Brochure (PDF)

Buff decorative line

How to Apply

Native American undergraduate or graduate students who are members of a federally recognized tribe are eligible to apply for the Milanovich Fellowship. Applicants who are members of a federally recognized California tribe will be given preference by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians review committee. 

All NAPLP applicants will be automatically considered for the Richard M. Milanovich Fellowship.

In addition to the core courses students take in the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP), Milanovich Fellowship students will attend a special week-long seminar series that consists of briefings with key policy makers, issue advocates, and community leaders in Washington. 

Applicants need to submit all required elements for the NAPLP program, including a 350-word essay answering the question: “What do you believe are the most important issues that Native communities are confronted with today, and how do you see yourself in the equation of solving these issues?”

The application packet will be considered by a committee of reviewers for the fellowship.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, seeks to guarantee both a student’s right of access to records and the confidentiality of student information. Therefore, GW may not disclose information contained in education records without the student’s written consent.  To be considered for the Milanovich Fellowship, student information must be provided to the 3rd party sponsor of the fellowship, namely the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Tribe).  This is necessary because the Tribe is an active participant in the review and selection of fellows.  By submitting this application and essay you are indicating your affirmative consent for the university to share the information provided with the Tribe.  The Tribe has agreed to treat all information submitted in accord with these confidentiality rules.

Please note that all students selected for a fellowship will be required to execute a release authorizing GW to disclose the student’s educational record to the Tribe on an ongoing basis, including information about any disciplinary issues. If you have any questions about these requirements, please contact us at [email protected]

Buff decorative line

About Richard M. Milanovich

Richard M. Milanovich, elderly distinguished looking gentleman in a suit

Richard M. Milanovich, late Tribal
Council Chairman, Agua Caliente
Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal


Richard M. Milanovich's lengthy service on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Tribal Council started as a Member in 1978. He served as Secretary from 1982 to 1984 when he was elected as Tribal Council Chairman. He served as chairman for 29 years.

Many important Tribal and community projects and lease hold interests were undertaken during Mr. Milanovich's tenure, including the purchase of the Spa Hotel in 1992, the addition of the Spa Resort Casino in 1995, the development and construction of the Agua Caliente Casino in 2001, and the opening of the new $90 million Spa Resort Casino in 2003 and the Spa Hotel's Well Spirit Center Fitness Center in 2004. These projects and enterprises brought a much-needed boost to the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley economy, but more important to the Tribe itself, the revenue generated by Tribal developments has allowed the Tribe to develop self-sufficiency through education, cultural preservation, housing, and health care programs.

Mr. Milanovich also oversaw the construction and opening of the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa's new hotel and expansion in 2008, followed by the completion of the Tribe's entertainment venue, The Show, in February of 2009.

In addition to his duties as Tribal Chairman, Mr. Milanovich dedicated his time and energy to other worthy causes. He served as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Office of the Special Trustee for the U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees the federal government's fiduciary responsibilities to manage Tribal trust funds. In 2004, he was appointed to the Native American Stewardship Committee for the prestigious Autry National Center. In addition, Mr. Milanovich served as a member of the Bureau of Land Managements' California Desert Advisory Council, and the Native American Heritage Commission.

Mr. Milanovich served in the United States Army from 1960 to 1963. In 1994, Mr. Milanovich returned to school to fulfill a life-long ambition to secure his college degree and received a Bachelor of Science in Business and Management from the University of Redlands in 1996. His son Reid D. Milanovich serves on the Agua Caliente Tribal Council.

About the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in Palm Springs, California, with 31,500 acres of reservation lands that spread across Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage and into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. For more information about the Tribe, visit their website.