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Fall Graduates Honored at United Tribes
December 22, 2015

READY TO GO: UTTC graduates gather prior to their Fall Commencement ceremony December 18 at the college in Bismarck. Front row, from left: Talana Hale, Toni Slockish, Leslie Mountain, Kayla Wiest, Laura Buchmann, Alicia Cuny and Monique Gladue. Back row: Josh Standing Elk, Kelsey Hunte, Hanna Moves Camp, Shanaye Packineau, Justice Johnson, Isaac Two Lance and Wallace Dougherty. Ten different tribal affiliations were represented among the 25 mid-year grads.
United Tribes News photo DENNIS J. NEUMANN

College degree is step toward reaching full potential

BISMARCK (UTN) – Graduating from college is a “stepping-stone” for a student. But it’s not the end of what each will accomplish in a lifetime, according to one tribal leader who spoke December 18 at the United Tribes Fall Commencement Ceremony.

            “This is a stepping-stone to other things,” said Mark Fox, Chairman of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, one of the college’s governing tribes. “From this day forward until you leave this world, you should aspire to learn more. Your education doesn’t stop because they give you a piece of paper. Every day you can learn. Every day you need to learn. Education is a lifetime process.”
Fox directed his encouragement to 25 students from ten different tribal nations and more than 200 friends, relatives and faculty members assembled at the tribal college in Bismarck. He urged the grads to acquire the tools and experience to enable them to be of service to others.

“What you’ve done here by graduating you‘ve done for yourself,” he continued. “I believe you’re going to do something more for someone else. Not just your family but for people around you. You have the tools and you’re going to help the People. And that’s what this world is about – bettering yourself to help others, not just yourself.”
Deserving of Praise
UTTC’s mid-year grads earned degrees in 11 different programs of study. Four Bachelor of Science Degrees were conferred, 14 Associate of Applied Science Degrees, and four Certificates of Completion.

 “Graduating from college is a very big deal,” said keynote speaker Mike Mabin, owner of the Bismarck-based marketing and communications company MABU.

Quoting the US Census bureau, Mabin said only 40 percent of the population attains an associate or bachelor’s degree. And that’s even smaller for American Indians, around 10-to-15 percent. “This means that all of you are among a very select group of people, deserving of much praise and admiration.”
Mabin, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, told several inspiring stories of perseverance from his own life, including one about nearly drowning as a youngster and being saved by a cousin.

 “As a result, I learned very early on that every day is precious,” he explained. “Chances are good that many of you have been saved in different ways, or rescued. We need to realize we’re not alone in this world and there are others out there who are on our side. We need to surround ourselves with those people who will encourage us and support us in this journey. Because we all need love and support from others to flourish and reach our full potential.”

President’s Message
          Fall Graduation provided an opportunity for the college president to pass along welcome news about the college’s federal appropriation for FY 2016.

            “We understand we will receive a small funding increase for this fiscal year,” said UTTC President Russ McDonald in a welcome talk.
According to McDonald, the Omnibus Spending Bill in Congress contains funding for both UTTC and Navajo Technical College. A small increase will be seen in the Carl Perkins Vocational Technical funding for UTTC.

Even better news, he told the commencement audience, was the inclusion of resources to provide “forward-funding” of the college’s appropriation from the Bureau of Indian Education. UTTC and several other TCU’s have lacked the security of forward-funding, complicating each college’s finance model.

“The bill contains an additional $5.1 million to forward-fund United Tribes Technical College,” he said. “This is exceptionally good news for us. We’ve always had to cover that money in the event a budget wasn’t passed by Congress.”

This will help UTTC be a stronger institution, with the ability to move forward on infrastructure and budgeting, he said.

McDonald, who became UTTC President in October 2014, also reported on recent campus changes. Student services have been centralized on the upper level of the Jack Barden Student Life and Technology Center and the student union is undergoing a renovation. As a result he said campus social life will benefit and have a positive effect on student retention. And the college’s purchase of a new mobile application will improve communication about campus events among students, faculty and the administration.

New Term in January
          The Wise Spirit Singers provided Flag and Honor songs for the event. The UTTC Color Guard presented and retired the Staff and Flags. Dr. Brian Palecek provided the invocation and benediction. A meal was hosted for grads, family members and friends in the college’s cafeteria.


Fall Graduation completed the semester and marked the beginning of a holiday break. Spring Semester 2016 begins with student orientation January 6, followed by the start of classes on January 11.


United Tribes Technical College Fall 2015 Graduates
Friday, December 18, 2015
*Honor Student


Raine M. Betone* (Cheyenne River) Eagle Butte, SD

Alicia Cuny* (Oglala Tribe) Bismarck
Shanaye Packineau (M/H/A Nation) Parshall, ND
Joshua L. Standing Elk (M/H/A Nation) Bismarck


Fine Arts:
Karlee T. Fast Wolf (Cheyenne River) Eagle Butte, SD

Isaac A. Two Lance (Oglala Tribe) Oglala, SD

Erik K. Betone (Cheyenne River) Eagle Butte, SD

Leslie M. Mountain (Standing Rock) Bismarck

Stella M. Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyaté) Bismarck
Information Processing Specialist:
Kelsey L. Hunte* (Standing Rock) Cannonball, ND
Administrative Office
Talana Hale (M/H/A Nation) New Town, ND

Grace M. Lambert* (Spirit Lake) Bismarck
Hannah A. Moves Camp (Oglala Tribe) Oglala, SD
Jera L. Silk (Standing Rock) Fort Yates, ND
Brittany N. Whitebird* (Standing Rock) New Underwood, SD

Laura N. Buchmann* (Tsalagiyi Nvdagi/Texas Cherokee) Beulah, ND
Monique L. Gladue* (Turtle Mountain) Bismarck

Toni R. Slockish (Rosebud Tribe) Rapid City, SD



            Jerrod L. Grant (Omaha Tribe of Nebraska) Bismarck
            Tanner R. Lindell, Bismarck
            Jayce E. Thomas (Standing Rock) Grand Forks, ND

Wallace C. Daugherty (Oglala Tribe) Pine Ridge, SD
Justice E. Johnson*    (M/H/A Nation) Bismarck
Patrick T. Johnson*    Mandan, ND
Kayla L. Wiest (Standing Rock) Mobridge, SD

– Charles Gitter, UTTC Registrar


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