Published May 13, 2017
BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA – Over 350 family members, friends and well-wishers packed the college gymnasium May 12 to congratulate the new graduates of United Tribes Technical College (UTTC).
Sixty-nine students, many with beads and feathers on their mortar-board hats, were honored during the college’s Spring Commencement Ceremony.
“I want you to dream, I want you to hope,” said guest speaker Dr. David E. Yarlott Jr., president of Little BigHorn College, Crow Agency, MT. “Don’t be afraid to take on challenges. If I had sat back, I wouldn’t be a college president today.”
Yarlott has been president of Little Big Horn since 2002. He is currently chair of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), an association of the nation’s 37 member tribal colleges. He used his own path in higher education as an example for how tribal college graduates can succeed.
“I grew up on the Crow reservation, went to the local public schools, and off the reservation to a university; experienced culture shock, quit and came back home,” he said.
Then he heard about Little Big Horn College starting up and out of curiosity he enrolled. “From there on it just seemed to roll,” he said, taking him forward in education to and through earning a doctorate at Montana State University.
“Even if things seem a little scary, challenge yourself,” he told the graduates. “You have more in your heart than you know. If nobody else believes in you, believe in yourself. It can get lonely, but persevere. There’s always going to be challenges; there’s always going to be failure. But don’t let failure stop you. Use that as a learning tool, a stepping stone, to get to where you want to be.”
Yarlott commended and congratulated the students for putting-in the long hours and hard work to graduate. UTTC grads came from 18 different tribal nations. He urged them to push-on and don’t stop now.
“Whether it’s in a career or continuing with education, you have to sacrifice,” he said, “and often be away from family, in order to gain.”
The graduates selected as their class motto a quote from former First Lady Michelle Obama: “We’ve got a responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us by doing all that we can to help those who come after us.”
UTTC commencement featured the presentation of diplomas for Bachelors of Science (BS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees, and certificates of completions. Ten graduates earned the four-year BS degree in Business Administration and nine in Criminal Justice.
The ceremony concluded the 2016-17 academic year and was followed by a traditional meal for all who attended. Honor songs were rendered by the Wise Spirit Singers.
UTTC is governed by the tribes of North Dakota: Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.
Student and athletic awards were presented during an earlier event, along with the announcement of scholarship awards.
United Tribes Technical College
Commencement Ceremony May 12, 2017
* December 2016 graduates
** Double Majors
† Honor List
ART/ART MARKETING-GRAPHIC DESIGN-AAS
†Kyle K. DeCouteau (Standing Rock), Bismarck; *Amira Gunn (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND
*Mason R. Champagne (Turtle Mountain) Belcourt, ND; Valdin V. Kills Small (Standing Rock), Wakpala, SD
BUSINESS OFFICE TECHNOLOGY-ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT-AAS
†*Alyssa Sharee Howling Wolf (Three Affiliated) Mandan, ND; Kerry G. Scott (Northern Arapaho) Duluth, MN
Myrriah Helen Gray-Eagle (Sisseton Wahpeton) Mandan, ND; †Dayle N. Horton (Standing Rock) Rapid City, SD; Tristan U. Ortiz (Northern Arapaho) Bismarck
Jonathan J. Berryhill (Three Affiliated) Bismarck; †Ashley C. Clements (Oglala) Mandan, ND; Toni M. Lohnes (Spirit Lake) Fort Totten, ND; Meldina Iron Cloud (Rosebud) Rapid City, SD; ***Jimi Mae Jackson, (Colorado River Indian Tribes) Parker, AZ; Dustin T. Milk (Rosebud) Mobridge, SD; Melvin V. Miner III (Cheyenne River) Bismarck; Tova Montclair (Standing Rock) Fort Yates, ND; †*Doreen Welsh-Pretends Eagle (Colorado River) Mandan, ND; Erica J. Weston (Oglala) Oglala, SD
Paulita A. Day (Eastern Shoshone) Fort Washakie; *Meldina Iron Cloud (Rosebud) Bismarck; Michael C. Young (Three Affiliated) Rapid City, SD;
†*Maria Carol Bernecker, Duluth, MN; †Jayde J.E. Bettelyoun (Oglala) Pine Ridge, SD; Kristi Leigh Schumacher (Cheyenne River) Bismarck; †*Brittany Mae Iceman (Spirit Lake) Fort Totten, ND; *Andrea Johnson (Crow Creek) Bismarck; †*Brenda J. Kills Small (Standing Rock) Wakpala, SD; Shanice Tia Lambert (Three Affiliated) Bismarck; *Brittne A. Martinez, Box Elder, SD; †*McKayla Ann Peltier (Turtle Mountain) Belcourt, ND; †Wanda Jo Sims (Turtle Mountain) Belcourt, ND; Gilberta H. Willow (Arapaho) Fort Washakie, WY
Emily F. Connor (Three Affiliated) Bismarck; Dalta S. Green (Spirit Lake) Cannonball, ND; †Kalie Jade Hale (Cheyenne River) Bismarck; †Brittany M. Iceman (Spirit Lake) Fort Totten, ND; †Alvin C. Iron Cloud (Three Affiliated) Rapid City, SD; †Brenda LaFromboise (Cheyenne River) Mandan, ND; *Grace Martina Lambert (Spirit Lake) Fort Totten, ND; †Anthony J. Potter (Cheyenne River) Eagle Butte, SD, †Elizabeth Nicole White (Standing Rock) Eagle Butte, SD
*Monica Rose Lowry, Fort Collins, CO; †*Kilreen Layne Reynolds (Three Affiliated) Bismarck; *Jennifer B. Waln (Oglala), Manderson, SD
HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MEDICAL CODING-CERT
*Ramona Garreau (Three Affiliated) Rapid City, SD; †*Denise M. Nelson, Bismarck
HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATOR-CERT
Antoine S. Arpan (Cheyenne River) Ridgeview, SD; Nickolas F. Charging Cloud (Oglala) Manderson, SD; Preston K. Demaray (Three Affiliated) Mandan, ND; John A. Krueger, Wishek, ND; Desiree Lockwood (Three Affiliated) Bismarck; †Bill V. Ruiall. Mandan, ND
Faith A. Klitzke, Bismarck; Kailey M. Seedorf, Mandan, ND; Ashley Folden, Bismarck; Dolvine Jamiutai Serem, Eldorect, Kenya; Brianna Taylor Lindteigen (Turtle Mountain) Dunseith, ND; Jaime Nadell Lawrence (Crow & Nez Perce) Crow Agency, MT; Melarie J. Pretty Paint (Crow Agency) Bismarck
NUTRITION & WELLNESS/CULINARY ARTS-AAS
Myles L. Lewis (Three Affiliated) Minot, ND;
NUTRITION & WELLNESS-AAS
Khadra Osman Mohamed, Apple Valley, MN; †*Sowda Jama Mohamed, Phoenix, AZ
TRIBAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE-AAS
*Amy Kristen Jackson (Navajo Nation) Fort Yates, ND
ENVIRONMENTAL PRET-ENGINEERING- AAS
*Kimberlee Dawn Blevins (Three Affiliated) New Town, ND
Walker Y. Hensley (Shoshone-Bannock) Bismarck; Cody A. Shortman (Gros Ventre) Harlem, MT; Dylon L. Malnourie (Three Affiliated) Bismarck; * Ian T. Moran (Cheyenne River) Eagle Butte, SD; Trace J. Moravec, Bismarck; Justin F. Heart (Three Affiliated) Mandan, ND