United Tribes Leader to Focus on New Challenges

Dr. David M. Gipp

Dr. David M. Gipp

BISMARCK – The long-time leader of United Tribes Technical College is stepping into a new role with the college to focus on the challenges of growth and development

The United Tribes of North Dakota board has tapped Dr. David M. Gipp to secure the future for one of the nation’s leading tribal colleges. The board named him United Tribes Chancellor at a meeting January 21 at the college in Bismarck.

“With upwards of 1,200 students annually and over 350 employees, this is a large and successful organization,” said Tex G. “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall, chair of the United Tribes Board. “But it’s a new day when it comes to funding because of the shortfalls and cutbacks of the federal government. And with the ever-expanding vision of what we need to accomplish through tribal higher education, it’s very important that the college continue moving forward.”

Gipp has been president and CEO of United Tribes for nearly 37 years, making him one of the longest-serving college presidents in the country. In the new role of chancellor, he will pursue resource planning and acquisition for the institutional growth and development of the college and its associated tribal programs.

Gipp has long been recognized as a national leader for helping initiate and develop the legislation and organizations that serve American Indian higher education. Under his leadership United Tribes has grown remarkably in its educational programs and campus facilities. The college now operates a distance education and site-based educational facility in Rapid City, SD known as the Black Hills Learning Center. The college’s accreditation is secure through 2021. And students are being prepped for jobs in the region’s energy industry through a series of federally-funded workforce training programs.

“I’m looking forward to this challenge,” said Gipp. “The tribes, tribal colleges and all tribal entities are in a time of declining support from federal funding sources. The second fiscal year of cuts from the sequestration compounded the difficulty. It certainly doesn’t make sense to run government that way from our point of view, let alone meeting historical commitments made in the treaties. But it leaves us with the challenge of cultivating stable and reliable alternatives, so we can not only maintain but expand services. And that’s what this is about.”

The United Tribes board selected Dr. Phil Baird to succeed Gipp as interim United Tribes President. Baird was the college’s Vice President of Academic, Career and Technical Education. He has served United Tribes for over 22 years and will be tasked with the administration of the college. He is president of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Action Steps

Addressing immediate concerns, the United Tribes board passed two resolutions urging Congressional action on funding for American Indian programs. The board called for the restoration of cuts made through sequestration to all Indian programs for the years FY 2013 and 2014 and including the upcoming FY 2015 budget. The group also called for action to prevent excessive cuts to United Tribes in the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

In passing the resolutions, the board emphasized that sequestration has had serious consequences. To address the challenge, tribal leaders pledge to work with the new chancellor, who has significant experience and background in advocating for tribes and tribal colleges.

“We need to bring focus to this and the college’s endowment fund,” said Hall. “We wanted to take steps that would help us meet the challenge of what’s coming. We feel it’s a good beginning to allow Dr. Gipp to focus just on that, to make that happen

United Tribes is governed by the five tribes located in North Dakota: Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

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