President Hensrud’s Speech at Dual-Admissions Agreement Signing With 4 Tribal Colleges

“Thank you, Bill, and thank you all for being with us for this truly historic occasion. And I want to add my thanks to Vince for sharing your words with us today. Thank-you very much. I also want to thank my fellow presidents who are here with us today.

  • Dr. Patricia Broker, of Leech Lake Tribal College — thank-you very much.
  • Tracy Clark, of White Earth Tribal and Community College.
  • Dan King, of Red Lake Nation College.
  • and Larry Anderson, of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

I sincerely appreciate the way you have all welcomed me and others from the BSU community to your campuses. It really was truly a wonderful experience to visit this past fall. I’m really looking forward to what we can do to even have more rewarding collaboration with you all in the future.

I also want to express my appreciation for your colleagues who have joined us today. And I also want to introduce a couple members of my staff.

In addition to Bill Blackwell, who has been so instrumental with strengthening our university’s relationships with your nations and your colleges, we are joined by several BSU administrators.

Michelle Frenzel is here and she’ll be speaking in a little while. She’s our executive director of enrollment management. And Dr. Jesse Grant, our dean of students, is also with us today.

As Bill said, Bemidji State’s commitment to serving native students and tribal communities and honoring your traditions is unwavering.

We hold up the proud history of indigenous peoples in Minnesota and beyond, and we acknowledge past wrongs while seeking to overcome them together.

We also recognize the vital contributions of native students to the well-being of their own nations and the economy of our region and state – and also the crucial role of education has in continuing to strengthen those contributions.

I want to thank you all for joining with us to complete the four Dual-Admission Agreements we are about to sign and celebrate.

We believe our shared achievement is unprecedented.

To our knowledge, no other university in the United States has simultaneously established dual-admission pathways with four tribal colleges.

These agreements are the work of many people who came together in a very short period of time to open up life-changing opportunities for students.

And we believe our partnership holds great promise for furthering economic development in our communities and throughout the state by developing the talent that employers need and keeping our best and brightest students here to live and work in Minnesota.

The dual-admissions programs are called Azhoogan or “The Bridge.”

In fact, this initiative will build several bridges at the same time:

  • We are fortifying the bridges of collaboration between our schools and communities.
  • We are building a bridge to a four-year degree for the American Indian students.
  • And we are building a bridge to economic opportunity for our students, for our region and the state.

I really want to say thank-you for being here and thanks to everyone who worked so hard to get us to this day. Me-Guish.

I’d now like to ask Michelle Frenzel of my staff to highlight key aspects of these agreements and really explain what they mean for students.”