Oglala Lakota College Celebrates 44th Graduation Ceremony

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Chemical engineer Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben will give the keynote address at OLC’s 44th graduation ceremony.

Oglala Lakota College (OLC) announces its 44th Annual Graduation Ceremony on June 18, 2017, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Over 140 graduates will be receiving master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degrees, as well as certificates at OLC’s administrative campus seven miles southwest of Kyle, South Dakota. 

“Let us take the time to remember our ancestors who persevered over so many attempts by the government to abolish the Lakota way of life. During the period from 1890 to 1920 many in the United States believed that the Indian was the ‘vanishing American.’ We proved them wrong then and we prove them wrong today,” says Thomas Shortbull, OLC’s president. “OLC prepares students to understand the larger society as well as the customs and beliefs of the Lakota people. It is a great honor for me to award the diplomas and certificates to the graduates who like their ancestors persevered and overcame many obstacles to reach their goal of a college degree.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben (Titakuye Ota Win), an assistant professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University. Dr. Ben is Oglala Lakota originally from Porcupine, South Dakota. Prior to receiving her B.S. she obtained some of her general education courses through OLC. She received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and went on to earn an M.A. in analytical chemistry, an M.S. in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Arizona. She then completed a post-doctoral appointment in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Arizona. She serves on numerous national organizations related to her research and outreach interests. 

Other distinguished speakers to address the graduating class are Thomas Shortbull, OLC president, Troy Scott Weston, Oglala Sioux Tribe president, and Dennis Brewer, president of OLC’s board of trustees. Also, the Graduation Powwow and Contest will run June 16-18. All activities will take place at OLC’s Piya Wiconi Powwow grounds, seven miles southwest of Kyle. OLC welcomes family, friends and guests to all activities. 

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