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S. Verna Fowler Returns to CMN as May 27 Commencement Speaker

 

S. Verna Fowler, Ph.D.
S. Verna Fowler, Ph.D.

The respected educator who presided over all previous commencement ceremonies at the College of Menominee Nation returns on Saturday, May 27, in a new role. S. Verna Fowler, Ph.D., retired from the College’s presidency in June 2016, shortly after CMN’s last graduation celebration. This year, she attends as the guest speaker.

 

Dr. Fowler holds the distinction of being one of the longest-serving presidents in the history of the tribal college movement. She was hired by the Menominee Tribe in 1992 to establish a tribal college for the community. CMN opened in January 1993 with an original enrollment of 42 adult students taking general education courses. Today, the College is an accredited baccalaureate-level institution with nearly 1,200 graduates. It provides academic degree and technical diploma courses, non-credit personal and professional development workshops, and a variety of outreach services to hundreds of individuals from campuses in Keshena and Green Bay.

 

During her long professional life Dr. Fowler worked as an educator and administrator at every level, from elementary through higher education. After entering a religious order and graduating from the convent college that is now Silver Lake College, she continued studies at the Catholic University of America, University of San Francisco, and University of North Dakota (UND), where she earned her doctorate. Among many awards, she has been chosen for honorary doctorates by two Wisconsin universities, and received the 2010 Alumni Achievement Award from UND and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s George Washington Carver Award for work in the field of agricultural development in Third World countries.

 

Her service in education included work on the boards of the American Indian College Fund, American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), and Higher Learning Commission. The winter 2016 issue of the AIHEC’S publication, “Tribal College Journal,” called Dr. Fowler “a giant in the tribal college movement.” The article cited her work building an enterprise that today employs some 130 faculty and staff, has more than a thousand alumni, provides an estimated annual economic impact of $37 million in its service region, and is “dedicated to the goal of nation building – one student at a time.”

 

Lloyd Frieson
Lloyd Freison

Joining Dr. Fowler on the stage as the 2017 Student Speaker is Lloyd Frieson, Jr. Mr. Frieson is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration. His selection recognizes his academic achievements and extensive service to the College, various student organizations, and the Menominee community. He is an enrolled member of the Menominee tribe and during the 2016-2017 academic year served as President of CMN’s Student Government.

 

Graduation participants include students who completed studies during summer session 2016 and in fall and spring semesters of the 2016-2017 academic year. The current class includes approximately 80 Bachelor’s and Associate degree majors and students who completed their technical diploma programs at either the Keshena campus or Green Bay/Oneida campus.

 

Ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. in the Five Clans Ballroom of the Menominee Casino Resort Conference Center, Keshena. Audience members are encouraged to arrive no later than 9:30 a.m.