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Blackwell receives leadership Award from Minnesota State

Bill Blackwell

BEMIDJI -- Bill Blackwell, Jr., executive director of BSU’s American Indian Resource Center, recently received the Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award from the Minnesota State colleges and university’s Academic and Student Affairs division.

Blackwell, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was named AIRC executive director in June 2015. Since then, he has helped develop a range of programming and support services which have had an impact on BSU’s retention rates for American Indian students, which has increased to nearly 84 percent, according to a press release from BSU.

With Blackwell’s leadership, BSU has developed a series of dual-enrollment agreements with Fond du Lac, Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth tribal colleges, granting students at those colleges automatic admission into BSU after meeting certain requirements.

As AIRC director, Blackwell has also implemented a parent group which provides opportunities for students to share parenting strategies and create space for study time, and he has invited numerous guest speakers and performers to campus.

He coordinates a golf tournament, which raised $22,000 in 2017, to support scholarships for American Indian students and this year alone has helped bring in more than $2 million in grant funding for two significant new initiatives on campus.