Bobby Wright: A remembrance

May 15th, 1991 | By | Category: 3-1: Making Connections, Tribal College News

We were very saddened to learn that Dr. Bobby Wright, a member of the Tribal College editorial advisory board, died this spring. He was a friend who strengthened both the publication and all of higher education. We asked Dr. Patrick Head of Montana State University to think back on Bobby’s life and his work:

Bobby Wright died on May 15,1991 at the Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, Montana. He was 40 years old. Bobby was diagnosed as having cancer late in 1988 and came home on April 10, 1991 to be near his family and friends. Bobby continued with his professional career activities until he moved back to Montana.

Bobby’s co-workers at Montana State University describe him as an intelligent young man who was very creative in getting people involved in Native American Studies. He was also tireless in his efforts to teach Indian culture and history, and also to dispel myths and stereotypes about American Indians.

Bobby was director/assistant professor of the Center for Native American Studies program at MSU from July 1986 to December 1989, before taking a position with the Pennsylvania State University, where he served as assistant professor and research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education until his death. Bobby also served as the coordinator/ adjunct instructor of the MSU Bilingual Vocational Instructor Training Program (1983-1985); the executive director of the Rocky Boy Tribal High School (1983-1985); assistant professor/ counselor of the College of Great Falls Native American Studies Program (1977-1980); lecturer/teaching assistant at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1975-1977); and director/instructor of the University of San Francisco Educational Center for Minority Students (1972-1975).

Bobby received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of San Francisco in 1973; his master’s degree in American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1977; and his doctorate (Ed.D) in adult and higher education from Montana State University in 1985. During his professional career Bobby received many honors and awards. Two awards of special mention are: the 1986 Distinguished Dissertation of the Year award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the Montana State University Alumni and Endowment Foundation Graduate Achievement Award for Outstanding Performance.

Bobby was born on December 28, 1950 in Tacoma, Washington. He is survived by his mother and father, Mary and Antonio Rego of Bozeman, MT, brother Daryl of Rocky Boy, Montana, and three sisters: Lorraine Pegram, Tacoma Washington; Valeria Hernandez, Denver, Colorado; and Antonette Gauna, Lafayette, Colorado. One brother, Dale, preceded Bobby in death in 1978.

Funeral services were held at the Rocky Boy Catholic Church on Friday, May 17, 1991, with burial following at the Rocky Boy Cemetery, Rocky Boy Indian reservation. A memorial service was held in the Danforth Chapel, on the Montana State University campus, Tuesday, May 28, at 4:00 p.m., followed by a reception at the MSU Indian Club Room. Friends and colleagues are encouraged to donate funds to establish a scholarship in memory of Bobby Wright. Donations should be made to the Bobby Wright Scholarship -MSU Foundation, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, 59717.

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