Three Presidents Honored For Over 30 Years’ Work

Feb 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 19-3: Beyond Our Names: Uncovering Identity, Tribal College News

LIONEL BORDEAUX. President of Sinte Gleska University. Photo by Mary Annette Pember.

Three well-known presidents of tribal colleges who have served for at least 30 years were honored at last fall’s United Tribes Intertribal Summit: Lionel Bordeaux, president of Sinte Gleska University (SGU, Mission, SD); David Gipp, president of United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck. ND); and Joe McDonald, president of Salish Kootenai College (SKC, Pablo, MT). Over the past years, each of these Indian leaders has received numerous other awards. Each has also served in many other capacities besides being tribal college presidents.

Lionel R. Bordeaux, 67, (also known as Wakeah Wamblee, Eagle Thunder) was working on his doctoral dissertation in educational administration at the University of Minnesota in 1973 when he was named the first president of what was then known as Sinte Gleska College. SGU was awarded accreditation in 1977.

Bordeaux, a member of the South Dakota Hall of Fame, was also the first recipient of the “Living Legend Award” bestowed by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development last year.

He and his wife Barbara have four adult children.

David M. Gipp (also known by his Hunkpapa Lakota name, Wicahpi Isnala, which translates as Lone Star) has been president at UTTC since 1977. (See the Voices Department in this issue.)


JOE MCDONALD. President of Salish Kootenai College. TCI file photo.

Joe McDonald, 74, was appointed president at Salish Kootenai College in 1978, and he’s been president ever since. The college started with 50 students meeting in a single building over 30 years ago; it now occupies a 140-acre campus with over 1,100 students.

He and his wife, Sherri, have been married for over 55 years. They have four grown children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. The McDonald children all received some of their education at SKC, including one granddaughter who received her associate’s degree from the college. McDonald completed his doctorate in education in 1981 at the University of Montana.

According to one interview last year, McDonald considered retiring this year when he turns 75, but the college board agreed to let him stay on as president beyond that, to June 2009. A new $5.5 million special events center, which includes a 2,700-seat gymnasium, was opened in December 2007 on the SKC campus; it is named the Joe McDonald Health and Athletic Center.

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