Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO, American Indian College Fund
Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota), whose Lakota name Wacinyanpi Win means “They depend on her,” has more than 30 years of experience working in education for adults, higher education, and K-12 education with American Indian institutions. Since 2012 she has served as the President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund). She led the launch of the College Fund’s $25 million 25th anniversary campaign and founded the College Fund’s inaugural office devoted to research and capacity-building to study the successes of tribal college students and the tribal colleges.
President Crazy Bull is experienced with community and organization development; strategic planning; assessment and evaluation; public relations; and fundraising. In addition to her experience in education, she has worked extensively with tribal economic development, entrepreneurship, and development of cultural arts and outreach programming.
President Crazy Bull previously served as the President of Northwest Indian College (NWIC), a regional tribally-controlled institution located on the Lummi Nation in Washington State, from 2002 to 2012. Under her leadership, the college became a four-year degree-granting institution and completed substantial campus improvements, including seven new buildings as part of a capital campaign. Prior to joining NWIC, President Crazy Bull was the superintendent of St. Francis Indian School and held teaching and administrative positions at Sinte Gleska University, both of which are on her home reservation of Rosebud in South Dakota.
President Crazy Bull served for eight years on the executive committee of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, including four years as chair. She has also served on the boards of the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center. She was a founding member of the Northern Plains Tribal Art Show and Market in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She has also served in economic development leadership capacities through membership on the economic development committees of both the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Lummi Nation. She currently serves on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Higher Education Access & Scholarship Task Force and the Programs and Practice Committee of Independent Sector.
President Crazy Bull was honored for her leadership in Indian education and community development with an Enduring Spirit Award from Native Action Network in 2011, as one of three finalists for Whatcom County Business Person of the Year in 2012, and with honorary doctorates from Sinte Gleska University and Seattle University. In 2015 she was named by Indian Country Today magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in Indian Country. President Crazy Bull is also an established writer, particularly on issues pertinent to Indian education and research, and she frequently speaks at conferences and other public forums.
President Crazy Bull graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in business management and South Dakota State University with a master’s degree in education administration. She was a member of a cohort of Native educators who participated in a reservation-based master’s program funded in part by the Bush Foundation as a collaboration of South Dakota State University, Sinte Gleska University, and Oglala Lakota College. Crazy Bull was also an outstanding alumna of the South Dakota State University College of Education, and received a special achievement award from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe as a result of this accomplishment.