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 Native American institutions. She has been serving as the President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) since September 2012. Since then, she has led the launch of the College Fund’s $25 million 25th anniversary campaign. Crazy Bull founded the College Fund’s inaugural office devoted to research and capacity-building in early 2013 to study the successes of tribal college students and the tribal colleges.
Crazy Bull is experienced with community and organization development, with skills in strategic planning, assessment and evaluation, public relations, and fundraising. In addition to her experience with education, she has worked extensively with tribal economic development, entrepreneurship, and development of cultural arts and outreach programming.
Crazy Bull served as the President of Northwest Indian College (NWIC), a regional tribally-controlled institution located on the Lummi Nation in Washington, from 2002 to 2012. During her tenure at NWIC, 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, Crazy Bull served as the superintendent of St. Francis Indian School and in several teaching and administrative capacities at Sinte Gleska University, both on her home reservation of Rosebud in South Dakota.
Crazy Bull served eight years on the executive committee of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, including four years as chair. She has 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 held annually 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.
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. Dr. Crazy Bull is also an established writer, particularly on issues pertinent to Indian education and research, and frequently speaks at conferences and other public forums.
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.