FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: , Public Education Director, 303-426-8900
October 19, 2010
Denver, Colo. - For 15 years, the American Indian College Fund’s Flame of Hope Gala has been vital to raising money for scholarships and tribal college support. This year the event, held at the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Center of the Performing Arts in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 14, raised $385,000.
Hattie Kauffman of The Early Show, CBS, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Tribal college student Tyler “Blue” Tarpalechee (Muscogee Creek) addressed the crowd, sharing his story of entering a mainstream university, only to fail because he was not following his dream. After an accident working for the U.S. Postal Service, Blue shared how by chance he decided to enroll as a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he found his calling. He recounted how following the path that was meant for him has made the difference in his attitude and his achievements. Blue was elected the student body president and has a perfect academic record with a 4.0 grade point average.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a long-time and significant donor to the American Indian College Fund that provides critical funding to support the development of tribal college and university faculty, was honored during the evening’s program for its establishment of two faculty development programs. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Research Program allows tribal college faculty members to conduct research and write a paper using a one-year fellowship, while The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Enhancement Program offers one-year fellowships for tribal college faculty to obtain a graduate degree. To date, 17 tribal college faculty members have successfully completed their Ph.D. or MFA degrees. Both programs add to the intellectual capital in Indian Country.
Lynette Chandler, a fellow and Ph.D. graduate from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Enhancement Program from Blackfeet Community College, spoke about how the program enabled her to take time out from her duties at a Blackfeet language immersion school she established to earn her doctorate degree. She said the program has enhanced her education and professionalism so that she can continue to give back to her community, helping to preserve her language and culture, while serving as a role model for others.
Following the evening’s program, the rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters provided the entertainment and closed the evening’s celebration.
Event sponsors include Allstate Insurance; Amergent; Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss; CADDO Solutions; CBS; The Coca-Cola Company; The CollegeBoard; ExxonMobil; Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP; Ford Motors Company; George and Susan Then; IBM; Jenzabar, Inc.; Kim Blanchard; Lannan Foundation; Lois M. and John D. Armstrong; Lumina Foundation; Mary Estill Buchanan; McDonald’s Corporation; Milberg LLC; Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC; Native American Collections, Inc.; Native American Bank, NA; Navajo Technical College; Nissan North America, Inc.; Oneida Nation Foundation; REDWLLC The Rogoff Firm ; Rick and Heather Black; Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company; Smith, Shelton & Ragona, LLC; Tierney Family Foundation; USA Funds; UMB Bank; UPS; Watershed Investment Consultants; The William and Antoinette Peskoff Charitable Foundation; Wieden+Kennedy; and the Wilke Family Foundation. Auction sponsors include: Bay Mills Community College; Blackfeet Community College; Bowlen Sports, Inc.; Catherine L. Stevens; Chief Dull Knife College; The Institute of American Indian Arts; Ilisagvik College; Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College; Little Big Horn College; Native Wisdom; Nedra Matteucci Galleries; Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute; Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation ; and West Southwest Gallery.