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BSU Graduating A Record Number of American Indian Students This Spring

More than 50 Native American students will receive degrees from Bemidji State University at its 99th Commencement ceremony on May 4, the most in a single year in the school’s nearly 100-year history.

As of April 20, 2018, the university’s American Indian Resource Center has confirmed 51 American Indian students have qualified to receive their degrees, and are awaiting completion of paperwork that could eventually drive that number as high as 53. BSU’s previous record for the number of American Indian undergraduate degree recipients in a single year was 43, set in 2016.

In addition, three native students will be receiving master’s degrees from BSU on May 4.

The record number of American Indian graduates comes as Bemidji State is placing renewed emphasis on its relationship with northern Minnesota’s native communities. Priority 2 of a five-year strategic plan unveiled in December by President Faith C. Hensrud calls on BSU to increase engagement with the region’s native nations and become a destination university for American Indian students. Under Hensrud’s plan, the university intends to double experiential learning opportunities in tribal communities for BSU students and increase its number of American Indian undergraduate students by more than 35 percent by 2022. BSU also has hired a full-time staffer in its Office of Admissions who focuses on tribal college transfer students.

 

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