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Richard “Rick” B. Williams, a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Indian College Fund (The Fund) since October 1997. The Fund, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Denver, Colorado, raises private support for scholarships, endowments, programs and public awareness on behalf of more than 30 U.S. tribal colleges and universities.

Prior to joining The Fund, Mr. Williams served both as the Director of the Student Academic Service Center and the Director of Minority Student Affairs at the University of Colorado. Additionally, he also has served as the Director of American Indian Upward Bound, a program designed to provide educational opportunities to Indian youth. Dedicated to Indian education, Mr. Williams continues to make time for involvement in programs and organizations targeting Indian youth and education. During the summer of 2005, Mr. Williams was back in the classroom teaching Indian studies to Upward Bound students.

Experienced as an educator, advocate and historian, Mr. Williams is committed to increasing awareness of both contemporary and historical American Indian issues. Throughout his career, he has lectured and presented for various organizations, including the Central Intelligence Agency, National Indian Education Association, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations. In 1993-94, he served as a consulting editor for the Discovery Channel series “How the West was Lost.” From 1993-97, Mr. Williams served as an instructor for the Indian Studies graduate program at the University of Denver. In 2003, Mr. Williams served as a monthly guest columnist for the Denver Post and educated local readership with thought-provoking editorials about Indians.

Having dedicated his life to serving the American Indian community, Mr. Williams is a well-known consultant and lecturer and is actively involved with several foundations and organizations. Currently, he serves as a board member for The White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (WHITCU), Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP), and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Endowment Board. In April 2005, the Native American Resource Group and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Department of Anthropology honored Mr. Williams with the Native Educator of the Year award. In October 2005, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) honored Mr. Williams with the prestigious Educator of the Year award.

In 1975, Mr. Williams became the first American Indian student to graduate with a B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received an M.A. in Education Administration (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Wyoming in 1987. In 1999, the University of Nebraska honored him with the Alumni Achievement Award and Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2007 he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. He is an advocate for Native Language Immersion programs and is committed to becoming a fluent Lakota speaker.

The Cyrus Eaton Memorial Forums

Tickets: $18 for members, $30 for non-members
Registration: www.cityclub.org

Added by The City Club of Cleveland on April 20, 2011