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American Indian College Fund Leader Set to Retire

The Native American leader of the American Indian College Fund is planning to retire.
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Richard Williams, long-time president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund (AICF) will be retiring at an unspecified future date, sources close to the AICF confirmed January 16.

"After 15 years of service to the Fund and after careful consultation with the board of trustees we have begun to implement a succession and transition plan," Williams said in a statement released today. "The first and foremost task will be finding a successor. After a successor is named, I will finalize my plans on how to help the new CEO/president with his/her transition into the job."

Although he was unavailable for further comment, he has talked about retiring to spend more time with his family.

While no formal announcement has been made, an advertisement for the position of AICF president and CEO has been issued by the organization with an application deadline of March 1.

The advertisement notes that the primary duties of the position are to “fund raise and ensure that the organization operates and is managed in a fiscally responsible manner.”

The new president will be asked to maintain a “close working relationship with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the presidents of the tribal colleges and universities,” among other goals and objectives.

Williams, Oglala Lakota/Northern Cheyenne, recently received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Colorado Board of Regents in recognition of his service to Native American students and their communities.

Before his 15-year stint as AICF president, he worked for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado, where he continued his work as a paralegal after graduation from the University of Nebraska. In 1987, he completed a master’s in educational administration from the University of Wyoming.

In work at the University of Colorado, he directed the American Indian Upward Bound Program, Minority Affairs, the University Learning Center (now the Student Academic Service Center), and other programs.

During his time leading AICF, the organization has raised more than $50 million for scholarships, more than $45 million in private funds for the 34 tribal colleges and universities to improve campus conditions, and $17.5 million for projects to preserve Native American intellectual capital, including a program under which tribal college staff could attain graduate degrees.