Longtime leader in Native higher education dies

Dr. David M. Gipp (Photo courtesy of United Tribes Technical College)

Kolby KickingWoman

David Gipp served as president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, for more than 37 years

Indian Country Today

David Gipp, Hunkpapa Lakota, a longtime advocate for Natives in higher education, has died. He was 74.

Gipp was one of the nation’s longest-serving college presidents, holding the title at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, for more than 37 years, from 1977 to 2014, according to a statement from the school’s current president, Leander McDonald.

McDonald said Gipp’s influence and the many initiatives he started will always be remembered and honored.

Gipp died Friday after an extended illness, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“David Gipp devoted his entire adult life to serve Native people, using his vision and activism to address injustice and improve the acceptance of Native people in the modern world,” McDonald said. “As the United Tribes Technical College president and as a leader for the tribal college movement, he helped thousands of students pursue education and training to uplift their lives and those of their families and communities.”

Beyond being one of the longest tenured college presidents, Gipp is credited with starting a number of programs and organizations aimed at developing tribal colleges, as well as assisting Native students.

He was founder of the American Indian College Fund, appointed permanent executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and was a past board member for the National Indian Education Association.

Beyond the educational realm, Gipp also served as a past Great Plains Vice President to the National Congress of American Indians

McDonald said in his statement that the United Tribes Technical College, along with the many lives Gipp touched through the years, were keeping his family in their thoughts.

“The prayers of many students and staff, friends and colleagues accompany him as he makes his journey to the Spirit World,” Mcdonald said.

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