Summer University Program at Crazy Horse concludes with ceremony led by USD President James W. Abbott

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The inaugural Summer University Program at Crazy Horse Memorial that began June 7 concluded with a Friday, Aug.13, ceremony led by University of South Dakota President James Abbott. The 18 students from five states received certificates for successfully completing college preparation and freshman level studies in English, algebra and American Indian studies.

USD recruited the students, hired the faculty and crafted the curriculum for the 10-week summer session. Under an agreement, the nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has established a satellite USD campus at the new University Student Living and Learning Center.

The $2.5 million dormitory and classroom complex was a gift from Sioux Falls, S.D., businessman-philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The new educational program’s costs will be paid by investment revenue generated by the $5 million “Crazy Horse Centennial Fund” open endowment that retired Huron, SD, bankers Donna “Muffy” Christen and her husband, Paul, established with the South Dakota Community Fund.

Five boys and 13 girls from Alaska, the Dakotas, New Mexico and Oklahoma completed the USD courses and worked in paid internships at the Memorial. They earned between six and 12 college credits that can be transferred to any accredited school, and most of the students are now headed to higher education institutions in Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The freshmen candidates who have declared their study majors will pursue a wide range of degrees, including architecture, forensic science, journalism, law enforcement, pediatrics and veterinarian studies.

USD began the classes on June 7 for the nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. Georgia Baker of McLaughlin, S.D., received the first USD certificate for completing college-level courses at the Summer University Program at Crazy Horse Memorial. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member has not declared her study major but plans to attend USD.

Others completing the program and their college plans: Jeremy Blacksmith of Oglala, S.D. (Pine Ridge Sioux Tribe), physical therapy or pediatrics at Creighton University; Charity Davila of Sisseton, S.D. (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe), criminal justice; school undecided; David Estes of Lower Brule, S.D. (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), criminal justice at USD; Lynnette Francis of Fairbanks, Alaska (Gwich'in Indian tribe), sociology, psychology and pre-law, Fort Lewis College; Santana Fuentes of Eagle Butte, S.D. (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), architecture at North Dakota State University; Quincy Greaves of Okreek, S.D. (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), accounting at Sinte Gleska University; McKenzie Jensen of Crooks, S.D., medical transcriptionist, school undecided; Jordan June of Farmington, N.M. (Navajo Tribe), creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts; Kristen Keeler from Rosebud and Marty, S.D. (Yankton Sioux Tribe), business at South Dakota State University; John Little Bald Eagle of Rosebud, S.D. (Sicangu and Cheyenne heritage), veterinary science, Colorado State University; Carly Randall of Kyle, S.D. (Oglala Sioux Tribe), forensic science at the University of North Dakota; Autumn Sanderson of Conde, S.D., psychology, Black Hills State University; Dylan Tymes of Pine Ridge, S.D. (Oglala Sioux Tribe), journalism at USD; Jasmine Wallette of Dunseith, N.D. (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), photojournalism at South Dakota State; Josalyn Wallette of Dunseith, N.D., (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), major undecided at South Dakota State; Erica Wergin, a Stillwater, Okla., native currently residing in Vermillion, graphic arts at USD; and Holly Yellow Bear of Rockyford, S.D. (Oglala Sioux Tribe member), veterinary technician, National American University.