Mar 7, 2012

15th annual Building Bridges Conference set for March 16 at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota will host the 15th annual Building Bridges Conference, “Stand Tall, Look Good, Be Proud: Helping Each Other Realize Our Dreams” on Friday, March 16 in the ballroom of the Muenster University Center.

Steve Saffron of Phoenix, Ariz., from Valley of the Sun and former director of American Indian Programs at Scottsdale Community College, is the keynote speaker and will lead the conference activities with a focus on “Positive Attitude, Positive Humor, Positive Friends and Positive Career.” Saffron’s career in Indian education began as a counselor and assistant principal at Alchesay High School in White River, Ariz. He continued to work in Mesa Public Schools as a counselor with students from the Salt River Indian community, and was eventually chosen by the Salt River Indian Education Department to become the director of American Indian Programs at Scottsdale Community College. Saffron was recently honored with the “Devoted and Distinguished Service Award” for more than 20 years of educational service to the Salt River Pima / Maricopa Indian Community.

The 15th Building Bridges Conference begins at 8:45 a.m. with the opening ceremony by Gene Thin Elk, director of Native American Student Services at USD. The Building Bridges Information Fair will take place concurrently with the conference in the East Lounge of the Muenster University Center where representatives from several USD academic departments and student support services will be available to share information about their programs. More information, including registration information and a conference agenda, is available by visiting

Building Bridges provides opportunities for students, counselors, and faculty to learn effective ways to make higher education a positive experience for all students, but especially for Native students. A limited number of lodging grants are available for high school groups on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, please contact the Clinical Psychology Program/BRIDGES Conference Committee at (605) 677-5353 or e-mail

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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