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16th annual Building Bridges Conference is March 15 at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The 16th annual Building Bridges Conference at the University of South Dakota, “Stand Tall, Look Good, Be Proud: BE STRONG IN YOUR POWER,” will feature activities and a keynote address by Steve Saffron, former director of American Indian Programs at Scottsdale Community College, on Friday, March 15 in the ballroom of the Muenster University Center.

Saffron of Phoenix, Ariz., will lead the conference with a focus on “using positive strategies for finding support and achieving goals.” 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 to students from the Salt River Indian community, and was eventually chosen by the Salt River Indian Education Department as 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. His presentation is sponsored by the USD Clinical Psychology Program/BRIDGES Conference Committee and the Center for Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities.

The 16th Building Bridges Conference begins at 8:30 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. For more information, please contact the Clinical Psychology Program/BRIDGES Conference Committee at (605) 677-5353 or e-mail


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News