White Earth Tribal and Community College Observes College Founding Day
October 9, 2017
by Kim Anderson, Cultural Coordinator
On October 9th, 2017, the White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC) closed for the day to observe the College’s Founding Day. 2017 marks the 20th anniversary that the White Earth Tribal and Community College has been in operation. WETCC was established through Tribal Charter by Resolution #038-97-005 on September 8th of 1997 by the White Earth Tribal Council and by October 7th, 1997 opened its doors in a former grocery store on Main Street in Mahnomen with 41 students. The Tribal Charter designated WETCC as a not-for-profit tribally controlled educational institution of higher learning and had 14 founding members: Erma Vizenor, Helen Klassen (Founding President), Ann Brummel, Sandra Parsons, Kelly Bunker, Paul Schultz, Deb McArthur, Andrew Favorite, Marilyn Goodwin, Pam Snetsinger, Harriet Stech, Tom Hanks, Deb Bakken and Joe Bush.
The college eventually grew and partnered with other colleges such as Minnesota State University-Moorhead (formally Moorhead State University), and Northland College, who accepted credits from WETCC on a course-by-course basis. The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) granted membership to WETCC in October 1998 making WETCC the 32nd member. In 1999, the WETCC Board of Trustees approved the official logo and held the first graduation ceremony in May of 2000. WETCC attained federal status in 2002, when the H.R. 2646- Farm Security Act added WETCC as a 1994 Land Grant Institution.
WETCC was granted initial Candidacy for Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission(HLC) on October 14th, 2004 but work continued as the college strived to meet the criterion outlined by the HLC. Four years later, on October 8th, 2008, WETCC was granted full candidacy under the leadership of President Dr. Robert “Sonny” Peacock. Attaining accreditation granted WETCC eligible to secure Pell Grants through Federal Student Aid for the students.
Today, the college is located East of Mahnomen, on a beautiful campus bordered by the Wild Rice River. WETCC has just completed phase III of the building construction plan in 2016 and is recognized as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) with a NC2.2 certification rating in green building design by the United States Green Building Council (USBBC). WETCC currently offers a 2-year Associates of Arts degree (AA) with emphasis areas in: Native American Studies, Humanities, Human Services, Business, Education, and Environmental Science. The White Earth Tribal and Community College is an institution of higher learning dedicated to academic excellence grounded in Anishinaabe culture, values, and traditions. WETCC vision is stated as Gibimiwidoomin Gidinwewininaan Niigaanakeya – We are carrying into the future the way that we were given.
WETCC would like to thank all of the founding members, the community, staff and students who have all been a part in making the college what it is today. Please visit our website at www.wetcc.edu.
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