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Area Voices: Bill Blackwell, Jr. Inspires American Indian Students at BSU

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Bill Blackwell, Jr., Maggie Montgomery & Katie Carter

Bill Blackwell, Jr.  received the State of Minnesota Martin Luther King, Jr. Commitment to Service Award this past Monday.  He's the Director of the American Indian Resource Center on the Bemidji State University campus.  Under his leadership, the American Indian retention rate at BSU has reached 84%.    Bill has created and continually cultivated  an atmosphere of support and encouragement for American Indian students while implementing programs that make significant positive impacts on the students he and his staff serve.  

Bill stopped by the KBXE studio during our morning show.  He educated us on what happens at the American Indian Resource Center, the challenges many American Indian students face when becoming college students, and he told us about some of the support programs and systems that have been put in place under his leadership.  

The State of Minnesota Martin Luther King, Jr. Commitment to Service Award is presented to Minnesotans who not only lead with integrity, but who also serve as inspirational role models who are committed to serving their communities and making Minnesota an inclusive state that works for all people.  Our congratulations and thanks go out to Bill Blackwell, Jr. for his hard work and dedication to making the university experience successful for Native students at BSU! 

Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.