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Last update: 5/6/08

[University of Wisconsin-Green Bay News Release]

For Immediate Release:

May 6, 2008

Menominee educator Fowler to receive honorary doctorate
at UW-Green Bay

Photo: Verna Fowler, Ph.D.

GREEN BAY - The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will award an honorary doctoral degree to Verna Fowler, Ph.D., at the University's commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 17.

She will receive the Doctor of Laws, which recognizes professional contributions to education, government or the common good.

Fowler is founder and president of the College of Menominee Nation. The growing two-year institution is a beacon of hope for low- and moderate-income students both on and near the Menominee Reservation. She is also nationally recognized as an advocate for higher education and tribal colleges.

Fowler was born and raised on the Menominee Reservation. She has worked as a teacher or educational administrator at the elementary, secondary or collegiate level since 1964. A graduate of Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, she taught in area parochial schools before moving on to the University of North Dakota where she earned a master's in education with an emphasis in special education, and a doctorate in educational administration.

She was at North Dakota in the early 1990s when the Menominee tribal chairman persuaded her to return to found a college. The goal was to increase college participation rates, celebrate heritage and combat poverty.

Under Fowler's leadership, the College of Menominee Nation expanded rapidly from a few dozen students that first semester, in 1993. Fifteen years later, CMN has more than 500 students, more than a dozen areas of study, an annual budget of $10 million and transfer agreements with numerous four-year universities including UW-Green Bay.

At the main campus in Keshena and at the satellite location at Oneida, popular associate degree programs include business administration, pre-nursing and early childhood and elementary education. UW-Green Bay has special agreements with the College inviting students to complete bachelor's degrees in social work, business and education.

An enrolled tribal member who is of Menominee and Stockbridge-Munsee heritage, Fowler has also served the Menominee Indian Tribe as superintendent of education, director of the credit and finance department, and as executive director of the Menominee Restoration Committee. She was an assistant to leader Ada Deer in both Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. when Congress agreed to reinstate reservation status in 1973.

On a national level, Fowler was appointed to serve on the President's Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities. She is former chair of the board of trustees for the American Indian College Fund Board and has served as vice president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, which includes all tribal colleges and universities in the United States. She is author or co-author of several books on Menominee history.

Fowler is only the sixth person to be awarded an honorary doctorate by UW-Green Bay. Nominations for honorary degrees are reviewed by a faculty committee. With approval of the Faculty Senate, the Chancellor forwards the candidate's name to the UW System Board of Regents for confirmation.

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08-128 | Contact: Christopher Sampson sampsonc@uwgb.edu, (920) 465-2527



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