LLTC Scholarships

LeRoy Staples Sr. and LeRoy B. Fairbanks Scholarship

LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks III has pledged $50,000 to endow a new scholarship fund to support students at Leech Lake Tribal College.

When LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks III was running for election to the tribal council of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, he began to think of ways he could give back to his community.

Following his successful election in July, LeRoy pledged to give $50,000 over four years to endow a new scholarship fund at Leech Lake Tribal College – a gift of stunning generosity for someone so young.

Once it is fully endowed, earnings on this fund will go to support selected second-year students at Leech Lake Tribal College, and will continue to support them if they decide to pursue a four-year degree after graduating from LLTC. LeRoy says that one of his primary goals in making this gift is to challenge others to step up and make a personal investment in education as well. He hopes that others will be inspired by his gift and will also contribute to the fund, multiplying its ability to reach more students.

“Education is the single biggest thing anyone can do to make themselves less dependent,” LeRoy says. “It’s important for our young people to know that there are people who believe in them, and who will invest in their future.”

The fund is named after LeRoy’s uncle and after his late grandfather, whom he cites as key influences on his life.

Click here for the LeRoy Staples Sr. and LeRoy B. Fairbanks Scholarship Application.

LeRoy with family
Susan Sjolund

Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund Scholarship

This Scholarship supports a second-year Leech Lake Tribal College student destined for a career in organizational or operational leadership.

In the Ojibwe language (Ojibwemowin), the word for an older woman is mindimooyenh. Used as a term of respect, it is literally translated as one who holds us together. This translation speaks to the traditional role our grandmothers sometimes played in being the ones who held us together as families.

When Cliff Sjolund Jr was growing up, this traditional translation fit his paternal grandmother, Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund, perfectly. Cliff traces his success in both life and career to the year he lived with his grandmother in her lifelong home of Ball Club, Minnesota. “My grandmother’s conscientious mentoring, selfless nurturing and steadfast belief in my potential at a decisive time during my adolescence was an absolute life changer for me,” stated Sjolund. “Not only did my grandmother equip me with the confidence for making decisions on who I would eventually become and how I would react to life’s many challenges, she also endowed me with the main character traits that so clearly defined her as an individual… her integrity, humility and charity.”

To honor the memory of his grandmother, and on behalf of her three children, Clifford, Peggy and Barbara, Cliff Sjolund Jr, Colonel, USAF (Retired), has fully endowed a scholarship that now bears her name. “It says a lot about the confidence Cliff has in our college” said LLTC President Dr. Donald Day. “Cliff and his family really understand the need that exists for scholarships for Native American students.” The Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund scholarship will support a second-year Leech Lake Tribal College student destined for a career in organizational or operational leadership. The scholarship will reward its first student Fall Semester of 2015.

“This is the first scholarship in the history of Leech Lake Tribal College that is endowed in one single contribution.” said LLTC Director of Institutional Advancement Bill Blackwell Jr. “Cliff and his family want to honor the memory of his grandmother through empowering Leech Lake Band Members to go on to do great things. It has been an honor to get to know Cliff and to see how much his grandmother meant to him. Leech Lake Tribal College is so thankful to the Sjolund Family for their confidence in Leech Lake Tribal College and entrusting us to honor Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund year after year.”

This scholarship supports a second-year Leech Lake Tribal College student destined for a career in organizational or operational leadership. It is expected recipients will pay this gift forward many times over by inspiring others to build a better tomorrow for those who share, respect, protect and advance their proud and honored cultural heritage.

Click here for the Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund Scholarship Application.

Clem Nason Memorial Scholarship

The Carpentry Program was started some years ago as a two year diploma program, the college found that year after year many students could not afford to finish their second year due to time constraints, cost to attend, child care, and transportation. In those days classes took place in the old Teals grocery store, with a leaking roof and sparse tools. The program was guided by the wisdom of Clem Nason and his breadth of knowledge as a seasoned local Ojibwe contractor, gradually the variety of carpentry opportunities grew, the tool arsenal expanded when the college made the move to the newly built LLTC Campus. As we fast forward to today, the program is hosted in a bulding that bears Nason’s name and speaks to the legacy he left behind at LLTC. The Clem Nason Building boasts two staging areas with piers and beams to serve as platforms to construct fully finished custom homes, which has served as curriculum over the years. Students and instructors have gained access to technology via smart classrooms, a woodworking studio, and demonstration areas for solar and electrical. When a student enrolls in the newly created Integrated Residential Builder (IRB) program at Leech Lake Tribal College, they can expect to receive both. Starting Fall Semester of 2015, Leech Lake Tribal College will offer an Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S) degree in Integrated Residential Building (IRB). The IRB Program integrates building science applications for energy performance (Passivhaus, zero energy ready home-DOE, Energy Star Rated) and multidisciplinary approaches from ecology, agriculture, architecture and construction in to a two year program. The carpentry program will offer a one year diploma in residential construction and a two year, Integrated Builder AAS degree track.

As the program has grown so to have the needs of the students. As LLTC embarks on this new degree program, it was natural to name the scholarship in honor of the leadership and work that Clem Nason provided to the college for many years.

Click here for the Clem Nason Memorial Scholarship Application.

Clem Nason Memorial Scholarship
Leann Dick

Leann Dick Memorial Scholarship Fund

On December 2nd, the Leech Lake Tribal College family lost one of its brightest stars when Leann Dick, Valedictorian of the 2009 class, passed away after a tragic accident. After graduating from LLTC at the top of her class, Leann had transferred to the University of Minnesota-Morris and was pursuing two of her great passions, majoring in Biology and American Indian Studies. While off-campus, Leann fell on a flight of stairs and suffered a traumatic injury that claimed her life the next day. In her time here at Leech Lake Tribal College, we were fortunate to watch Leann blossom from a shy girl, unsure of her abilities or what direction to take, into a vibrant, confident leader. She was loved and admired by her fellow students as well as by the faculty and administration here at LLTC, and she loved the college deeply. At the request of Leann’s family and friends, we are establishing a memorial scholarship fund in her name. This fund will provide scholarship support to LLTC students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. Please support this fund, and help us pass on Leann’s legacy of passion for both science and for Ojibwe culture.

Click here for the Leann Dick Memorial Scholarship Application.

Steve Hagenah Law Enforcement Scholarship

Steve Hagenah was a long time instructor and coordinator at the Leech Lake Tribal College. As a member of the Law Enforcement community, he has worked in many levels of agencies, including many years in MN State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Homicide Division. He has taught many students and formed them to become peace officers and work in the public sector.

Steve’s family, Becky Hagenah and Rochelle, has kick-started the law enforcement scholarship fund by donating $10,000. The fund will help subsidize MN POST training required to become a police officer in Minnesota. The goal is to reach $50,000 in 18 months to award the first scholarship.

Thanks to efforts by Steve, the Law Enforcement Program is one of the most successful programs at the College; producing graduates to employment in the field. Many alumni of the College continued on to become Chief of Police, Lawyers, Administrators, Sheriff Deputy, Dispatchers, and Police Officers.

Help us teach and train the future generation of Police Officers. Donate to the Steve Hagenah Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund.

Click here for the Steve Hagenah Scholarship Application.

Steve_Hagenah - Law Enforcement
Benny Tonce

Benny Tonce Memorial Scholarship

Benny was a huge asset to the college, not only for his knowledge of the language and culture, but for the way he carried himself and spoke of others in such a manner where he did so with all seven values in mind. Benny was with the College since its humble beginnings in 1990 and was a dedicated mentor and teacher until the day he left us in physical form. He was the drum keeper for the college and wanted to make sure we continued to provide Monday Drum feasts and kept our powwow going every spring. He loved our powwows so much he named it the, Anwebiwin Powwow; because he was able to rest and visit and enjoy the company of community. In his 20-year tenure here at the college, he touched many by sharing so much of all he knew about being Anishinaabe, language, the drum, and life. His picture is hanging up in the Drum Room as a reminder of the good-hearted person he was. Naming the drum room after Benny is only a small way of honoring him and remembering all that he did for us here and his help and dedication in carrying on our traditions of the Monday Drum Feasts and our Spring Anwebiwin Powwow.

Click here for the Benny Tonce Memorial Scholarship application.

Hansen’s Forest Ecology Scholarship

Hansen’s Forest Ecology Scholarship is a new scholarship that was established in 2021, by a gracious donation from the David Hansen Family.

Click here for the Hansens Forest Ecology Scholarship application.

Sandstrom’s Forest Ecology Scholarship

Sandstrom’s Forest Ecology Scholarship is a new scholarship that was established in 2020s, by a gracious donation from the Sandstrom Family.

The Sandstrom’s Forest Ecology scholarship is for a deserving Leech Lake Tribal College student(s) enrolled in the Indigenous Science emphasis in Forest Ecology Program. The Sandstrom Family and Sandstrom’s has had a long and wonderful relationship with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, not only through our distributing company but personal relationships as well. We also have a common interest and that is to keep Northern Minnesota lands, forests and waters as natural and pristine as possible with proper management. The Sandstrom Family has long supported and been involved in many conservation and wildlife organizations. With these common goals, we are proud to offer these scholarships to the LLTC Forest-Ecology Program. We hope these scholarships will help the students that receive them go on to a science based career that will not only be rewarding to them, but rewarding to the generations to come. Congratulations to the winning students and good luck along your path.

Click here for the Sandstrom’s Forest Ecology Scholarship application.

DEET Scholarship

This Scholarship is available to LLTC students that are interested in Food Sovereignty, Land and Water Conservation, or Community Health while pursuing a degree at LLTC.

The DEET Scholarship is to support LLTC students with academic and financial assistance with access to: mentoring, peer-to-peer learning. Through the DEET Scholarship you’ll also be provided experiential learning opportunities for youth, college students, and community to explore Indigenous Science and related disciplines through field trips, research projects, internships, and camps.

To be Eligible for the DEET Scholarship you must be enrolled in at least six credits and demonstrate a capacity to represent LLTC. You also need to be in good academic standing with at least a 2.0 GPA or higher, and you can’t be a full-time LLTC employee to apply for the DEET Scholarship.

Click here for the DEET Scholarship application.

DEET Tribal College Alumni Scholarship

This Scholarship is available to LLTC and Tribal College Alumni that are interested in Food Sovereignty, Land and Water Conservation, or Community Health in a 4-year degree manner.

This DEET Alumni Scholarship is based on competitively awarded stipends and can provide up to $500 per month. An eligible baccalaureate student can apply for up to $10,000 of support through their bachelor’s program. To apply you must be enrolled full time in a 4-year related degree program and you also must demonstrated capacity to represent LLTC.

To be Eligible for the DEET Alumni Scholarship you must be in good academic standing with your program with at least a 2.0 GPA or higher, and you can’t currently a full-time LLTC employee to be eligible for this scholarship.

Click here for the DEET Alumni Scholarship application.