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Capella Advances Innovations in Higher Education—
Awards Full PhD Scholarship to
Tribal Community College President

Capella University and the League for Innovation in the Community College are pleased to announce that William Harjo LoneFight, president of Sisseton Wahpeton College, in Agency Village, SD, is the winner of the second annual Capella University--League for Innovation Scholarship. LoneFight’s application stood out in a field of more than 70 competitive applications that presented innovations in higher education ranging from technology and educational delivery to administration.

The scholarship is awarded to a faculty or staff member at a League for Innovation Alliance member institution who has demonstrated innovative accomplishments in the field of higher education.  The scholarship recipient will receive a $47,000 scholarship to cover tuition for three years and the cost of residential colloquia in one of Capella’s 26 accredited PhD programs.

Dr. LoneFight earned his first PhD in Cultural Resource Management from the Kialagee Tribal Program.  In August, he will pursue a doctorate in Leadership for Higher Education in Capella’s School of Education

Dr. LoneFight has been a successful innovator and visionary.  His creativity and commitment to bettering the educational experience of an underserved population serves him well as president of Sisseton Wahpeton College, one of the nation’s 34 tribal colleges. Raised in a Muscogee (Creek) Indian community, Dr. LoneFight understands the difficulties of integrating Western and traditional tribal learning. 

He has devoted his career to pursuing new methods to meld tribal educational practices with Western educational systems to enrich the learning experience of American Indians. Among his many innovative accomplishments, Dr. LoneFight authored a teaching tool, Achieving the Healing Community: A Guide to Traditional Knowledge of Substance Abuse Prevention (1999), to help social workers develop new, culturally empowering approaches to substance abuse prevention.  He also developed a theory of culturally effective systemic reform in the disciplines of math, science and technology to capitalize on students’ cultural backgrounds and enhance their learning process. 

"I am very pleased that Capella University and the League for Innovation recognize the value of the relatively low-profile, yet increasing number of institutions of American Indian higher education,” Dr. LoneFight expressed.  “Capella’s online program offers an attractive solution so that I can increase my capacity to serve the tribal community while continuing my leadership role at the college.” 

"Dr. LoneFight exemplifies the role of an innovative scholar-practitioner through his leadership in American Indian education and his contribution to professional practice in substance abuse, math, science and technology education,” said Mike Offerman, president of Capella University.  “A primary goal of the scholarship is to reward qualified candidates and provide an opportunity to pursue a terminal degree while continuing to serve in their community college.”

The scholarship is one of the benefits of an articulation agreement between the two institutions under which League Alliance member colleges partner with Capella University to offer a streamlined application process, seamless credit transfers and tuition discounts for students, faculty and staff.

The PhD scholarship rewards creativity in teaching at community colleges across the country and throughout the world.  “Capella is opening doors for forward-thinking teachers who might otherwise be unable to pursue a doctoral degree,” said Mark Milliron, president and CEO of the League for Innovation.  “This scholarship reflects the best of 21st century education: quality academics, innovative learning opportunities and improved access to higher education.”

Capella University is an online university accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Founded in 1993, Capella University offers degree programs and certificates in business, technology, education, human services and psychology. Capella uses the power of the Internet to remove institutional and logistical barriers for adult learners around the world and provides a rewarding and efficient path to increased professional value. Central to Capella's approach is the high degree of online interaction with expert faculty, achievement-oriented learners and a university staff who are passionate about each individual's success. Capella University is affiliated with the for-profit Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, visit Capella University at www.capella.edu or call 1-888-CAPELLA.

The League for Innovation in the Community College is the only major international organization specifically committed to improving community colleges through innovation, experimentation and institutional transformation. The League hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, and leads projects and initiatives with more than 750 member colleges, 100 corporate partners, and a host of other government and nonprofit agencies in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities. Information about the League and its activities is available at www.league.org.