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President Thomas Road Trip a Success;
Highlights Connection to Communities
Dr. Dene Thomas, LCSCs new President, completed the final chapter in her three-day
tour of regional communities, with stops in Desmet and Coeur dAlene, Idaho. The
three-day tour personally introduced her to local communities and outreach centers.
Community, tribal and state government representatives, local public school personnel,
LCSC alumni, new and prospective students attended the events.
Dr. Thomas tour began on Tuesday, July 17, with stops in Orofino, Kamiah, and
Kooskia. Wednesday took her to Lapwai, where children at the Nez Perce Tribal Head Start
School serenaded the new president before sending her off to the Pi-Nee-Waus Community
center for a session with tribal employees, community members and other young people. In
the Nez Perce tradition, gifts reflecting the Nez Perce Tribes connection to
Lewis-Clark State College were offered, along with refreshments that included fresh
fry-bread and home-made huckleberry jam.
The Lapwai stop was followed by another in Grangeville. There, Thomas was greeted by over
seventy people, who filled the room to overflowing. One attendee, who knew of Thomas
commitment to teaching, asked the new president why shed given up a teaching
position for an administrative role: her answerfollowing an immediate re-affirmation
of her love for teachingwas that the new position still allowed her to engage that
love while helping students on a larger scale.
Several community members, present and former LCSC students spoke about their experience
at the college, citing how sensitive they felt the school had been to their individual and
community needs. After lots of handshakes and visiting, the road warriors climbed back
aboard the donated Lewiston RV vehicledubbed Force Onefor the trip
back to Lewiston that put them in the LCSC parking lot at 11:00 p.m.
Thursday was the final day of the outreach tour, and included DeSmet and Coeur
dAlene. Coeur dAlene Tribal Chairman Ernie Stensgar and tribal Education
Director Diane Allen welcomed Dr. Thomas and her entourage to the outreach center in
Desmet, which serves a number of Coeur dAlene tribal members. Allen is a former
student of Thomas, and the welcome was especially meaningful to both women.
In Coeur dAlene, Micheal Burke, of North Idaho College; Jack Dawson, of University
of Idahos Coeur dAlene Center, and Judy Meyer, former State Board of Education
member were among those greeting the president and the Thursday contingent from LCSC.
Again, numerous community members and students spoke about the role LCSC played in their
lives. Various renditions of Education
has changed my life; LCSC changed my life, were offered. The importance of the LCSC
outreach centers to people in each area was a repeated theme, as it was at each stop on
the tour. Reasons offered included the degree programs offered, their accessibility, as
well as the quality of education students received for their investment.
Although the group did not finish out the final day of the tour until after midnight,
Thomas, when asked (early Friday morning) about the last leg of the tour, responded:
Another wonderful dayWow!