BHSU President receives honorary doctorate from Sinte Gleska University

Leaders note Jackson’s willingness to bring people together to create opportunities for students

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, August 30, 2018/Categories: Alumni, Awards, Campus Currents, Community, Events, President, 2018

Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., President of Black Hills State University, received an honorary doctorate degree from Sinte Gleska University noting Jackson’s commitment to collaboration among universities and his willingness to bring people together to create opportunities for students.

Jackson said he is humbled and honored to receive this designation from Sinte Gleska, a Tribal university in Mission, S.D. The honorary degree was presented during Sinte Gleska’s commencement ceremony held Aug. 24, 2018.

BHSU has strived to significantly enhance connections in South Dakota, across the nation and throughout the world. One of those collaborations, which is particularly meaningful for the BHSU president, is the connection with Sinte Gleska University under the leadership of Dr. Lionel Bordeaux, a BHSU graduate. Jackson has great respect and admiration for Bordeaux, noting that Bordeaux is a champion for civil liberties, human rights, Native rights, and higher education for people in South Dakota and throughout the world.  

“As a leader and as a person, Dr. Lionel Bordeaux stands for service, education, humility, strength, perseverance, and justice. His influence and example has inspired and will continue to inspire young people in South Dakota and throughout the world,” Jackson said. “It is a great honor for me to receive this recognition from Dr. Bordeaux and everyone at Sinte Gleska University.”

Since being named president of BHSU in 2014, Jackson has asked the University to dream big and know that BHSU is a place “Where Anything is Possible.” By combining the area’s traditions with a positive outlook, Jackson has sought to reconnect the University’s legacy with its future in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Jackson has placed an emphasis on BHSU’s strong legacy of providing educational opportunities for American Indian students and has strengthened the outreach and initiatives of the BHSU Center for American Indian Studies. BHSU has a legacy of serving Native students and has the largest proportion of American Indian students among the South Dakota Regental institutions.

Two years ago, the South Dakota Board of Regents selected BHSU to administer and provide leadership for GEAR UP, a federal program to increase the number of students, especially American Indian students in the state of South Dakota, who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. BHSU continues to receive national recognition as one of the top colleges for Native Americans.

A first generation student himself, Jackson is an inspiration to the many BHSU students who are the first in their families to graduate from a higher educational institution. As a veteran Jackson has tried to strengthen the University’s ties with military and veteran personnel throughout the state and is committed to providing educational opportunities for military personnel.

Prior to assuming the presidency at BHSU, Jackson held leadership roles at several other universities, including vice president for student affairs at the University of Louisville and at Texas A&M University-Kingsville; dean of students at McMurry University; and leadership positions at the University of Texas-El Paso, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, the University of Southern California, and St. Mary’s University (San Antonio). He was also the president of the American College Personnel Association in 2009, serving as the elected CEO and spokesman for student development professionals from 27 countries and 1,300 institutions.

Jackson holds a doctor of education degree in educational management from the University of La Verne in California. He has a master’s degree in counseling/student personnel from Pennsylvania’s Shippensburg University, a bachelor’s degree in business management/personnel from Southwest (Minn.) State University, and an associate degree from Highline Community College in Midway, Wash.

Jackson was selected to receive the prestigious NASPA Pillar of the Profession Award in 2017. He serves on a number of national and regional boards and organizations, including serving as a volunteer pilot for Pilots-n-Pets. Born in Seattle, Wash., Jackson’s hobbies include flying (private instrument rated single and multi-engine), downhill skiing, college sports, and movies. Jackson is married to Mona Jackson, owner of Ventana and co-owner of Killian’s Restaurant, both located in Spearfish, S.D.

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