Richard Williams, MA

photo courtesy of the American Indian College Fund

A member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, Richard B. Williams holds the distinction of being the first American Indian student to earn a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska, earning a B.A. in university studies (magna cum laude) and has earned a master's in education administration from UW (summa cum laude). In May 2007, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

From 1997-2012, he served as president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, a national nonprofit organization that raises private support for all 32 tribal colleges and universities in the United States. Prior to his work at the American Indian College Fund, Williams served as director of the Student Academic Service Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previously, he served as director of Minority Student Affairs and director of the American Indian Upward Bound Program.

Experienced as an educator, advocate, and historian, Williams works to increase awareness of both contemporary and historical American Indian issues. Throughout his career, he has lectured and presented for various organizations, including the Central Intelligence Agency, National Indian Education Association, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations. In 1993 and 1994, he served as a consulting editor for the Discovery Channel series How the West Was Lost. From 1993 to 1997, Williams served as an instructor for the Indian Studies graduate program at the University of Denver. In 2003, Mr. Williams served as a monthly guest columnist for the Denver Post and educated local readership with thought-provoking editorials about Indians.

In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Williams to serve as a member of the President's Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities.


Williams continues to provide board and leadership training to nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning, including tribal colleges.