Rita Sand has been an unflagging supporter, mentor and friend to Native American/Alaska Native students on the Montana State University campus for the decades of her employment at MSU and affiliation with the Department of Native American Studies. Sand recruits and advises Native students in her welcoming office in the NA/AN Student Center in Wilson Hall. Her success, in part, is due to her deep commitment to going out into Montana’s Native American communities. She encourages students to consider a higher education pathway and then encourages them to come to MSU. She makes recruiting visits to tribal high schools, year after year, and has become a familiar, friendly face to students, school administrators and families. When Native students arrive at MSU, one of the first things they find is Sand’s friendly face and enthusiastic welcome to the center. She creates the invaluable bridge between home and university and a safe space for talking to a trusted person when times are tough.

It is one thing to recruit students, but taking the time to care and the heart to help retain students and see them through to graduation is quite another. Rita Sand is an invaluable member of our MSU Native American/Alaska Native student support staff.

Rita Sand