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Shell offers support for education at Ilisagvik College

May 3rd, 2013 | For the Arctic Sounder Print this article   Email this article  

In addition to being Alaska's only tribal college, Ilisagvik College is also a nonprofit organization, which means that the College needs community support in order to provide the great education and trainings that it does.

"Though of course we would not exist without the vision and the support of the North Slope Borough," commented Ilisagvik President Pearl Brower, "in recent years we have really tried to partner with more statewide organizations to increase our sustainability and economic diversity."

Shell Oil is one such organization, whose partnership has helped Iḷisaġvik meet its mission of providing culturally relevant education on the North Slope since 2008.

"Shell is committed to investing in projects that reinforce education and local community development," said Shell Alaska Vice President, Pete Slaiby, "through our partnership with Iḷisaġvik we are able to do just that.?

In 2008 and 2009, Shell donated a total of $374,000 to help build the Iñupiaq Studies department. The Iñupiaq Studies program includes classes like Traditional and Contemporary Skin Sewing, Baleen Carving, Inupiaq Songs, Dances and Drumming, I?uit Storytelling, and instruction in the Inupiaq language.

Since 2008, 11 students have graduated with Inupiaq Studies certificates or degrees and 541 students have passed through that program. "We can't thank Shell enough for helping us increase our ability to offer cultural courses," said President Brower.

In 2012, Shell entered into a three-year commitment providing $150,000 in support to Iḷisaġvik College annually. With funds received from Shell in 2012 (which included an additional $9,000 for summer camps), Ilisagvik has amped up its support for students through the Student Success Center. The position of Persistence and Retention Coordinator was added to concentrate the College's efforts on giving students the academic support they need to succeed at Ilisagvik.

A Student Support Specialist position was also added, to assist the Student Success Center staff with all daily operations. Additionally, Ilisagvik hired a Career and Education Coordinator who will work one on one with students and graduates to place them in internships and jobs and assist them with transferring to other colleges or universities.

From 2008 to 2013, Shell Oil has generously supported Ilisagvik College in the amount of $533,000. According to plan, Shell will have given a total of $833,000 by 2015.

"We are incredibly grateful to Shell for all that they have done for Ilisagvik," said President Brower. "As a nonprofit, we face new financial challenges every year. With the help of dedicated partners like Shell Oil, Ilisagvik College can stand up to these challenges with confidence."

For more information about giving to Ilisagvik College, go to our website at or contact Institutional Advancement Coordinator Kayla Jeffress at


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