They are Native Americans. They are Montanans. They are Griz alumni. And high honors will be bestowed upon them from their beloved university.

One of the things I am most proud of in my career as an announcer has been the privilege of reading the names of the graduates as they come up to receive their diplomas during University of Montana commencement ceremonies. My coworker, Peter Christian, and I have been asked to do this for each commencement ceremony over the past five years. It is indeed a huge honor to do so. And this spring's ceremony promises to be a moving one, as two prominent women will be receiving their honorary doctorates.

UM News Service tells us that honorary doctorates will be presented to Lily Gladstone and Carol Tatsey-Murray, two outstanding Native leaders with strong ties to the Blackfeet Nation. Schedules permitting, both women will serve as UM Commencement speakers.

Ms. Gladstone is a Golden Globe Award winner and Academy Award nominee for her portrayal of Mollie Burkhart in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” She earned her undergraduate degree from UM in acting and directing with a minor in Native Amerian Studies in 2008. She will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.

Ms. Tatsey-Murray is a renowned educator, tribal elder and former college president working to protect and enhance Blackfeet culture. She earned earned her undergraduate degree from UM in elementary education in 1982. She will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Education.


Lily Gladstone was raised in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. She has Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Dutch and Cajun ancestry. According to UM News Service, her first acting performance was as an evil stepsister in a Missoula Children’s Theater production of “Cinderella.” Her family later moved to the Seattle area, where she finished high school before returning to Montana for higher education.


Carol Tatsey-Murray is from Badger Creek near Browning and now lives along the Two Medicine River on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. According to UM News Service, she has dedicated her life to the preservation, promotion and revitalization of Native American culture. She spent 36 years at Blackfeet Community College, during which she secured more than $20 million in faculty development projects and helped launch construction of an important building on the Blackfeet Community College campus.

One more reason to be the proud UM graduate that I am. Congratulations to both women, and I eagerly await listening to their commencement addresses May 11.

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