Approximately 40 people gathered to celebrate the class of 2015 at the annual Doyon Foundation graduation reception on May 8 in Fairbanks. Foundation staff and board members, as well as graduates’ friends, family and other supporters attended the event, which honored the educational achievements of 57 graduates, including high school, certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate students.Ronald Burgett, Rachel Dewilde, Nadine Carroll and son, Stacey Demoski, Selina Powers, Travis David, Kelly Mitchell 3

“Looking at our 2015 graduates, I am confident about the success of our state’s future because of the Native minds that will be leading us. The minds in this room will be shaping policies, keeping our communities safe, teaching our children, caring for our families’ health, discovering new solutions, and carrying on our cultural traditions,” said the Foundation’s executive director, Doris Miller, who emceed the event.

“Like all of you family and friends, we at the Foundation are so proud of these students, and we are honored to play even a small role in their success. I can’t say that without thanking our donors, who make it possible for us to support our students’ educational journeys,” Miller added.

During the reception, attendees also heard from graduate speaker Rachel DeWilde, who received a bachelor’s of science in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) this spring, as well as alumna speaker LaVerne Demientieff, a clinical associate professor in social work at UAF.

“(As a professor) I see graduates every year and I go through graduation every year,” Demientieff said. “It is such an inspiring time, a lot of celebrations and joy. It is also a very reflectful time, thinking back to the beginning and all that you have learned. All the successes and all the challenges – challenges that were overcome because of determination and grit and the help of the people and community around us.”

Following the speakers, graduates had the opportunity to introduce themselves, and the reception culminated with refreshments and mingling.

The graduates will be featured in the Foundation’s upcoming 2015 graduate yearbook e-newsletter. Interested recipients may sign up to receive the e-newsletter on the Foundation’s website,

For more information, please visit, or contact the Foundation at 907.459.2048 or