DENVER – Two new Fort Lewis College trustees got a unanimous vote and encouraging words from senators at their confirmation hearing Thursday.
Ernest House Jr. and Thomas Schilling both got 9-0 votes from the Senate Education Committee during a brief hearing where senators expressed only positive thoughts about FLC.
It was a contrast from previous years, when senators quizzed new trustees about the cost of the college’s Native American Tuition Waiver or the school’s graduation rate.
“What you have done for the Indian population is incredible,” said Sen. Vickie Marble, R-Fort Collins, who said she has done work for Montana Indian tribes.
Montana needs a college like FLC, she said.
Dene Kay Thomas, president of the college, is a veteran of several trustee confirmation hearings.
“That was as positive as I’ve seen it. I was just really thrilled that they recognized the value and success of what we’re doing,” Thomas said.
House, a member of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, grew up in the Cortez area. He’s the son of the late tribal chairman Ernest House Sr. and the great-grandson of Jack House, the tribe’s last traditional chief. House Jr. has served as executive secretary of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs under three governors.
House said he will use his time on the board to preserve and burnish FLC’s ties to Indian tribes.
“You won’t find anybody in Indian Country throughout the United States who hasn’t been to or known someone who has graduated from Fort Lewis College,” House said.
Schilling served on the board once before, from 2004 to 2008. He is CEO of InterMountain Corporate Affairs, a Denver-based lobbying and communications firm.
During his second stint, he wants to bring faculty pay up to a level comparable to their peers at other colleges, he said.