40th Commencement marks president’s first
Baker-Demeray reflects on first year
By Jerry W. Kram
Twyla Baker-Demeray says that Fort Berthold Community College has always seemed like a home away from home for her. After her first year guiding the college through a rough transition, she looks forward to a period of growth and excitement as she prepared for her first graduation ceremony as president.
Baker-Demeray was named president of the college in September after a few months as the interim leader of the school. She said there were many challenges and change to cope with in the first months of her adminstration.
"There was lots and lots and lots of change, which is hard for anyone to cope with," she said. "The climate here wasn’t the best. There were lots of frayed nerves and people were anxious. Nobody really likes to have that much change in that short of time. People were running the ship just fine, they just wanted somebody to steer."
In the months leading up to last week’s graduation, Baker-Demeray said she felt there were a lot fewer nerves and a great deal more energy across the campus that there was in the fall. She pointed to several accomplishments of the students, faculty and staff over the course of the year that gave her great pride in the institution. These included the school’s first every writer’s conference, adding men’s and women’s dormitories, the FBCC Lady Storm winning the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Basketball Championship, stabilizing the college’s leadership, and resolving a challenge to the school’s school’s accreditation. She said she can’t take credit for these accomplishments by herself.
"My staff and faculty is my team," Baker-Demeray said. "You can’t do anything by yourself. We still have plenty of work to do, but I think our accomplishments are a benchmark in what we can do."