American Indian College Fund Logo with Tag centered


Contact:, 715-799-5600

In Memoriam: Dr. Verna Fowler

July 1, 1942, to August 12, 2023

KESHENA, WI- With deep sadness, we share the news of the passing of our friend, advocate, leader, and teacher, Dr. Verna Fowler, the founding President of the College of Menominee Nation (CMN).

Upon learning of her passing, current CMN President Chris Caldwell shared a few thoughts, “In talking with Dr. Fowler, I found comfort in learning from her experiences. Resources are always limited, problems and challenges never end, and communication can sometimes be difficult. But the rewards are countless when you see the impact on our students’ lives and those of their families and communities.”

Dr. Fowler received her bachelor’s degree from Silver Lake College and devoted her career to advancing educational opportunities for American Indians as a teacher, school administrator, and advocate. She was a teacher at all elementary and secondary school levels and in colleges in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Dr. Fowler went on to continue her educational journey receiving her Master of Arts and PhD from the University of North Dakota. She then received a call from the Menominee Tribal Legislature, asking her to return to the Menominee Reservation and help re-establish a tribal education program.

This distinguished advocate of American Indian Education played a critical role on advisory committees, including the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (under President Clinton and Bush), and was a leader who served as President of the American Indian College Fund and Vice President of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

Her legacy of a successful, accredited, and fully functional tribal college was last celebrated just months ago. As part of the College’s 30th Anniversary, CMN’s retired Founding President Verna Fowler was recognized during the 2023 commencement ceremony.

She is a highly respected leader and will be deeply missed by our College of Menominee Nation family and throughout Indian Country. A memorial has been established in Dr. Verna Fowler’s name at the College of Menominee Nation.

Dr. Verna Fowler at CMN's 2023 Commencement Ceremony

Dr. Verna Fowler at CMN’s 2023 Commencement Ceremony


College of Menominee Nation

Recent Posts