Willie Leclair

 

Willie LeClair

 

Willie is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe of the Wind River Reservation. He graduated from high school in Lander and served in the US Navy and was honorably discharged in 1959 as an E5 air traffic controller. He has worked as a contract religious coordinator for Wyoming Department of Corrections for the past 20 years and conducts presentations on American Indian culture all over the country and has been on the Wyoming Arts Council roster for a number of years. In 1980 Willie started a career, which he continues today, as a presenter and rodeo announcer to share some of the Native American heritage and spirituality he has experienced. He makes his home on a small ranch near Riverton, Wyoming where he has raised Texas Longhorn cattle. He walks both worlds as an American Indian and as an American Cowboy. Willie LeClair was born in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, the son of an Eastern Shoshone Indian rancher and of a white mother. He has both a college education and the traditional teachings from both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal elders. Willie has performed and lectured throughout the United States, including at well-known national and regional gatherings, as well as with other artists and musicians. Willie is one of the few that is knowledgeable in the traditional art of American Indian sign language. He remains as one of the few American Indian Cowboys of our time living in the west with American Indian traditional knowledge passed onto him. It is his goal to dispel existing stereotypes that encourage people to view American Indians as figures in the historical past, or even worse, as the characters that Hollywood has created. By exposing audiences to diverse dances, regalia and songs, he hopes to instill the idea that American Indians are not all the same.

 

Maggi Murdock

 

 

 

Maggi Murdock

 

Dr. Maggi Maier Murdock is a native of Wyoming. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska) in Political Science in 1970, her Master’s degree from Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts) in Political Science 1974, and her Ph.D. from Tufts University in Political Science in 1978. Maggi began her academic career at the University of Wyoming in 1975 and was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and adjunct faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice. She served as Dean of the University of Wyoming branch campus (UW-Casper), Dean of the UW Outreach School, UW Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and UW Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. She retired from the University of Wyoming in August 2017 as Professor Emerita. Maggi has been active in local and state organizations, as well as political science and distance education professional organizations. She served on the Wyoming Humanities Council from 1988 – 1993, serving as president from 1991-1992. Maggi served on the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees for 8 years and is currently a member of the HLC Committee on Strategy and the HLC Partners for Transformation. She also serves on the Wyoming Public Media Public Advisory Council and the Wyoming ReNEW Board. Maggi is married to Nick Murdock, a Casper attorney. They have two children, Dr. Amanda Murdock Diehl (married to Dr. Tony Diehl) of Rapid City, South Dakota, and Aubrey Murdock of Jersey City, New Jersey. Nick and Maggi have three grandchildren: Alexa, Zachary, and Kendall Diehl.

 

Fred Schmechel

 

Fred Schmechel

 

Fred was born and raised in Cheyenne, WY. He received his bachelor’s degree in art and earned his master’s in public administration from the University of Wyoming. As an art student, he displayed work in the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Fred frequently interned with the Wyoming Arts Council as he pursued his vision of becoming an arts administrator. After his undergraduate studies, Fred transitioned quickly from a graphic design position to managing large accounts for printing companies in Cheyenne. Seeing the opportunity, and having a longstanding deep enjoyment in irony, Fred took his arts-focused education and launched his insurance agency. It was here where Fred honed his business skills and engendered a sincere appreciation for failing fast, learning from mistakes, and moving forward. Presented with an opportunity to return towards “Plan A” Fred took a part-time student position during his graduate studies in Laramie with the University of Wyoming’s business incubator, the Wyoming Technology Business Center, where he is currently the assistant director and is working to develop a technology sector in Southeast Wyoming. Recognizing that there is a symbiotic link between sustainable arts and technology sectors, in the fall of 2014 Fred launched the Wyoming Arts Incubation program at the WTBC. Here he works with Wyoming artists to help them develop sustainable incomes from their art. For each of the past three years, he has coordinated the Fisher Innovation Launchpad (FIL), a $125k entrepreneurship seed fund at the University of Wyoming. Since its founding in 2016, the FIL has yielded more than twenty active student-owned and conceived companies, making it the most effective economic development & business creation program in Wyoming. Fred is a co-founder and serves as Board President of TechTalk Laramie; a successful 501(c)3 non-profit focused on improving the conditions in Laramie for technology workers.

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