Office of the President
Thomas Shortbull (OLC President)
Thomas H. Shortbull received his BA and MA from the University of South Dakota. He has been President of Oglala Lakota College since December 1994 and was also the OLC President from 1975-79. From 1982 -95, he was an Adjunct Faculty member for Oglala Lakota College. From 1982-86, he represented the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations as a South Dakota State Senator and was a strong advocate for Indian issues, education, and environment and health care issues. During his six years in the South Dakota Senate, he each year introduced legislative action to observe the Martin Luther King Holiday, but was unsuccessful. In 1991, South Dakota was the second to the last of the states to observe the Martin Luther King Holiday. He also served as Director of the Rapid City Indian Service Council from 1980-81, Director of the Task Force on Indian-State Government Relations from 1973-75, and taught at Flandreau Indian School from 1969-70.
In the Civil Rights arena, he has been a strong advocate for the voting rights of Indian people. He has had past experience with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. As Director of the 1973-75 Task Force on Indian State Government Relations, he authored a report that gerrymandering was occurring on two Indian reservations in southwestern South Dakota. In 1980, faced with Section V of the Voting Rights Act, South Dakota reluctantly created a legislative district that encompassed much of the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations and he became the first Indian Senator from this District and the first Indian Senator in South Dakota to represent Indian reservations.
His other Voting Rights efforts included being one of three minority legislators who were featured in videos favoring the reauthorization efforts for the 2005 Voting Rights Act, expert witness in a voting rights lawsuit that expanded the opportunity for Indian people to elect more Indian state legislators, and was an outspoken critic of the Shelby County vs Holder Supreme Court decision that has the potential to weaken voting rights for minorities in this country.
He has been President of Oglala Lakota College since December 1994 and from 1975-79.
Tom and Darlene, his wife of 46 years, have three children, his daughter Vanessa, a former Miss South Dakota, sons Paul John and Frank. He has three grandchildren Brandon, Sadie, and Jackson.