Twenty-seven students from the Southwest Indigenous Language Development Institute (SILDI) Program were honored at a commencement for their accomplishment in obtaining their certificate at the Fort Lewis College Concert Hall on the evening of Friday, May 5. Family members, friends, tribal officials, and Fort Lewis College administration gathered in celebration to congratulate the first cohort to finish the program. Students received a certificate from the college that will allow them to be certified teachers of the Ute language. An invocation was given by Southern Ute tribal elder, Pearl Casias and a welcome and Land Acknowledgement was given by Fort Lewis College President, Tom Stritikus. Members of Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Tribal Council gave well wishes and thanks for helping preserve the Ute language. A reception followed in the Fort Lewis College Ballroom for graduates and their friends and family.