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Hospice event to honor family of Dr. David Gipp

The sixth annual Go Hawaiian for Hospice event will honor the family of transformational tribal college leader Dr. David Gipp. David passed away last September under the care of Sanford Hospice.

Across the nation, Dr. David Gipp will be remembered as a courageous visionary who championed higher education for American Indians.

But to his family, he was simply Dave, a low-key, kind and thoughtful man who always put others first. After an extended illness, he spent the final weeks of his life on his own terms, they say—in his Mandan, North Dakota, home, surrounded by loved ones.

The support of home hospice care through Sanford Hospice in Bismarck helped ensure his comfort, along with the gift of meaningful time together with family.

“He was happy that he was home,” said David’s brother, Dr. Gerald Gipp. “It gave us all a chance to see him every day and talk to him. The home hospice gave all of us assurance that he was well cared for. It’s so much easier for families to visit, but at the same time, know you can always count on a professional if you need it.”

An enduring legacy

David’s memory will live on through his tireless work to inspire and empower students to pursue higher education.

For nearly four decades, the Fort Yates native and member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe served as president of the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. In 2015, he moved into a chancellor role.

“He genuinely loved young people,” Gerald said. “He was always promoting ideas that would help not only tribal college students but students at various levels throughout the country.”

David was also a graduate of the University of North Dakota and for many years, served on the board of UND’s Indians Into Medicine Program, which ranks first in the nation for graduating American Indian and Alaska Native students. He also had provided long-time leadership for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the American Indian College Fund.

“He was genuinely not looking for the spotlight, but he excelled in it,” Gerald said. “He was a very low-key person. But fiercely proud and always willing to speak out on different issues—I always admired him for that.”

Extending the gift of hospice to others

This summer, the Gipps will be honored as the host family of the sixth annual Go Hawaiian for Hospice event benefiting Sanford Hospice Bismarck. 100% of funds raised through the Sanford Health Foundation will stay local to support comprehensive hospice care and services.

Gerald says they’re proud to be involved to help ensure others can receive the same gifts of compassion and time together at the end of life that his family did.

“For families, it’s critically important that the individual going through these difficulties feels comfortable and well cared for, in their familiar surroundings, their home,” he said. “This gives them the peace of mind of finishing their journey in a place they feel welcome, surrounded by family."