April 28 — “To have something named after you is pretty damn cool,” said Smokey Mckinney responding to a surprise dedication ceremony for him.
At the ceremony, McKinney, an English instructor and founder of the writing center, was presented with a plaque inscribed, “Inspired by Dr. Smokey McKinney’s commitment to student success, his work on the preservation of his Potawatomi language, and the establishment of this space to support student writers, the College of Humanities and Arts of Haskell Indian Nations University proudly dedicates Ross Hall Room 122 as the Smokey McKinney Writing Center.”
The dedication ceremony featured an honor song, a tribute video by past students, and words from colleagues, students, and community members whom McKinney has impacted over his tenure at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU).
In McKinney’s thank you address, he thanked Joni Rains, interior designer and spouse of Dean of Humanities Jim Rains, for bringing his vision for the space together. The space is designed around the concept of a circle and the movement of pendulums. McKinney said the space changed his life for the better, and it encompasses everything symbolically he’s come to learn. Mckinney described coming into the space as, “an incredible feeling of newness, of a new beginning.”
The dedication continues the commitment McKinney and his colleagues have to the creation of the Smokey McKinney Writing Center and their commitment to students. “The McKinney Writing Center is a place of hope and healing,” said Jim Rains.