Dawn Sturdevant Baum’98 DSC
Dawn Baum’98 has been recognized for her outsized impact on her communities, at Beloit and across the globe. She was a leading lawyer on issues of concern to Indigenous nations and a highly-regarded advocate for Indigenous peoples and climate justice.
Awarded September 29, 2023
2023 Distinguished Service Citation
Dawn Sturdevant Baum’98 had a gift for bringing out the best in people. An enrolled member of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Ojibwe, she was creative and artistic, and could often be found painting, beading, and basket-weaving. She enjoyed being in and around water throughout her life, and was an active member of the Beloit swim team.
After earning a law degree at the University of Wisconsin, Dawn worked with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court in Arizona, and as a legal assistant to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. She spent 12 years in Washington D. C., working for the Native American Rights Fund, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Indian Gaming Commission, and the Department of Justice in the Office of Tribal Justice.
Dawn moved to California in 2017 where she served as counsel for the Yurok Tribe, president of the Native American Bar Association, and as a member of the American Bar Association’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity. She worked to improve education for disenfranchised youth, and became one of the nation’s leading lawyers on issues of concern to Indigenous nations. A highly regarded advocate for Indigenous peoples and climate issues, she accomplished transformational change for her people and the planet.
Dawn was a strong, resilient woman who survived a devastating car accident and fought her way back to mobility. She faced breast cancer in the middle of the pandemic amid isolation and uncertainty, yet maintained her incredible resilience and held onto a belief in hope and the possibility of joy.
Dawn passed away June 10, 2023, at 46. Respected and beloved throughout her life, her legacy lives on in the communities she served, and with her family, friends, and colleagues. To honor her memory, the Beloit College Alumni Association acknowledges Dawn Sturdevant Baum with this 2023 Distinguished Service Citation.