South Dakota State University

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South Dakota State University
Seal of South Dakota State University
Established 1881
Type Public
Endowment $96.9 million[1]
President David Chicoine
Academic staff
Students 12,554
Undergraduates 10,840
Location Brookings, South Dakota, U.S.
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Campus 260 acres (110 ha)
Colors Blue and Yellow[2]
Athletics NCAA Division I
The Summit League, MVFC, Big 12 Conference
Nickname Jackrabbits

South Dakota State University is a public research university located in Brookings, South Dakota. It is the state's largest and second oldest university. A land-grant university and sun grant university, founded under the provisions of the 1862 Morrill Act, SDSU offers programs of study required by, or harmonious to, this Act. In step with this land-grant heritage and mission, SDSU has a special focus on academic programs in agriculture, engineering, nursing, and pharmacy, as well as the liberal arts. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies SDSU as a Research University with high research activity. The graduate program is classified as Doctoral/Science, Technology, Engineering, Math dominant.[3] SDSU is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, which governs the state's six public universities and two special schools.


The university was founded in the Dakota Territory on February 21, 1881, as Dakota Agriculture College. The first building, with funding from the territorial legislature, was built in 1883, six years before the State of South Dakota was formed. Numerous expansions were funded in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The name was changed in 1904 to South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1964, the name was changed to South Dakota State University. The name change was largely the result of Alumni Association. Initiated in 1962, this name change reflected the more comprehensive education offered at the university.[4]

In 1923, SDSU's instructional program was organized under five divisions: Agriculture, Engineering, General Science, Home Economics, and Pharmacy. In 1956, a Nursing program was established, and in 1957 a formal graduate school was formed. When the University changed its name in 1964, the colleges were renamed Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Home Economics, Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Graduate School. In 1974, the College of General Registration (now the College of General Studies) was formed. In 1975, the Division of Education was created. An Honors College was formed in 1999. Two colleges and seven departments combined in 2009 to create the College of Education and Human Sciences. The current names of these colleges are; Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Sciences, Engineering, General Studies, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Honors Colleges and the Graduate School.[citation needed]

Coolidge Sylvan Theatre


The Campanile on West Campus

The Hilton M. Briggs Library consists of more than 635,000 bound volumes, 315,000 government documents, 79,000 maps, and 1,800 journal titles (with 28,000 additional titles available online). The Coughlin Campanile, formerly used as the campus bell tower, is a familiar sight around campus. The campus also has two museums, the South Dakota State Art Museum (featuring works by Harvey Dunn and Oscar Howe, among others), and the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum. The art museum is home to over 6,000 works of art, while the agricultural museum is home to over 100,000 objects. Both museums are open free to the public. The university operates its own dairy plant, processing 10,000 lb (4.5 t) of milk weekly into cheese and ice cream, operates a cattle and sheep breeding operation, has an on-campus meat processing facility, and has a student-operated pharmacy. Also close to campus are the McCrory Gardens and South Dakota Arboretum. These gardens include a 20-acre (8.1 ha) public display and a 45-acre (18 ha) arboretum. The gardens are open daily to the public. SDSU is also home to State University Theatre and Prairie Repertory Theatre, which produce numerous plays and musicals during the school year and summer breaks.

The University Student Union is at the center of campus and houses many amenities for both students and the public.[5] The Union is the home to numerous meeting rooms, a ballroom, The Hobo Day Committee (homecoming committee) the University Program Council,[6] Greek life[7] the Students Association,[8] The Collegian[9] student newspaper, Student Legal Services, KSDJ 90.7 FM, Dining Services, four eating facilities, the University Bookstore, Card Services, and International Student Affairs.

Avera Health Sciences Center

The new 73,000-square-foot (6,800 m2) SDSU Wellness Center opened in Fall of 2008. The new building lightens up space in the HPER Center, allowing that to be used exclusively for athletes, while the Wellness Center is used only for students and the public. Students gain membership free, although memberships are available for purchase for community members. There are numerous group exercise programs and classes offered along with personal training. The building houses a rock climbing wall, a track, three basketball courts, a competition size swimming pool, and numerous weights and cardiovascular equipment. It is also the home of Student Health, which includes a full pharmacy for students.


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[10] 181

SDSU awards associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees. Enrollment as of fall 2010 was 12,816. The total enrollment of SDSU has increased each year for the past seven years. The university provides 175 fields of study. The university's colleges and schools include the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Education and Human Sciences; College of Engineering; College of Nursing; College of Pharmacy; the Graduate School; and the Honors College.

The following accreditations have been awarded to SDSU:

  • College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences: AAVLD, ASABE, SRM
  • College of Arts and Sciences: ACEJMC, NAACLS, NASM
  • College of Education and Human Sciences: ACEND, AABI, CAATE, CoAES, CIDA, CACREP, CORE, NAEYC, NCATE, SD Department of Education
  • College of Engineering: ABET, ACCE
  • College of Nursing: SD Board of Nursing, CCNE
  • College of Pharmacy: ACPE

Research culture

The nation's first on-campus ethanol production facility, established at SDSU in 1979.

SDSU currently ranks among the Midwest's top research universities, notably in the fields of agricultural science, biological science, and engineering.[11] It recently made U.S. News and World Report's "Top 200 National Universities" in its college and university rankings.[11]

The university operates several agricultural research stations around the state, such as the Antelope Range and Livestock Research Station near Buffalo.

The Great Plains Writers Conference is a venue for significant regional authors or writers interested in the Great Plains. It was instituted at SDSU in 1976 for writing scholarship.[12] In 2013 it instituted an annual award for writers from the Great Plains who haven't published a book yet; the inaugural winner was poet Gary Dop, who got his MFA from the University of Nebraska.[13]

Alumni from the university's research community notable for scientific achievements include:

Online programs

SDSU offers a variety of online programs. The university offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and certificate programs that students can complete online.[19] SDSU’s online program earned national recognition on January 10, 2013, when it ranked 2nd overall among online colleges on Guide to Online Schools’ 2013 Online College Rankings.[20]

Athletics and activities

SDSU's athletic mascot for both the men's and women's teams is the Jackrabbit, Both the men's and women's sports teams are officially referred to as the Jackrabbits. However, in the late fall of 2012 SD State's wrestling team introduced the SDSU Blueman as their official mascot in addition to the Jackrabbit.[21] The homecoming celebration, Hobo Day, is "The Biggest One-Day Event in the Dakotas."[22] The 300+ member SDSU Marching Band, "The Pride of the Dakotas", given the special name the Millennium Band in 2000 by the South Dakota State Legislature, has marched in the 1981 and 1997 Presidential Inaugural Parades in Washington, D.C.; A Capital Fourth in 2000 in Washington, D.C., which was broadcast on PBS; the 2003 and 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, making them the second collegiate band in the history of the Rose Bowl to be invited to march twice when their team was not competing; and the Korean War Monument Dedication at the state's capital Pierre in 2004, in the company of two other college bands and 60-some high school bands from across the state. SDSU participates in athletics as a member of NCAA Division I, having completed a transition from NCAA Division II by 2009. SDSU's athletic conference affiliations include The Summit League for most sports, the Missouri Valley Football Conference (Division I FCS), the Big 12 Conference and Varsity Equestrian. The Jackrabbits have 21 varsity sports and numerous intramural and club teams.

The women's basketball team won the 2003 Division II Championship. In the spring of 2007 and 2008, the Jacks were invited to compete in postseason action in the WNIT. This made them the only transition team (a team that is in the process of being certified for a new division) in WNIT history to do so. In 2007, they received a bye in the first round and continued on to victories over Illinois State and Indiana, but were beaten by the eventual tournament champions, Wyoming, in the 4th round of the tournament.[23] This was an exciting time at SDSU, as their home stadium, Frost Arena, was filled to capacity for both games with the game versus Indiana selling out in a matter of hours.

On March 10, 2009, the Jackrabbit women's basketball team won the Summit League Championship for the first time and played in their first NCAA Division I Tournament. They beat Texas Christian University in the first round 90-55 but lost to Baylor in the second round 60-58. That season they finished with an overall record of 32-3 and 17-1 in the Summit League. The Jacks women's basketball team is led by head coach Aaron Johnston. In 2010, the SDSU women again qualified for the NCAA tournament as a 14 seed, but lost in the first round to Oklahoma, eventual Final Four participant. SDSU finished with a 22-11 (14-4) record. On March 8, 2011, the Jackrabbit women won their third consecutive Summit League Championship, advancing the NCAA tourney for a third straight year. In 2012, the Jackrabbits men's and women's basketball teams both won Summit League titles, both gaining a berth in the NCAA Tournaments. The Jackrabbit women lost in the opening round of the 2012 tournament to the Purdue Boilermakers. The Jackrabbit men lost in the opening round to the heavily favored Baylor Bears, a game that was decided only in the final seconds. Both the Jackrabbit men and women again qualified for the NCAA Tourneys in 2013 by winning their respective Summit League Tourneys. The men lost in the NCAA opening round to the University of Michigan while the women lost their NCAA opening round game to the University of South Carolina.

The Jackrabbit baseball team won the Summit League Tourney and advanced for the first time to the NCAA Tourney in 2013 where they lost their opening game to eventual regional champ Oregon and then were eliminated in a 13-inning defensive battle by the University of San Francisco. They play at Erv Huether Field with seating for 600 spectators.

The Dakota Marker is the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual college football game played between the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Jackrabbits and the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Bison. The trophy is a replica of one of many stone boundary markers that can be found along the border between the states of South Dakota and North Dakota. SDSU won the first Dakota Marker game in Brookings, SD, in 2004. NDSU won the Dakota Marker games held in Fargo, ND, in 2005 and 2006. SDSU won the Dakota Marker in Brookings in 2007 and in 2008 in Fargo as well as at home in Brookings in 2009. SDSU also battles their in-state rival the University of South Dakota Coyotes in the South Dakota Showdown Series.

In 2009, SDSU made their first ever Division I FCS football playoff appearance, but lost to eventual Runner-up Montana 61-48 in the first round, SDSU finished with a record of 8-4 and 7-1 in the MVFC. The Jackrabbit football team qualified for the FCS playoffs in 2012 and won their first playoff game against Ohio Valley champs, Eastern Illinois University 58-10, but fell in the second game to eventual champs, the North Dakota State Bison 28-3. They ended with a 9-4 overall (6-2) MVFC record. They Also Competed in the 2013 Playoffs, defeating Northern Arizona 26-7 in the first round and falling in the second round to Eastern Washington 41-17 ending the season at a 9-5 overall (5-3) MVFC record. They hold a 2-3 record in the FCS playoffs and 2-4 overall in playoff games. South Dakota State owns 1 Great West Football Conference championship in 2007 and 14 North Central Conference titles from Division II.

South Dakota State recently has released a master plan for renovations in its athletic department. The Dykhouse Student Athlete Center was a starting point for renovations. The Dykhouse is located in the north end-zone of Coughlin Alumni Stadium and was opened in the spring 2010 following the spring football game. In 2014, South Dakota State started construction of a new stadium on the location of the current Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The new stadium will have seating for 19,340 with easy expansion to 22,500. another great centerpiece of the athletics department is the brand new SJAC. The Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex is the Jackrabbits new State-of-the-art indoor practice facility. The facility was opened on October 11, 2014. The SJAC has bleacher seating for up to 1,000 spectators and can be used for football practice, track practice, softball and baseball practice, track competitions, and other events within the SDSU athletic department. The 149,284-square foot facility is the largest indoor practice facility in Division I athletics and features an eight-lane, 300-meter track which is only one of five collegiate indoor tracks of that size in the nation. Inside the track is an 80-yard football field plus end zones at each end and is composed of a soy-based Astroturf. Within the facility it has areas for sports medicine and strength and conditioning. Sports medicine features include rehab space, a training room, weight room expansion, hydrotherapy, a football team room, offices and academic advising facilities. Also in the master timeline is an expansion of Frost Arena (basketball).

The campus newspaper is The Collegian which features news, sports, and sections that cover popular culture, trends, and activities on campus.

Residential life

Residence Halls SDSU

Students have a variety of residential hall and apartment living choices. Student housing is located in three areas: the Medary complex located in the northwest corner of campus, consisting of traditional residence halls, Hansen, Waneta and Wecota Annex, and apartment-style living at Meadows North and Meadows South; the Grove complex near the Student Union, consisting of traditional residence halls, Brown, Mathews and Pierson, as well as a newer (2010) variation on the theme of traditional residence halls in Spencer, Thorne and Abbott (also called the Jackrabbit Village); and the Larson complex on the east side of campus, consisting of traditional halls Binnewies and Young and suite living at Caldwell Hall. The residential halls on-campus of SDSU make up the densest concentration of people in South Dakota.

All of the residence halls with the exception of Caldwell are co-ed by wing, with each wing having its own bathroom. Caldwell Hall is suite style, meaning two rooms share a common bathroom for the four occupants and each floor on Caldwell is co-ed. The Meadows North and Meadows South apartment complexes feature four-bedroom apartments. In addition to the Medary, Grove and Larson complexes for single students, SDSU has 80 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments available for rent for married students in State Court and State Village. State Court and State Village are located on the southeast side of campus.

Modern-styled dormitories

Some residence halls have a Living/Learning Community, where an entire floor is composed of a certain group of students. Examples include Agriculture and Biology Majors, Honors College, Engineering House, Health Professionals House and Substance-Free. Furniture in the halls except Wecota Annex, is moveable and the provided beds may be lofted—students do not need to purchase or bring their own loft. Residents may also contract phone and cable services with the appropriate companies. Washers and dryers are available in all the halls and operate with either cash or by using campus Hobo Dough. The four newest residence halls, Reifel, Hyde, Schultz and the Honors Hall (collectively, the Jackrabbit Grove) opened in the Fall of 2013. Ben Reifel Hall is home to the Performing Arts Community. Schultz Hall is home of the Ag/Rural and Wellness Living Communities and the Honors Hall, as the name suggests, is home to the Honors College. They are similar in amenities to the Jackrabbit Village halls (Spencer, Thorne and Abbott).


On January 1, 2007, David Chicoine became the 19th President of South Dakota State University. Chicoine and his wife are alumni of SDSU, and prior to becoming president he was Vice President for Economic Development and Technology at the University of Illinois.

Presidents of SDSU

  1. George Lilley, 1884–1886
  2. Lewis McLouth, 1886–1896
  3. John Heston, 1896–1903
  4. James Chalmers, 1903–1906
  5. Robert Slagle, 1906–1914
  6. Ellwood Perisho, 1914–1918
  7. Willis Johnson, 1919–1923
  8. Charles Pugsley, 1923–1940
  9. George Brown, 1940
  10. Lyman Jackson, 1941–1946
  11. Fred Leinbach, 1947–1951
  12. John Headley, 1952–1957
  13. H. M. Crothers, 1957–1958
  14. Hilton Briggs, 1958–1975
  15. Sherwood Berg, 1975–1984
  16. Ray Hoops, 1984–1985
  17. Robert Wagner, 1985–1997
  18. Peggy Gordon Miller 1998–2006
  19. David Chicoine, 2006–present

Notable alumni

Greek life

This list contains only social fraternities that are a part of either the Interfraternity Council or the College Panhellenic Association.[7] Other fraternities and sororities exist as general student organizations.


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  22. [1] Archived January 7, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
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External links