Statements from the presidents


President Chicoine

Welcome to South Dakota State University!

The students joining us in 2011 will be among those who live in the newest residence halls, eat in the newest dining venues and learn in the newest academic facilities. These spaces have been created through the leadership, generosity and foresight of alumni, friends and students.

During your time at State, you and your friends:

Will be among the students to utilize the McCrory Gardens Educational and Visitors Center, currently under construction;

Likely will sit in the first classes taught in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science building’s west wing, currently under construction;

Will enjoy ice cream made in the new dairy processing plant and served from the new dairy bar, constructed mostly through private contributions;

Will watch contractors add another section to The Union to accommodate new dining options; and

Likely will watch construction of another residential complex in the southeast corner of campus, all designed to accommodate another group of students who see South Dakota State as their gateway to opportunity.

You will be among the early users of the Active Learning Cloud, a wireless learning resource that will enable connectivity from nearly any classroom, building or any outdoor space on campus, using almost any electronic device.

You will be a student here when the SDSU Foundation completes its comprehensive fund-raising campaign. The $200 million goal makes it the largest effort of its type for higher education in South Dakota. Contributions to the “It Starts with State” campaign will fund scholarships for students, already has provided spaces for teaching and learning, and will support outstanding faculty work.

Today’s State looks substantially different than it did when I was a student. In fact, it has changed noticeably since I returned here as president nearly five years ago. The Student Wellness Center provides 74,000 square feet of recreational space. The Avera Health and Science Center opened as a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility for pharmacy and chemistry programs. Donors also have funded the new Electrical Engineering and Computer Science facility. Three residential buildings — Abbott, Spencer and Thorne — opened last fall.

It’s easy to understand why people connected to SDSU frequently tell others that it’s a great day to be a Jackrabbit! I couldn’t agree more. Welcome again to South Dakota State University!


David L. Chicoine, Ph.D.

SDSU President

Class of 1969

President York

CONGRATULATIONS! You have just made one of the best decisions of your life – the decision to attend school at South Dakota State University! Four short years ago, I was in your shoes, and was I excited! High school was over, and it was the beginning of a new era. Independence at last! But before you plunge yourself into your studies, extra-curriculars and newly made friendships, take some time to reflect on this one simple truth: college is the last great springtime. At this point in your life, you can really do anything. If you don’t like your classes or you decide you don’t want to work in a certain career, you can change your major and head in a completely different direction. Once you graduate, you will be set down a certain track, and although it is possible to change later on, house payments, car payments and family demands often make that difficult, if not impossible. So my advice to you is to try different things in college and gravitate toward the areas you like. Take that acting class you’ve been dying to try, join the Dance Club or try out for the band! Use the $15,000 – $20,000 you save every year by not going to a private school to study abroad and learn another language. Don’t be afraid to make a change later on if you don’t like what you’re doing; 40 years of going to work every day and doing what you like is well worth another semester or two of school.

As the Students’ Association president, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of the best ways to make a difference on campus is to run for SA and work directly with SDSU administrators and the Brookings City Council to make changes here at SDSU. If you ever have any ideas for us, want to join our senate (we will most likely have spots open for freshmen in the fall) or use our free on-campus lawyer, stop in our office right across from Java City in The Union. I will personally help you out with any question you might have.

Since I’ve been at SDSU, I’ve had the opportunity to study abroad in Guatemala with 24 fellow SDSU students and learn fluent Spanish. I have had the chance to be a member of a Greek Fraternity (Delta Chi), play in the band, lobby legislators in Pierre, take graduate level math courses and canoe 2,300 miles from Brookings to New Orleans, raising money for cancer research. With over 180 majors and specializations, over 200 student groups and loads of volunteer opportunities, there is something for everyone here at SDSU. Don’t be afraid to reach out to new friends and try new things. You are full of potential, and if you’re open to it, you can go anywhere from here!


Mark York

SA President

Senior math/agronomy major