Letter from the President: Opportunities abundant on campus

Brandon Van Meter

Brandon Van Meter

Dear New and Returning Students:

It is with great pride that I welcome you to South Dakota State University’s 2009-2010 academic year. I am so glad you are here. My wife, Marcia, and I are beginning our third full academic year at State. It is truly an honor to serve you and to serve our alma mater as president.

Each new academic year brings a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement. It is the time to become reacquainted with old friends, and of course, to meet new friends. More than 2,000 first-year students and transfer students and more than 100 faculty are new on campus this fall. And my administrative team has two people new to their positions – Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Laurie Stenberg Nichols and Athletic Director Justin Sell.

Our purpose at State is pretty simple: we, the faculty, staff and administration, are here to help you earn your degree, to help you achieve your academic goals and to help you grow personally.

This academic year will be exciting for many reasons – new settings, new academic groups, new technological applications, new opportunities and several successful milestones that have been achieved through the dedicated efforts of faculty, students, staff, administrators, alumni and friends.

The obvious construction noise, the dust and the heavy equipment on campus reflect work under way to create a more contemporary campus. These short-term inconveniences will change our campus. The projects include renovations of the biology and microbiology teaching labs, the Avera Health and Science Center, the Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center, the Seed Technology Laboratory, the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Outdoor Learning Laboratory, a new residential complex for 400 students and a expanded dining options in The Union. Students will start using some of these facilities later this fall.

This also marks the first year for the College of Education and Human Sciences, a college serving about 1,300 majors across related disciplines. Additionally, a new program in architecture will be developed during this academic year with the first classes starting next year. It will be the first accredited architecture program in South Dakota.

The learning environment will change in ways other than rooms, building and programming. This is the inaugural year for the Active Learning Cloud. Supported by student fees, The AL Cloud will move our campus to the forefront of technology-based teaching and learning, utilizing hot spots all over campus and best-of-class instructional rooms.

The continuing growth in faculty research across campus will provide more research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students this year. The Innovation Center, the first building on the SDSU Innovation Campus, South Dakota’s first and only university-affiliated research park, will be dedicated this week.

We also look forward to building on recent success in NCAA Division-I athletics. Our student-athletes will compete for the second year as full members of the Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. I encourage you to join the excitement at Coughlin Alumni Stadium, Frost Arena and the Jackrabbits’ other home athletic venues.

Several milestones will be reached during this academic year, and two will occur this fall. Next month, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Professor T.W. Schultz, an SDSU alumnus originally from Badger, S.D., receiving the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his path-breaking work on human capital theory. Following a November campus visit, the university will receive full re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. One event celebrates the accomplishments of an alumnus; the other recognizes the fine work people expect from South Dakota State University.

Again, I’m so pleased that you chose South Dakota State University. Welcome to the new academic year. It will be outstanding.

David L. Chicoine, Ph.D.


Class of 1969