Welcome Back’

Jason Mann

Jason Mann

In a formal ceremony sprinkled with humor, SDSU students, faculty and alumni were able to get a better insight into who their new president is and what he has planned for a place so special to his audience.

Blue and gold dragonflies fluttered about as David L. Chicoine was inaugurated as the 19th president of SDSU on Sept. 15. Many dignitaries from the worlds of politics and academia gathered on the stage of Coolidge Sylvan Theatre to help welcome Chicoine back to the place where his higher education began.

“You can go anywhere from here-and you can-but it’s wonderful when you can stay at home,” said South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds.

Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said Chicoine is arriving at SDSU at a critical time for both the school and the state. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune weren’t able to attend the ceremony, but they sent letters read by their staff members, Eric Nelson and Andrea Fouberg, respectively.

Richard Wilson, president of Illinois Wesleyan University and a former colleague of Chicoine’s, offered reassurance to the SDSU community for the school’s future.

“Leadership is required when change happens; strong leadership is essential when the pace quickens,” Wilson said. “SDSU has chosen just such a leader.”

Another former colleague, Joseph White, the president of the University of Illinois, said Chicoine filled many roles during his time in Illinois, including student, professor and administrator, that prepared him for his new position as university president. Other college presidents who spoke include Joseph Chapman of North Dakota State University, James “Tim” Barry of Mount Marty College and Jim Abbott of the University of South Dakota.

Many members of Chicoine’s family and his wife Marcia’s family attended the inauguration. All seven of his brothers and sisters, all of whom are SDSU grads, and his father were scattered throughout the crowd with other relatives. His sister, Nicole Klein, an economics professor at SDSU, was one of the honorary parade marshals, and another sister, Marcia Quinn, sang “God Bless America” with the concert choir.

Chicoine has been serving as president since January, but the inauguration marks a formal beginning to his tenure at SDSU. Brookings Mayor Scott Munsterman has been working with Chicoine since the new president’s arrival and said he felt awkward saying welcome.

Robert “Tad” Perry, executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents, presided over the event, and Harvey Jewett, president of the Board of Regents, and Terry Baloun, vice president of the Board of Regents, conducted the investiture. An investiture is a tradition of colleges and universities, held during or at the completion of a new president’s first year. It was the point in the ceremony when the University Presidential Medallion was placed around Chicoine’s neck. The medallion is a 14k gold, three-inch replica of the SDSU seal.

After forgetting to invite Chicoine to join him at the lectern with former SDSU presidents Sherwood Berg and Peggy Gordon Miller, Jewett laughed and said “We don’t get to rehearse this too often. But it’s fun to do this-it’s rewarding to do this.”

Chicoine was the final speaker at his inauguration. He asked that the celebration be dedicated to South Dakota military members and spoke of what it meant to him to be chosen to serve as president of SDSU.

“Never in my wildest fantasies about what was to come did I fathom that service as president of my alma mater would be part of my professional journey when I left Elk Point to enroll as a freshman at South Dakota State,” said Chicoine.

He told the crowd about how during his sophomore year, he met his wife Marcia in an English Literature class held in Lincoln Music Hall, which was the campus library when they were students. He thanked family and dignitaries for making the trip to Brookings and thanked everyone who helped plan and put together the inauguration.

Chicoine then spoke about his plans for SDSU.

“The plan will create the tapestry that depicts a common future, a sense of common purpose and shared understanding; it will give focus to challenges, uncover opportunities, stimulate creativity and be a basis for communications and accountability; the plan will guide us to secure and adequate, balanced financial portfolio to achieve the high aspirations for South Dakota State.”

He said the plan will strengthen SDSU in the areas of undergraduate, graduate and professional education, will aggressively drive science and technology based economic development, will give direction for the emerging focus in humanities and social sciences, will leverage the school’s outreach programs and will build on potential successes in Division I athletics.

“Together we can make that which seems impossible, possible,” said Chicoine.

In the words of Rounds, “Welcome home, President Chicoine.”

#1.883317:1075527055.jpg:inauguration3_JN.jpg:A crowd of peers and academic representatives filled the seats at Sylvan Green on Saturday afternoon to see the official instatement of President David L. Chicoine. :#1.883316:3321963952.jpg:inauguration2_JD.jpg:President Chicoine shakes hands with Governor Rounds at Chicoine’s inauguration Sept. 15:John Dahmer#1.883315:560147419.jpg:chicoinemarching_JN.jpg:New SDSU president David L. Chicoine walks toward Collidge Sylvan Theatre during the faculty processional at his inauguraiton on Sept. 15.: