New President – SDSU alumnus David Chicoine chosen

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

When David and Marcia Chicoine left SDSU in 1971, they never dreamt they would come back. But in January, the Illinois residents will move back to Brookings and into Woodbine Cottage to serve as SDSU’s first family.

The South Dakota Board of Regents announced Monday that Chicoine, currently the vice president for technology and economic development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will become SDSU’s 19th president on Jan. 1, 2007. A native of Elk Point, he graduated from SDSU with an agribusiness degree in 1969.

“We are really, really quite excited to return to South Dakota,” Chicoine said. “It is just a terrific honor to be selected as the 19th president. There are not very many people that have the opportunity to return as president to their alma mater.”

He will replace Peggy Miller, who came to SDSU in 1998 and will retire at the end of the year.

His presidency announcement came a little more than a week after he and three other candidates met with different constituent groups on the SDSU campus.

Regent Terry Baloun, chair of the presidential search committee, said the BOR was extremely impressed with his land grant, research and Division-I experience.

“Not everybody has most of the skill sets … that was the thing that Dr. Chicoine had that gave him the competitive edge,” he said.

Baloun said Chicoine’s familiarity of the university and state was a plus, but not the deciding factor.

“To me, that is secondary. They have to have the skill set first,” he said.

Students’ Association President Alex Halbach, a student representative on the search committee, said one of the things students who visited with Chicoine during the on-campus interview liked most was his SDSU background.

“From a student perspective, it is good to have someone who has been here before,” he said.

Miller’s grandmother figure will be a tough act to follow, Halbach said, but he believes Chicoine will eventually fall into a role that is student-oriented.

“With his experience and knowledge of higher education, the transition will be very clean,” he said. “He won’t be able to fit into President Miller’s style but I think his demeanor will be great.”

Senior Jordan Day agrees.

“It will be nice to have an alumni president,” he said. “But he does have some big shoes to fill.”

Chicoine said he is looking forward to working with staff and faculty, alumni, the SDSU Foundation, donors and community leaders, among others. He will also work to continue Miller’s tradition of being a student-oriented president.

“(Students are) the one thing in my current position I miss a lot,” he said.

Although he doesn’t officially take office until January, he will soon begin paving the way to his presidency.

“My first goal has got to be getting to know people,” he said.

In addition to his agribusiness degree from SDSU, Chicoine holds master’s degrees in economics from Western Illinois University and in agricultural economics from the University of Delaware. His Ph.D. in agricultural economics is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

#1.884272:2294196193.jpg:presannounce02.jpg:Bob Miller, President Peggy Miller’s husband, gives her a hug at Monday’s presidential announcement press conference.:#1.883923:134107713.jpg:presannounce04.jpg:Incoming president David Chicoine accepts his new job Sept. 25.: