SDSU alumnus first striked for, now donates money


Heather Mangen

Dana Dykhouse speaks about his Alma Mater with utmost respect.

His voice is filled with enthusiasm and devotion when he speaks of being an SDSU student and an alumnus.

Dykhouse, class of 1979, is one of many alumni who has given back to SDSU.

In fact, his contributions are now being recognized. He is being honored with the Distinguished Alumni award for his service to SDSU, because he makes it possible for many students to attend school.

Dykhouse is one of the founding fathers of the Jackrabbit Guarantee Scholarship program. The scholarship promises any student who scores a 24 on the ACT and keeps a GPA of 2.5 throughout college a $1,000 scholarship each year for four years.

Dykhouse and his wife personally sponsor several Jackrabbit Guarantee students.

The Guarantee is not the only way he supports students with tuition.

Dykhouse, along with the Sioux Empire Staters Club, organizes a golf tournament each year that earns money for scholarships. The club, which Dykhouse is actively a part of, is a group of alumni and friends that meet each week. At their meeting, a representative from the university attends to inform them on events at SDSU.

Dykhouse came to SDSU on a football scholarship. He felt very fortunate because his bill was always marked with a PAID stamp. Someone he never knew gave him the money, he wanted to do the same.

As part of a work-study program, Dykhouse and some of his teammates were required to clean up the stadium the day after a game.

“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “We were heroes one day and sweeping the next.”

Dykhouse was the first of his family to attend college and earn a degree. He started out as a chemistry/biology major but switched to agriculture business.

One thing that Dykhouse really enjoyed about SDSU was the personalized attention from the faculty.

“(The best part of SDSU) is the caring nature of faculty, not only during school but they often took interest in my career,” he said.

However, Dykhouse said the best part of college, in general, was whom he met. He made long-lasting friendships and built contacts while he was in school. He also met his wife at SDSU.

One of Dykhouses’s favorite stories of college was when he ended up on the front page of the Collegian. The students went on strike because they felt not enough money was being contributed to their behalf.

A few days later his mother called wanting to know why he was on strike. His face had appeared on the front page of the college newspaper in accordance with the strike.

“Other than football, that was the only time I had been pictured in the Collegian as a striking student,” he said with a chuckle.

Being an alumnus is much easier, said Dykhouse, who is currently the president and CEO of First Premier Bank in Sioux Falls.

“All of the pressure of getting good grades is off and you can go back to campus and enjoy yourself,” he said.

Being selected as a Distinguished Alumni is an honor and a humbling experience said Dykhouse.

“My mentors are distinguished alumni, and it’s humbling to be included in the list,” he said.