Meet the president of SDSU, Dr. Peggy Miller

Toby Uecker

Toby Uecker

Five years into her tenure with South Dakota State University, President Peggy Miller is still excited about each incoming class, especially as those classes look to increase the enrollment at South Dakota’s largest institution above its already record levels.

The University’s 18th president, Miller came to SDSU January 1, 1998, after working for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C.

Her work in South Dakota is the latest in a history of higher education administration that goes back 20 years through jobs at Indiana University Northwest and the University of Akron.

In each new year she works, however, Miller said she finds the prospect of a new group of students attending the university inspiring.

She said, “In every new class there is exciting possibility because never before has this combination of minds and of people been together.

“Perhaps in these possible new combinations of ideas and experiences, there are those that will stimulate each other to discover answers to old problems, cures for diseases, great new inventions. … That is very exciting!”

Particularly exciting for SDSU, she said, is the fact that so many new students are coming here.

Already at record enrollment levels in the fall of 2002, the university has the possibility of topping its 9,952-student enrollment as the 2003-2004 school year begins. More students, Miller said, can bring a lot more than enrollment numbers to the university. They can bring new concepts and thoughts.

“The benefits are that there are more students to bring ideas and experiences into the mix that is available to all of us,” she said.

Miller does recognize some challenges the university must face in this period of growth, however.

She said most of these are just administrative in nature. Things like being sure there are enough sections of popular classes and lines at the cafeteria are not too long can be overcome in the effort to make the educational experience more positive for more students.

With her experience in higher education and her desire to help the record number of students succeed at SDSU, Miller said her advice to students is to listen, ask questions and take help when it is offered and needed.

She added that her administration will be available to offer that help to the best of it’s ability.

To the incoming students in particular, she said, “The university and I are committed to helping you be all that you can be.

“We are approachable and sincere in our hope that you will achieve your best hopes. Both the university and I will hope to stretch you to reach your highest potential.”