Ness School of Management and Economics to open at SDSU


Miranda M. Sampson


South Dakota State University’s proposal to create a school of management and economics was approved today by the South Dakota Board of Regents at its April meeting. The school will be known as the Ness School of Management and Economics and be located in historic Harding Hall.

The school is named after alums Larry ’69 and Diane ’71 Ness. Larry Ness served as president of First Dakota National Bank in Yankton. The couple were named the SDSU Foundation’s 2015 Philanthropic Family of the Year and received SDSU Presidential Medallions in 2016.

“Academically organizing as the Ness School of Management and Economics provides academic programs at SDSU new opportunities for innovative course instruction and a level of visibility needed to attract students interested in pursuing careers in business, management and finance,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “The school will provide a higher-level and efficient structure to support the academic work of both students and faculty, while providing a pathway into the university for industry leaders to work with faculty in the school and engage with students as we prepare them to enter their careers ready to meet the opportunities and challenges of a global economy.”

The school will be in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and led by Eluned Jones, the current department head for the Department of Economics. The school will include the following degrees:

  • Agricultural business (B.S.);
  • Agricultural and resource economics (B.S.);
  • Business economics (B.A. and B.S.);
  • Economics (B.A. and B.S.);
  • Entrepreneurial studies B.A. and B.S.); and
  • Economics (M.S.).

In addition, minors will be offered in accounting, agricultural business, agricultural marketing; banking and financial services; economics; entrepreneurial studies; human resource management; land valuation and rural real estate; management; and marketing.

“This move helps students understand the wide range of potential areas of study and professional career directions they can pursue through the Ness School of Management and Economics that they might not have understood in a department of economics,” said Lynn Sargeant, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “One of the things that is really exciting for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is that it highlights for students and parents and the community the critical role the college can play training future professionals. Many students in our college have multiple majors or a major with one or more minors and the Ness School of Management and Economics gives students a number of opportunities to develop skills that will help them in the workforce.”

The current Department of Economics has 700 undergraduate students and has two classrooms on the ground floor of Harding Hall, including the First Dakota National Bank e-Trading Lab, an experiential learning environment for classes in business finance, investments, agricultural finance, agricultural marketing, business and economics analytics courses as well as supporting the Student Managed Investment Fund and POET Commodity Trading Fund experiential activities.

Located on Campanile Avenue in the south-central part of campus, Harding Hall opened in 1954 as a men’s residence hall. It later became offices for the then-College of Engineering and was the office locations for electrical engineering professors Al Kurtenbach and Duane Sander, who later co-founded Daktronics. In August 2018, a renovation of the building was completed.

“The purpose-designed facilities in Harding Hall provide the school a world-class teaching and learning environment enhancing SDSU’s distinctive organization that integrates all the business disciplines, including agribusiness, and that provides greater transparency of our academic programs on campus and across South Dakota,” Jones said. “It is a motivating environment that allows our faculty to collaborate with each other and our students, while providing critical access for industry leaders to share in the teaching and learning, research and outreach that will take place. It is an exciting time to be at SDSU.”

The School of Management and Economics is now South Dakota State’s fourth school. The School of Design started in 2015, the School of Performing Arts in 2017 and the School of Communication and Journalism in 2018.