135 years of Collegian History



Freshman nursing major, Soo Young Jeong, junior business economic major Abhinay Kumar Das and sophomore fashion merchandising major, Komal Daund sit in the Student Union enjoying the latest issue of The Collegian.

Kendal Schreir, Reporter

Since 1885, The Collegian has been an integral part of life at South Dakota State University.

Their first article in what was called The College Sheeves was a salutatory to the Dakota Territory and Dakota Agricultural College, now known as South Dakota State University.

The College Sheaves introduced the newspaper and its mission going forward with the new college: “The people of Dakota have favored us by establishing the Dakota Agricultural College for our benefit, we feel it our duty to do all in our power to help build it up and make it one of the leading colleges of the Northwest — consequently this paper.”

Only 52 students were enrolled at the time.

Much has changed in 135 years, from enrollment numbers to the name of the publication, but The Collegian has always had a purpose: to inform the Brookings and campus communities about current events not only on campus but also across the state, country and world.

The Collegian has been at the front lines of issues concerning SDSU since its conception. In 1931, Regent Guy Harvey proposed to consolidate SDSU’s pharmacy program with the University of South Dakota’s in Vermillion. It was obvious that SDSU was being used, and The Collegian weighed in on the issue.

“Whether the proposal will be considered seriously remains to be seen, but it is obvious that State college gets the knife in the back out of the deal, and would lose 400 students,” the 1931 article reads.

The Collegian has also kept a complete record of the important stories surrounding campus and its students. Every article has been saved from the very first paper, including the “Engineering Crisis” story from 1971.

Although advised in secret, it was suggested that the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology should absorb the engineering program at SDSU. The prompt was luckily dissolved as it would have been detrimental to the university.

Important stories like these rely on having a free press, which The Collegian has never had to worry about.

The Collegian is independent of the university, meaning there is no interference about what content is reported.

This opportunity has given reporters real work experience and the communication skills to be successful within the field of journalism.

“I came to SDSU knowing I wanted to write for the newspaper,” said Marcus Traxler, an alumnus of  The Collegian and current assistant editor at the Daily Republic in Mitchell. “I learned page design, prioritizing stories, having higher expectations, becoming a clearer writer and writing strong headlines. All those skills translate to the real world. If you can speak clearly, write, it carries into just about anything, even cooking.”

For Traxler, The Collegian was perfect for training and capturing the important history of SDSU. He even covered the SDSU men’s basketball team going to the NCAA tournament for the first time.

Since working for The Collegian, Traxler has also been contacted by publications like the New York Times to write basketball coverage.

The Collegian has received several awards throughout the 135-year tenure, including the National Pacemaker Award, the highest award in student media. They were also given the First Amendment Eagle Award for their valiant efforts to protect the freedom of the press and public knowledge.

The Collegian has been an important part of the history of SDSU, according to Sherry Bordewyk, the previous student media advisor and current director of career and development.

“When you go back and think of 135 years of history recorded, that is priceless,” Bordewyk said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a historian or have a casual interest, but all of that is available.”

Since there is no longer a yearbook at SDSU, The Collegian encapsulates the history of the university dating back only years after its foundation, a tradition Bordewyk never wants to disappear.

“The Collegian is mirroring the current culture of the university and students and as it changes, it is also reflected in these stories we tell,” Bordewyk said. “There is a great weight on [The Collegian’s] shoulders.”

With 135 years of reporting in the books, here’s to another 135 years of telling Jackrabbits’ stories.