SDSU honors Powell family


The Arthur and Evelyn Powell family were awarded the Family of the Year on Feb. 25 during halftime of an SDSU men’s basketball game. The crowd gave the family a standing ovation to show their appreciation. 


The 37th annual Family of the Year award went to the family of Arthur and Evelyn Powell of Chamberlain. All four of their sons, Greg, Brad, Gary and Todd, followed a family tradition of attending SDSU since 1978.  

A loyal SDSU family is nominated for Family of the Year by the SDSU community or a family member. The Family of the Year is chosen by the Staters for State, a student group under the Alumni Association, based on criteria such as number of family members who attended SDSU, donations and support to the university. 

The Powell family has had 21 family members across two generations attend SDSU. More than 10 Powell grandchildren have attended SDSU, with more generations to come.

Evelyn strongly encouraged her sons to attend college, and it was a huge accomplishment to see her four sons graduate from SDSU, Brad, second-born son, said. 

“We all wanted to go into farming. She said, ‘You will all graduate from college so you have something to fall back on,’” Greg, first-born son, said. 

After growing up on a crop and livestock farm 21 miles south of Chamberlain, the main driving factor to attend SDSU is the university’s commitment to agricultural education, Brad said. 

At the Feb. 25 luncheon at McCrory Gardens, the family gathered together for a meal and to hear speakers on behalf of their family. 

The family gets together regularly, but it was an honor to get together on this day, Rebecca Powell, granddaughter, said. 

“This family is a great role-model for everyone who comes through the halls of this school,” said President Barry Dunn during the luncheon. “You can feel the love in this room.” 

The Powell family has been actively involved in the university through the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, intramural athletics and working as admissions ambassadors.

“SDSU holds a very special place in all of our family’s hearts,” Rebecca said. “There was no better university to fit our family.” 

The Staters receive nominations every year that stay in the running for three years, if they do not win Family of the Year. For instance, the Powell family’s nomination was received in Nov. 2014, according to Kayla Bessler, advisor for Staters for State.

“These families have given a lot of time, talent and treasure to the university,” said Bessler.