Great things rarely happen without a true vision.
When university leadership made the bold move to Division I seven years ago, alumni were excited but a bit anxious. SDSU didn’t make the move because it was easy. Our leaders at the time surveyed the landscape and knew our future in athletics was in Division I. They predicted it would have a transformative effect on our entire university. Time has certainly proven them right.
Since 2004, teams have won conference championships and qualified for post-season play. The latest milestone occurred on March 6 when our women’s basketball team qualified for its fourth straight NCAA Tournament and our men’s basketball team became South Dakota’s first team ever in the men’s Division I tournament.
That was the vision university leaders had when the transition process began nearly a decade ago. They wanted to provide student-athletes the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level. With a lot of hard work and unwavering support from alumni and friends, that vision is being realized.
It was with that same bold spirit that the Foundation’s Council of Trustees voted unanimously to support the university with a six-year campaign. With nine months remaining, we are on track to exceed our $200 million goal, despite the economic struggles our nation faced throughout a good share of our campaign.
The centerpiece of It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University is the vision developed by President David L. Chicoine and other university leaders.
The campaign is built around a vision for greater investment in faculty, expanded scholarship opportunities for students, new and modernized buildings, and more resources for our athletic program.
I am pleased to co-chair this momentous campaign with Jerry Lohr ’58, owner of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and Daktronics co-founder Al Kurtenbach of Brookings.
With $180.1 million raised as of March 1, we have already witnessed the transformative change at our university because of an unprecedented infusion of private gifts. Already, this is the largest campaign by a higher-education institution in state history by more than $50 million.
While the university has provided the vision, the true stars of this campaign are the 20,400 different donors who have contributed. We want to share the stories of a few of those donors responsible for the success of It Starts with STATE.
Dana Dykhouse ’79