Text from Barry H. Dunn's announcement speech as the 20th President of South Dakota State University (April 25, 2016)
Good afternoon. I am humbled, honored and privileged to stand before you today, having been selected to serve as the next president of South Dakota State University.
Before I begin, I’d like to sincerely thank the Board of Regents, their staff and the search committee for their hard work and confidence in me.
I would also like to thank and express my love to my family. Through this process and my entire career, my wife Jane and our sons Thomas and Michael have given me unconditional love, support and motivation.
And I would like to thank all of you across campus and our beautiful state who have shown support and encouragement for my candidacy. It means more than you know.
Last but not least, I would like to thank all of the outstanding leaders who served this great university before me. President Chicoine, your amazing vision and countless accomplishments have been transformational. And President Emeritus Miller, you will always serve as a courageous and inspirational role model for me.
Like them and like all of you, I care deeply about this university.
I’ve personally witnessed and benefited from its multi-faceted, enriching work. I’ve also come to observe and understand its challenges and areas of opportunity.
In this, I’m not an outsider looking in, but an insider looking out. I’m looking out at my alma mater.
I’m looking out with the perspectives gained from leading an effective program at another prestigious university, and as a successful rancher in this state.
I’m looking out as a life-long learner, teacher, mentor, researcher and leader pushing for continuous growth, improvement and fulfillment.
I understand this university’s past. And I can see its rich potential.
To reach that potential, I will serve as your leader and lead by serving you – the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members nearby and across our entire state. It is my strong belief and understanding that we all have a vested interest, and an important voice, in shaping the future of this university.
We will start, as one should at a time of transition, by re-committing ourselves to our original mission.
As a historic part of our nation’s land grant system, our university stands as a beacon of opportunity for all. Grounded in our nation’s democratic principles of equality, it commits us to provide access to higher education, to champion and create knowledge and understanding, and to continuously expand the university’s reach and opportunities.
Standing on that historic foundation, we will commit ourselves to address the critical issues of our time. They include sustainable economic growth and prosperity, agricultural productivity and food production, population health, the stewardship of our natural resources, and healthy communities. They also include the enhancement of the arts and humanities, which hold a critical role in shaping and enriching all of our lives.
Of course meeting those challenges will be the outcome of a strong, healthy university. Strong strategically, organizationally, fiscally and operationally. Healthy in terms of student and employee success, faculty excellence, high morale and abundant productivity. Healthy in terms of vibrant internal partnerships between academic and student affairs, and between both of them and our strong Division I athletic department. Healthy because of synergistic partnerships between SDSU and the wonderful community of Brookings, and with industry across the health, business, technology, education, and agricultural sectors of our state and nation.
As we move forward together, our university will continue to be fully committed to continuous improvement in academic and scholarly excellence. We will work diligently to distinguish ourselves and strive to set the standard in this highly competitive world of higher education. I am also committed to working collaboratively with our sister universities in South Dakota for the benefit of our entire state.
As president, I promise to lead with genuine care, integrity and intelligence. I will build a strong leadership team and with a commitment to shared governance, together we will face and solve the challenges that inevitably will come our way. And I am committed to taking decisive action and driving powerful results.
In closing, being president of South Dakota State is indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity that I absolutely appreciate. For me, it is also deeply personal. Standing here today, I proudly and happily represent and embody the incredible and limitless opportunities this university provides to those who seek them. And, as your president, I am eager and honored to support others in their unique pursuits to discover, to serve and to achieve.
Thank you again for this honor. I look forward to serving as your next president of South Dakota State University.