In 1968, a mock Democratic Party political convention at SDSU had an impressive roster of candidates: Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. The event was organized by a political science major destined for a notable political career of his own: Tom Daschle.
Graduating in 1969, Daschle spent three years as a Naval intelligence officer before joining the staff of Sen. James Abourezk. In 1978 Daschle was elected to the House and in 1986 he won election to the Senate.
His Senate career was marked by a steady rise up the leadership ladder. The last decade of his service as a Senate Democratic leader was as historic as it was chaotic with a presidential impeachment, terrorist attacks and poisonous anthrax directed at Daschle personally.
His political opponents used Daschle’s leadership roles against him in 2004, claiming he had lost touch with South Dakota. Interviewed by the New York Times shortly after the election, Daschle remained steadfast: “I had to do it, and I’d do it all over again. I think the fact that I was a Democratic leader was good for South Dakota in
so many ways.”
His tenure was also good for SDSU with the opening in November 2010 of the Senator Thomas A. Daschle Congressional Research Study.
Housed in Briggs Library, the collection of documentation from Daschle’s congressional career spans 2,000 linear feet with everything from correspondence to campaign paraphernalia to notes about constituent concerns that Daschle scribbled in his car during his annual summer driving tour of all the counties in South Dakota.
Myrna (McCollam) Williamson
Myrna Williamson, a 1960 South Dakota State graduate, was in fifth grade, when she went into the Gregory post office and saw a brochure advertising the military as a way to travel, do interesting jobs and meet a lot of people. “I said, 'I’m going to join the military.'”
Williamson, who now lives in Springfield, VA, took her first airplane trip in September 1960, going from Sioux Falls to Fort McClellan, AL, for basic training. It was the start of a 28-year military career.
By the time she retired in 1989, Williamson was the longest serving female brigadier general.
In 1960, Williamson entered the Women’s Army Corps, a separate entity of the U.S. Army. Her final position was deputy director of military personnel management at the Pentagon.
While Williamson was at the Pentagon, she represented the U.S. on the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces in meetings at The Hague, Netherlands.
In July 2012, the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and the South Dakota Soybean Association presented Jim Woster with the Excellence in Agriculture award at a recognition banquet in Sioux Falls.
It was a fitting tribute since the award honors an individual who is dedicated to South Dakota agriculture and exemplifies passion and leadership to the industry.
In addition to that honor, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association presented Woster with the MVP in Agriculture award at the association’s 25thannual meeting in January 2011 in Sioux Falls.
“Jim is an outstanding advocate for agriculture,” said Gary Duffy, president of the corn growers association. “He always has a positive message and he delivers it with a sense of humor. Wherever he goes, people know him. He’s one of South Dakota most-recognizable personalities.”
Woster, a Lyman County native, grew up on a cattle/grain farm north of Reliance. He graduated in 1962 with a degree in animal science and later did post-graduate work in ruminant nutrition at SDSU.
For 42 years, Woster was employed at the Sioux Falls Stockyards, first as a cattle buyer for Greenlee Packing Company/Spencer Foods and then as a reporter of the daily livestock prices on radio and television for 13 years. During the last 20 years he has been co-owner of Olsen-Frankman Livestock.
Woster, who has served as master of ceremonies and storyteller at numerous events, currently does public relations work for the SDSU Foundation as well as Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. He writes a column for the Tri-State Neighbor and serves on the board of directors for the South Dakota Hall of Fame.