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Department's History

Geography was one of the initial chairs established when South Dakota State University was founded in 1881. Geography courses were offered from time to time over the years, but no major development culminating in a formal program occurred until the 1966-1967 academic year.

In 1967, Edward P. Hogan joined the SDSU faculty. The geography major was established in 1967 and in 1968 a Department of History and Geography was formed. On July 1, 1973, a separate Department of Geography was established with professor Hogan as its head. A year later, in July of 1974, the South Dakota Board of Regents approved the offering of the Master of Science degree in geography. The B.S. in geographic information sciences was approved in 2001.

The Department of Geography is housed in Wecota Hall. Seven faculty members in residence and several adjunct appointees provide a broad range of training, interests, and instruction.

On March 2, 1970, 22 individuals chartered the Delta Zeta Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, The International Geography Honorary Society, at SDSU. The chapter continues to be one of the most active in the country as is evidenced by its by students and faculty members of the 52nd Annual South Dakota State Geography Convention, conducted in March 2021. The first convention was held in the spring of 1970. The convention has grown to become an event in which dozens of geographers, from many states and institutions and hundreds of SDSU students and townspeople enjoy professional communion.