David L. Chicoine became the 19th president of South Dakota State University in January 2007, the third alumnus to serve as the university’s chief executive.
Accomplishments during Chicoine’s tenure as president included strategic planning, strengthening academic programs, developing new degree programs, growth in research capabilities and expenditures, transformation of the main campus in Brookings, notable success in NCAA Division I athletics, and completion of the largest fund-raising campaign for education in South Dakota history.
Atop the list of Chicoine’s accomplishments as president was IMPACT 2018, the university strategic plan. A key indicator of the plan was the number of nationally accredited programs, targeted to reach 42 by the conclusion of plan. Included were 20 programs seeking first-time accreditation.
South Dakota State also enjoyed tremendous growth in research activity under Chicoine’s leadership. Total research expenditures increased by about $30 million annually and intellectual property disclosures grew from less than 10 in 2007 to an average of 46 during a five year period from 2011 to 2016.
With university leadership, Chicoine spearheaded the development of a residential life and dining services master plan, an athletic facilities master plan, and the 2025 Design and Master Plan that resulted in seven new residence halls, allowing for expansion of living-learning communities across campus. A new Architecture, Mathematics and Engineering Building, the Avera Health and Science Center, Daktronics Engineering Hall, Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex, a comprehensive classroom enhancement project, and improvements to the Alfred Dairy Science Hall and Davis Dairy Plant mark some of the physical transformation under Chicoine’s tenure. In addition, the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium opened for the 2016 football season. Altogether, more than $400 million in capital projects were implemented during his time as president.
Chicoine was a champion in the record-setting $255 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, “It Starts with State:A Campaign for South Dakota State University.” The campaign eclipsed its $200 million goal, raising money to strengthen student opportunities, faculty, athletics, 15 new capital projects, and other university programs.
Prior to his appointment as president, Chicoine served the University of Illinois for more than 30 years, first as a professor of agricultural economics and on the Institute of Government and Public Affairs faculty, then a department head (1988-1995) and dean (1995-2001), and finally as vice president for technology and economic development (2001-2007).
As vice president, he was a senior university officer and the advisor to the university’s president and Trustees on technology commercialization and economic development. He oversaw the university’s technology commercialization licensing offices, IllinoisVENTURES, LLC, the university’s early-stage capital start-up services company, and the University of Illinois Research Park, LLC, a company that develops and manages research park and incubation facilities.
Chicoine continued to serve on the Board of Directors of Growth Partnership, Ltd., the public-private partnership developing the Research Park at South Dakota State University and on the Board of Managers of South Dakota Innovation Partners, LLC, a company that provides pre-seed/seed capital and business development services to launch research-derived, technology-based start-ups after leaving the Office of the President at SDSU. He was also an independent director on the Monsanto Company board, an external director on the First Bank and Trust board, and a trustee on the Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center board.
Chicoine served on several other boards prior to SDSU, including the John Warner Bank, the Carle Foundation Hospital, Farm Foundation, DuPage International Technology Park, the Illinois Technology Development Fund, and Argonne National Laboratory. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Chevalier of the French National Order of Merit from the government of France, the USDA Superior Service Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the SDSU Department of Economics.
A policy economist in state and local public finance and regional economics, Chicoine contributed as a co-author or co-editor on four books and published more than 100 academic journal articles, book chapters and professional papers.
He served a four-year term on the NCAA Presidential Advisory Group, a collection of 20 college and university chief executives who report to the NCAA Board of Directors. He spent 11 years as faculty athletics representative at the University of Illinois, and he chaired the Big Ten Conference’s Budget and Finance Committee for nine of those 11 years.
A native of Elk Point, S.D., he completed B.S., M.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, respectively, from South Dakota State University, the University of Delaware, Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His wife, Marcia, originally from Volga, S.D., graduated from South Dakota State University and of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with B.S. and M.Ed. degrees, respectively. Their son, Josh, his wife and family are residents of Chicago.