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A Family Tradition by Dinus Marshall Briggs

The honor of having a library named for my father is something that doesn’t happen to everyone. I smile when I think about my father being in the archives. When the library opened and my father retired from the presidency, there was no office for him. As a result, he was put in the small office off the conference room in the library which was designed to house the library archivist.

Libraries have always been a resource for me and my family. In graduate school at Iowa State University, I used the library for reference materials as I wrote my master’s and Ph.D. theses. Instead of checking out items, I would sit on the floor in the stacks to read the relevant materials. When we came to Brookings for the dedication of the library in December 1977, my daughters did their homework in the conference room outside Dad’s office in the Hilton M. Briggs Library.

My dad and I shared a common middle name – Marshall. Family ancestors trace back to John Marshall (1755-1835), the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. When tolling during the funeral solemnities of John Marshall on July 8, 1835, the historic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia cracked. My daughters were excited to read about this history in one of their favorite resources, the World Book Encyclopedia. It was fitting that Dad received the Liberty Bell Award for outstanding performance by a non-lawyer citizen. In addition, our daughters were proud to find the article on “Cattle” in the World Book authored by their grandfather, Hilton M. Briggs.

My dad and I shared an interest in the sciences and in administration as professions. Our hobbies included horses. Dad started Campus Stables for his registered American Saddlebred horses. Dad’s 1995 South Dakota Horseman of the Year Award saddle was on display in the Briggs Library. I have the last horse from Campus Stables – Campus Irish Fancy. The Campus horses have been ridden and driven competitively as well as for personal pleasure.

Other generations of the Briggs family have used the Hilton M. Briggs Library during their studies at SDSU: granddaughter Deborah Lynn Briggs from 1988 – 1992; great-granddaughter Allyson Lucht from 2012 – 2016, who also worked as a student assistant at the library; great-grandson Alex Renaas from 2013 – 2017; and great-granddaughter Brianna Renaas who has been enrolled since 2016.


Dinus M. Briggs '62 is an alumnus of South Dakota State University