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SDSU launches $500 million comprehensive campaign

Largest campaign in state history will focus on people-centered initiatives, scholarships, faculty support
South Dakota State University announced today a goal to raise $500 million in its third comprehensive campaign in the school’s history.

Bold & Blue is the largest philanthropic fundraising initiative ever in South Dakota, with a target amount of nearly twice the funds raised.

“It’s a reflection of the trajectory of our university,” said Dana Dykhouse, chair of First PREMIER Bank and a campaign co-chair. “Our state and region’s economic future need SDSU to remain a dynamic and growing university. This historic investment in SDSU during this campaign will do that.”

Dykhouse said more than $340 million has been committed during the leadership phase, which began Jan. 1, 2017. The leadership phase is designed to test the interest of donors; it is common practice for a campaign to shift into the public phase once 60% to 70% of the goal is reached.

Bold & Blue is a people-centered campaign that focuses on investments in four over-arching areas: Our People, Our Places, Our Traditions and Our Innovations.

The largest portion of the campaign will focus on people: scholarships for students, endowments for faculty, and leadership and research positions to attract and retain top academic talent.

The campaign includes an investment on new and revitalized facilities. The largest and most-prominent facility in the places category is the renovation of SDSU’s nearly 50-year-old basketball arena. First Bank & Trust has made a $20 million naming gift to champion that project, which is estimated to cost $50 million.

The Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band, Hobo Day, Little International and Prairie Repertory Theatre are among the SDSU traditions targeted for current gifts and endowments to provide sustainable financial support.

The innovations align with the university’s premier land-grant status and continued growth of precision agriculture, bioprocessing and research in the development and delivery of drugs.

“Comprehensive campaigns are critical to the success of our university” SDSU President Barry H. Dunn said. “The generosity of our donors has helped differentiate our university for decades and Bold & Blue will continue that legacy. The campaign will strengthen all areas of our university and provide even more opportunities for the best and brightest to pursue their academic dreams and earn a degree from a premier land-grant university like SDSU.”
A heavy emphasis is on growing the amount of funding for scholarships and faculty support, particularly in the form of endowments that are invested and provide revenue for the university in perpetuity.

“This is a day that is essentially five years in the making,” said Rita Edwards, a 1981 graduate and current chair of the SDSU Foundation council of trustees. Edwards said the SDSU Foundation’s board had its first substantive discussion about the campaign in July 2016, only two months after Dunn was named SDSU’s 20th president.

SDSU’s first campaign, Visions for the Future, exceeded its $50 million goal by $2 million during a five-year campaign (1994-1998). The second campaign, It Starts With State, had a goal of $200 million. That campaign raised $255 million in just over six years.

Dykhouse is chairing the campaign with Kim Tyler, a 1982 graduate and a retired Kellogg Co. executive. Jerry Lohr, a 1958 alum and founder of J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, is the honorary chair. Lohr has served in a leadership role in all three of the university’s campaigns.

“Our university is premier—and will remain premier—because of the generosity of tens of thousands,” Dunn said. “The bold initiative we are announcing today will continue to transform this university and continue to shape the lives of students for generations to come.”

Keith and Cathy Rounds of Brookings serve as chairs of the Sylvan Circle, SDSU’s legacy society for estate planning. SDSU and the SDSU Foundation recruited 12 individuals and couples to serve on the campaign cabinet, and 14 businesses for the business and industry cabinet.

Campaign Cabinet

  • Brian and Denise Aamlid, Sioux Falls
  • Barb Fishback, Brookings
  • Kevin and Lorie Haarberg, Woodland, California
  • Mike and Jennifer Hart, Sioux Falls
  • Mylo and Lillian Hellickson, Brookings
  • Mike and Cindy Huether, Sioux Falls
  • Susan Lahr and Gordon Niva, Laguna Nigel, California
  • Sela and David Nagelhout, Harrisburg
  • Miranda and Eric Peterson, Brookings
  • Michael Relf, Durham, North Carolina
  • Dave and Laurie Schaefer, Rapid City
  • Greg and Janet Schmieding, Sioux Falls

Business and Industry Cabinet

  • Avera Health
  • Brookings Health System
  • Daktronics
  • Farm Credit Services of America
  • First Bank & Trust
  • First Dakota National Bank
  • First PREMIER Bank & PREMIER Bankcard
  • Hefty Seed Company
  • Henry Carlson Construction
  • Journey Construction
  • Larson Manufacturing
  • POET
  • Raven Industries
  • Sanford Health

Both the afternoon event, A Bold Announcement (, and the evening event, Forever Blue: Twilight at the Campanile ( are livestreamed. 
About the SDSU Foundation

The SDSU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that raises and administers funds to benefit SDSU.

Founded in 1946, the SDSU Foundation has secured more than $900 million in gifts and commitments for SDSU in those 75 years. That success includes It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University, which raised $255.7 million for students, faculty, facilities, athletics and other university programs from January 2007 to April 2013. The organization announced the university’s latest comprehensive campaign entitled Bold & Blue Oct. 21, 2021, which aims to raise $500 million to benefit the university. The SDSU Foundation holds more than $318 million in assets, including a $213 million endowment. It has 43 full-time employees and approximately 30 students on a part-time basis.