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Larson becomes first to hold Kemp endowment at SDSU

Christine Larson
Christine Larson

Christine Larson has been named as the inaugural holder of the Kemp Endowed Professorship in Honors Mathematics at South Dakota State University.

Larson, a professor, has been on the SDSU math faculty since 1992. She also becomes the first SDSU faculty member to hold an official appointment within the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College.

The endowed professorship was established by Daniel C. and Michele A. Kemp of Brookings to support a faculty member whose leadership will elevate teaching practices within the honors college and advance its mission to provide enriched experiences for motivated students.

Larson has been teaching the honors calculus sequence since 2018. She served two years as an honors faculty fellow providing leadership to faculty across the university on educational approaches. She mentors honors students within the classroom, on special projects and as they develop presentations for regional and national honors conferences.

“I am honored to be selected as the inaugural Kemp Professor in Honors Mathematics,” Larson said. “I was fortunate to have Dr. Kemp as an honors mentor, and I knew I had big shoes to fill when he retired. I took over his honors calculus classes.

“I look forward to working with all honors students as we continue to advance SDSU’s reputation as a leader in honors education.”

Rebecca Bott-Knutson, dean of Fishback Honors College, said Larson’s appointment “represents an important evolution in the development of the Fishback Honors College as most of the leading honors colleges in the nation have faculty lines within the college.” 

Sanjeev Kumar, dean of the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering, said, “This one-of-a-kind endowed faculty appointment is a perfect example of unique collaboration between the Lohr College of Engineering and Fishback Honors College. We sincerely appreciate the generous support provided by Daniel C. and Michele A. Kemp for this position.”


Dan and Michele Kemp

Dan Kemp taught higher education for 51 years, 42 at South Dakota State, before retiring after fall semester 2018. He taught the honors calculus sequence at SDSU for 25 years. A pioneer in honors education within mathematics, Kemp received the inaugural Award for Innovation in the Honors Classroom from the National Collegiate Honors Council in 2016.

Michele Kemp served as the administrative assistant for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for 29 years.

Bott-Knutson said, “Dan and Michele have long been beloved members of our honors family at SDSU. Dan’s approaches to honors education were inspiring. I took delight in watching him and his students present at a national conference, only to leave people hungry for more. The audience would quite literally get up from their seats and follow Dr. Kemp and his students out of the room to find a space where they could continue to seek their insights for hours.

“Dan and Michele’s gift will solidify South Dakota State University and the Fishback Honors College as the national leader in honors mathematics for years to come.” 


Ceremony set for Sept. 21

Larson as well as at least nine other new endowment holders will be recognized at the University Leadership Honors ceremony Sept. 21 at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

An endowed position is the highest academic award that a university can bestow on a faculty member or academic leader, with the fund lasting as long as the university exists. It serves as an honor to the named holder of the appointment and an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes it.

The endowments at SDSU range from $1 million to $5 million and generate an annual flow of revenue that can be used to support the endowment holders’ area of responsibility—from funding graduate students to research support, equipment and travel.