- March 2020 - SDSU launches dual credit scholarships, including one for low-income students
President Dunn announced two dual credit scholarships for high school juniors and seniors in South Dakota, including one for low-income students.
The Jackrabbit Access College Early Scholarship will be available to qualified high school juniors and seniors from low-income families. The Jackrabbit Journey Scholarship will provide financial assistance to all students who enroll at SDSU following high school after earning dual credits from SDSU.
“These scholarships represent the fundamental mission of South Dakota State University by providing access to the educational benefits of higher education for the citizens of South Dakota,” Dunn said during the announcement. “We want the young people in the state to have the opportunity to explore all options for postsecondary education. These scholarships will open more doors to participate in higher education. More importantly, getting these students to see early on in high school that they can be successful in college helps them make informed decisions about their exciting futures.”
- January 2020 - Trump signs Ag Appropriations Bill with appropriation for funding to support American Indian students
President Donald Trump signed the 2020 Agriculture Appropriations Bill with a historic provision that will provide full funding to support American Indian students seeking the benefits of higher education at land-grant universities, which include tribal colleges. The bill passed both the House and the Senate prior to Trump signing.
New Beginning for Tribal Students authorizes the USDA to match state funding for programs at land-grant colleges or universities that support American Indian students. The authorization is capped at $5 million per year and $500,000 per state.
“This is a milestone for American Indians throughout the United States as they look to the future and the opportunities afforded to attend, and graduate, from some of the best colleges and universities in the country,” Dunn said. “The Wokini Initiative’s initial pledge to develop and provide more sustainable financial resources for SDSU was a critical step to creating greater access to higher education for our native students, giving them a better chance to be successful."
- December 2019 - POET commits $2 million toward construction of the Raven Precision Agriculture Center
President Dunn and POET founder and CEO Jeff Broin announced a $2 million gift for the Raven Precision Agriculture Center at South Dakota State University.
The gift also includes SDSU and POET enhancing research partnerships through dedicated POET office space at the Research Park at South Dakota State University to help facilitate new, groundbreaking collaborations; and the two organizations partnering to develop academic programs in bioprocessing so SDSU graduates will have a robust understanding of how biofuels and agriculture can drive change across the globe.
SDSU continues to increase its commitment to precision agriculture, including being the only university to offer both a precision agriculture major and minor and the construction of the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center on campus will position Jackrabbits to lead the way in making positive change that impacts future generations across the globe.
- November 2019 – USDA’s NIFA Selects Dunn to Deliver 2019 William H. Hatch Memorial Lecture
Dunn was selected to deliver the 2019 William H. Hatch Memorial Lecture during the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
The lecture is one of three rotating lectures presented by NIFA and APLU, which honor three historic Land-Grant University figures: Justin Smith Morrill, William Henry Hatch and Seamen A. Knapp. The lecture commemorates the foresight of William Henry Hatch in leading the movement to establish national support for agricultural science at LGUs.
Dunn’s lecture, “Wokini—A Morrill Obligation to Create a New Beginning,” focused on his Wokini Initiative. The lecture provided a forum to challenge thinking about university research programs, especially in agriculture, and proposes opportunities and challenges for the future.
- November 2019 – SDSU Wins 2019 Bush Prize for Community Innovation
“The Bush Foundation’s investment in the Wokini Initiative will provide significant opportunities to our students, faculty and staff,” Dunn said. “Being recognized by a prominent organization like the Bush Foundation indicates the progress we are making with the Wokini Initiative.”
Bush Prize winners receive a package that includes promotional support and materials and an unrestricted grant equal to 25 percent of the organization’s prior fiscal year budget, up to $500,000. The Foundation received 81 applications for the 2019 Bush Prize. Three panels of community members chose the winners from their respective states.
The Bush Prize celebrates organizations that are extraordinary not only in what they do but in how they do it. This year’s winners demonstrate a pattern of working inclusively, in partnership with others, to make the region better for all. The Bush Prize, now in its seventh year, is awarded annually in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.
- November 2019 - 3M Foundation donates to the Wokini Initiative
3M Foundation and 3M Brookings committed $50,000 to South Dakota State University for the Wokini Initiative. The funds will be used to support five-year, $5,000 renewable scholarships to qualifying American Indian students.
Dale Tidemann, plant manager of 3M Brookings, presented a $50,000 check to SDSU President Barry Dunn in support of 3M’s commitment to helping underserved students succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Wokini Initiative at South Dakota State University is a collaborative and holistic framework to support American Indian student success and Indigenous Nation-building. Wokini, which means “a new beginning” in Lakota, started when Dunn took office in 2016. The funds will be used toward SDSU’s commitment of offering five-year, $5,000 renewable scholarships to qualifying American Indian students.
- October 2019 – Dunn Appointed to NCAA Presidential Forum
Dunn was appointed to the NCAA Presidential Forum for three years, representing The Summit League. The forum is comprised of presidents and chancellors from each of the 32 NCAA Division I conferences. Dunn's appointment continues through August 2022.
“Intercollegiate athletics play a critical role in not only higher education, but society overall," Dunn said. "It is important that as presidents of colleges and universities we continue our leadership at the NCAA level and provide the necessary oversight to bring together the importance of athletics and the mission of higher education."
The forum assists the NCAA Division I board of directors in accomplishing its strategic mission in the Division I governance structure and helps ensure that the NCAA core values involving presidential leadership of intercollegiate athletics at the campus, conference and national level is achieved.
- September 2019 – Ribbon Cutting held for South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory
The updated facility features a Biosafety Level 3 space to contain dangerous pathogens, offers greater security against bioterrorism as well as upgraded air, water and electrical systems. A drive-up window for dropping off samples was also added to provide clients with easy access to the lab and to enhance biosecurity.
ADRDL is the only veterinary diagnostic laboratory in the state accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. In addition, the laboratory is an integral member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, a network of diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. that help detect nationally significant animal diseases such as influenza, Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever and other foreign animal diseases. Expertise in detecting agents of food-borne illness is important in the ADRDL's role as a regional laboratory for the Food Emergency Response Network.
The laboratory also participates through the FDA Genome “Trakr” Program for detection of pathogens in food and the USDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation Response Network to help the center of Veterinary Medicine investigate potential problems with regulated products such as animal feeds and animal pharmaceuticals.
- June 2019 – SDSU Named No. 2 in Forbes’ Best-in-State Employees for 2019
South Dakota State University was named to the inaugural Forbes list of America’s Best-in-State Employers. South Dakota State University was ranked No. 2 in the state.
The ranking included companies that employ at least 500 people in their U.S. operations.
“This is a tremendous recognition for South Dakota State University, but more importantly it’s a reflection of the dedicated people who work here and are part of the Jackrabbit family,” said Dunn. “I’m honored to be president of this great university and have the opportunity to work with thousands of employees throughout the state who are dedicated to SDSU being a premier land-grant university.”
- May 2019 – Analysis shows SDSU Ranked Among Nation’s Best for Exceeding Graduation Rates
South Dakota State University was listed as one of the top-performing institutions in terms of exceeding expected six-year graduation rates, according to analysis of 368 colleges and universities done by The New York Times and the Urban Institute’s Center on Education Data and Policy. An article on the topic, The College Dropout Crisis, appeared in May 23 editions.
With incoming classes exceeding 2,000 full-time, first-year students, SDSU was ranked in the largest school category, which included public and private institutions. South Dakota State was expected to have a graduation rate of 69 percent but posted a rate of 74 percent. To create the expected graduation rates, student characteristics included various factors, including ACT or SAT scores.
The analysis compared colleges that enroll similar students, regardless of size and being a public or private status. The analysis counted students as graduates as long as they received a bachelor’s degree within six years of starting college, even if they ultimately graduated from a different college.
- April 2019 - SDSU announces new professional development series on American Indian history, culture and current issues
SDSU faculty and staff will develop a series of professional development opportunities to gain a broader understanding of American Indian history, culture and current issues. As part of the university’s Wokini Initiative, the professional development series will help foster a culturally responsive and supportive campus environment for American Indian students to support the goal of their increasing retention and graduation rates.
The Wokini Initiative’s strategic plan identifies professional development for faculty and staff as a means to increase American Indian enrollment. The training will focus on the areas of land and environment, identity and resiliency, culture and language, kinship and harmony, oral tradition and story, sovereignty and treaties and way of life and development.
The professional development opportunities are made possible by funding from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. The grant provides $1 million over three years.
- December 2018 – SDSU Impacts Farm Bill
Working with Congressional Leadership in Washington, D.C., and university leadership, Dunn helped spearhead two important items within the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. The areas include educational support for Native American students and provisions that will ensure research and extension funding for soil health.
“The provisions in the farm bill pertaining to support for Native American students and soil health are critical to our state, the region and even the world,” Dunn said. “The educational access for American Indian students in South Dakota will provide economic advancement in communities throughout the region, while research in soil health will benefit agriculture around the globe.”
- November 2018 – CHS Foundation Announces $1.5 Million Gift to Support SDSU Precision Agriculture Program
The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., committed a $1.5 million grant to support the South Dakota State University precision agriculture program and construction of the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center on campus.
“The CHS Foundation is committed to supporting projects that cultivate opportunity for students interested in the agriculture industry,” said Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation. “By supporting the precision ag program at SDSU, there will be more qualified graduates entering the agriculture industry.”
The gift aligns with CHS priorities around ensuring that educating the next generation of agricultural leadership includes technology and tradition. The CHS Foundation is focused on developing a new generation of agriculture leaders for lifelong success.
- October 2018 - Avera, SDSU Partner for Avera Wokini Scholarship Program
Avera Health and SDSU partnered on a scholarship program for undergraduate American Indian students at SDSU as part of the Wokini Initiative. Morgan Ducheneaux, a freshman nursing major and member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe was the inaugural recipient.
There was one $5,000 scholarship in 2018, building each year with two $5,000 scholarships in 2019, three in 2020, four in 2021, and five scholarships in 2022. Avera is investing $75,000 over five years. Wokini-supported students are given the resources and access to academic, personal, health and financial wellness knowledge needed to succeed at SDSU and in life after graduation.
Along with the scholarship, recipients also benefit from experiential learning, internship opportunities and a coordinated mentorship program. Through this mentor network, Avera Wokini scholars will be connected to an Avera Health leader for the purpose of gaining valuable guidance on career opportunities.
- October 2018 – SDSU breaks ground on Raven Precision Agriculture Cente
SDSU leadership held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $46.1 million Raven Precision Agriculture Center before hosting the inaugural Precision Agriculture Bowl football game against Indiana State. The building project is supported by South Dakota stakeholder groups and legislative leaders.
The facility will have 129,000 square feet of floor space that will be able to house modern precision farm equipment and will provide collaborative learning spaces for student design projects. Flexible space will be available to scientists from a variety of departments and industry can collaborate in research and education.
Classrooms and laboratories will foster innovation and collaboration across the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, as well as the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.
SDSU is the first land-grant university in the country to offer both a bachelor's degree and minor in precision agriculture.
- October 2018 – Dunn announced $4 million gift, SDSU breaks ground on new American Indian Student Center
In October 2017, Dunn announced a $4 million gift from a private donor to build a new American Indian Student Center on the SDSU campus. The following year, the project broke ground.
The new facility will be nearly 12,500 square feet and will provide office space, meeting rooms, multipurpose rooms, technology resources, student support space and academic support space. Its primary function would be dedicated to student support programming and services. The American Indian Student Center is committed to providing support to Native American students and its function involves nation building and work to encourage students to recognize and develop their voice and help prepare Native students to respond to the call to return home.
The AISC offers personalized support for prospective and current students that focuses on areas, such as retention advisement, advocacy, social, cultural and academic programming, organizational student leadership development, community and professional referrals, financial aid guidance, enrollment and registration assistance, peer mentoring and peer tutoring.
- July 2018 – University launches new strategic plan, Imagine 2023: Aspire. Discover. Achieve
SDSU launched Imagine 2023, the university's strategic plan that promotes its mission to offer a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world.
SDSU's vision is to be a premier land-grant university that is embedded in its core values of being people-centered, promoting creativity, operating with integrity, being committed to diversity and achieving excellence.
- January 2018 – Raven provides $5 million gift to Precision Agriculture Facility
Raven Industries and South Dakota State University announced a $5 million gift from Raven to support construction of a new Precision Agriculture Facility on the SDSU campus.
“This generous gift by Raven will help transform the state of South Dakota into a global leader within an expanding precision agriculture industry," Dunn said. “The proposed facility will enhance innovation and the development of educational programs that will deliver applications to enable data-driven decisions in precision farming, ranching and conservation. It will promote the type of collaboration between faculty, students and industry experts that will change agriculture and make our region and world a better place. Together, Raven and South Dakota State University are working to build a strong future and precision agriculture is that future.”
The gift was an investment in the current and future workforce of South Dakota. Raven and SDSU strongly believe the state will be well-served by this partnership. Bringing this exceptional facility to South Dakota will allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture education, research and extension. From state and economic benefits to the development of a highly trained workforce, South Dakota is well-positioned to benefit from precision agriculture technology and adoption.
- March 2017 – South Dakota Legislature approves bill to update Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory
The state’s only animal health laboratory was built in 1967 and additions were made in 1993. New upgrades and expansions were needed to meet today’s industry animal health, biosafety and environmental safety needs.
The upgrade was supported by several agricultural groups including the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Association of Cooperatives, South Dakota Dairy Producers, South Dakota Poultry Industries Association, South Dakota Conservation Districts, South Dakota Soybean Association, South Dakota Grain & Feed Association, South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association and South Dakota Auction Markets Association.
- September 2016 – Barry Dunn Inauguration as the 20th President of South Dakota State University
The South Dakota Board of Regents appointed Barry Dunn as South Dakota State University’s 20th president in April 2016, the fourth alumnus to hold the position. Dunn served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences prior to the appointment. He holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in animal science and a bachelor’s degree in biology, all from SDSU. In September 2016, Dunn was inaugurated.
"My vision builds on the foundation of the land-grant mission and belief that accessibility to the benefits of education supports a dynamic society," Dunn said in his inauguration speech. "To achieve that mission, we must continually renew our university to build an exciting future.
"My vision is that we have prepared ourselves and our university so that when all children are ready to build their future, SDSU is ready for them … with a dynamic, strong, exciting array of academic, athletic and artistic programs, in a safe, healthy and stimulating atmosphere, a place that builds opportunity and opens doors they can’t begin to dream of.
"I stand before you, pledging with every part of me that this place will be a place where—regardless of ethnicity, race, belief system or station in life—an imagination can be the foundation of a future, with the beacon on top of our campanile, lighting the way."