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Monday Message, April 2

SDSU Community –

Welcome back from a long holiday weekend and a Tuesday start to the week. I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing few days away from campus and was able to spend some time with family and friends. Temperatures look to be warming a little throughout the week, a clear sign that spring is here!

There are a couple of important and historic events happening on campus during the month of April. This Friday we will welcome to campus David Grann, author of the bestselling book "Killers of the Flower Moon." There will be many events taking place on Friday to include a public lecture at 7 p.m. in the Oscar Lason Performing Arts Center. I hope you will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Next week on April 10 we will hold our annual Campus Conversations in Woster Celebration Hall at 1 p.m. Campus Conversations is an opportunity for campus leadership to provide updates on the completion of the legislative session, budget and enrollment, the campus master plan, work on R1 Our Way and several other important items impacting our university. I hope everyone can join us for the event and hear the important updates impacting our campus.

April 25 will be a historic day on campus as the SDSU Foundation will hold a celebration event to reveal the fundraising total for Bold & Blue, the largest comprehensive campaign in South Dakota history.

The event will be at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center and include a live band, complimentary food and beverages, and a special performance by the SDSU Concert Choir and members of The Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band. Additional information, including how to RSVP, is located below. I hope to see everyone there!

Since we did not have a Monday Message last week, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our Jackrabbits wrestling team who finished 13th at the NCAA Championships, scoring a record 48.5 points at the event. The team had four wrestlers earn All-American honors with Tanner Jordan, Cade DeVos, Bennett Berg and Tanner Sloan all finishing in the top eight to earn the honor. It was a tremendous year for the wrestling team, and the future continues to be bright.

Finally, please make sure to review the commencement information below, especially for faculty planning to participate in the ceremonies. It is hard to believe that we are only five weeks from the end of another academic year and recognizing the next group of graduates who will go on to their professional careers as alums.

Please have a wonderful week.

Thank you for everything.

Go Jacks!


Barry H. Dunn, President

Graduation planning is underway for the Class of 2024 ceremonies that will be held May 4 at the Dacotah Bank Center, formerly the Swiftel Center. Faculty, please note the following deadlines:

RSVPFaculty planning to participate in the processional must RSVP by April 26. Seating is limited, and an RSVP must be completed for attendance.

Faculty wishing to attend graduation ceremonies but not participate in the processional will need a ticket for entrance. Further information regarding this process will be available later in the spring semester.

For further information regarding graduation, please visit sdstate.eduInformation for faculty will be updated on this page

The Professional Staff Advisory Council will host its annual meeting and awards May 7 at 2:30 p.m. in Woster Celebration Hall at the SDSU Alumni Center. 

The event will include an all-staff social with the program and awards beginning at 3 p.m. A Zoom link will be available for those who cannot attend in person.

The program will include updates from the council and the announcements of the Rising Star Award and the Presidential Award of Excellence.

The SDSU Foundation will host a celebration to reveal the final fundraising total of Bold & Blue, the largest comprehensive campaign in South Dakota history.

The April 25 event will be held at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center, starting at 6:30 p.m. The evening’s lineup will include a live band, complimentary food and beverages, and a special performance by members of the SDSU Concert Choir and The Pride of the Dakotas. More details will be shared in the upcoming weeks.

The entire yellow and blue community has helped the university to surpass the ambitious goal to raise $500 million and transform SDSU for generations to come. The celebration is a chance to recognize the indelible impact Jackrabbit Nation has made.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. Please RSVP online.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences will host an open house celebrating the newly remodeled Berg Agricultural Hall from 2:30-4:45 p.m. Friday.

The university community is invited to visit with faculty, staff and administrators on the first and second floors and enjoy refreshments in the new student lounge on the east end of the building.

The Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering will host its 2024 Engineering Expo April 23. The Engineering Expo will include senior design projects. The public is welcome to attend at the Raven Precision Agriculture Center from 9-10 a.m. and noon-2:30 p.m. with an awards ceremony to follow the afternoon session.

The Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering will host the National Summer Transportation Institute Summer Camp, June 2-8 and June 9-15. The camp will focus on transportation engineering, including planning, materials, transportation modes and other topics.

Participants must be entering grades 9-12 during the 2024-25 school year, have a cumulative GPA of 2.0, completed algebra and be interested in engineering, science or technology.

All selected students will receive scholarships to attend the camp. Scholarships will cover the cost of on-campus housing, food and workshops.

Application deadline is May 10.

The SDSU Mental Well-being Team has released the “State of Well-being” podcast. “State of Well-being” is a holistic well-being podcast to support the SDSU community as we strive to be a growing, high-performing and healthy university. This directly connects to Pathway to Premier 2030 and the university’s goals for employee and student success. Episodes will feature meaningful conversations with valuable insights, practical tips and helpful resources to improve health and well-being.

Podcast episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean and Spotify. New episodes will be released every two weeks.

The School of Performing Arts will host “James and the Giant Peach,” a stage adaptation of the child’s tale by Roald Dahl. 

“James and the Giant Peach” is told by James himself, along with the insect characters — Miss Spider, Old-Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird and Earthworm — about how they came to live in the giant peach stone in Central Park.

Performances will be held April 18-20 at 7:30 p.m. and April 21 at 2 p.m. in the Oscar Larson Theatre of the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available online.

The Graduate School will host its second annual Graduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Day, April 23.

The day will begin at 2 p.m. with a featured graduate student speaker, Manisha Guha, followed by the graduate student poster show at 3 p.m. and culminating with the Graduate School Recognition Event at 5 p.m. All events will take place in the Volstorff Ballroom at the University Student Union. Additional information is available on

The SDSU Alumni Association, along with Jackrabbit Central, will host a Jacks Gear Drive to benefit Jack’s Cupboard. Any donated, gently used Jacks gear can be dropped off through April 11 at either the SDSU Alumni Center or Jackrabbit Central during normal business hours. Jackrabbit Central will give anyone who donates an item to the drive a 15% off coupon to use during the week of #JacksGiveBack, April 21-27.

On April 15 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., the SDSU Alumni Association will hold a sale of all the donated items. All proceeds from the sale will go toward Jack’s Cupboard. Jack’s Cupboard combats food insecurity by ensuring students who struggle to purchase food are provided with this free resource supported by students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. It is available to all students with a student ID and a bag to collect food items.

For questions, please call the Alumni Office at 605-697-5198 or contact the office by email.

The SDSU Alumni Association will hold its seventh annual #JacksGiveBack the week of April 21-27. During the week, Jackrabbits are encouraged to volunteer in their community at a nonprofit, organize a food drive or cleanup project, make a monetary donation or find any project that has a positive impact. 

Volunteers are asked to share their #JacksGiveBack stories, photos and projects on social media by using the #JacksGiveBack or by emailing the SDSU Alumni Association.

To make sure photos can be shared:

  1. Set your post’s privacy settings to “public.”
  2. Tag the SDSU Alumni Association.
  3. Use #JacksGiveBack.

Additional information and how to register can be found on the SDSU Alumni Association website.

The South Dakota Alumni Association is seeking nominations for its Legends and Leaders recognitions. Information about the awards and how to nominate someone is available on the SDSU Alumni Association website.

Nominations are due May 1.

SDSU students, alumni and friends are invited to join the SDSU Alumni Association for Jumpstart Your Wellness Seminar. The seminar will be held April 11 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Woster Celebration Hall at the SDSU Alumni Center. Information about the speaker and how to register can be found on the SDSU Alumni Association website.

LeadState is a semester-long program for sophomore students that will take place during the fall 2024 semester. The program helps students identify and build on their leadership strengths, identify and lead with values, be a catalyst for social change, connect with campus and community leaders, and engage in community service. 

Faculty and staff from across campus coordinate the program. Each student who participates will work with a group of peers throughout the semester alongside professionals from the facilitation team, developing their leadership capacity while working on a shared service project. 

Any student who will be a second-year student during the 2024-2025 academic year is eligible for the program. Faculty and staff are encouraged to identify current first-year students (traditional students or nontraditional students) who they think would be benefit from this leadership development program. 

If you have students you would like to nominate for LeadState, please send each student’s name, student ID number and email address to Seth Daughters by April 4.

Additional information about LeadState can be found on

LeadState is a semester-long leadership development program designed for college sophomores. Students are nominated to participate by faculty and staff from across campus and can also self-nominate by sending an email to the LeadState account indicating their interest in the program. Around 50 students take part in LeadState each semester, and over 1,200 students have completed the program since its inaugural year in 2009.

The LeadState facilitation team is comprised of professional staff, faculty and administrators from across campus. Members organize leadership events, coordinate service opportunities, present leadership workshops and serve as leadership coaches who meet with students several times throughout the semester.

If you are interested in joining the LeadState team or would like additional information on one of SDSU’s signature leadership development programs, please contact Nathan BylanderAdditional information about LeadState can also be found online.

SDSU faculty and staff have access to Nature Masterclasses On-demand courses. The professional development courses are comprised of a range of topics including writing and publishing research papers, networking and collaboration, peer review, persuasive grant writing and data analysis.

The university has an institutional subscription to the on-demand courses through Jan. 30, 2025. This gives SDSU faculty and staff access to all available content on the platform (use SDSU single sign-on credentials). Visit the Division of Research’s Events and Training page for the list of courses and links to the platform.

Instructional Design Services will host its 2024 Summer eLearning Academy aimed to create, connect and support student success through online communities, fostering a positive and student success-centered eLearning environment. 

The central theme of the academy is to emphasize the importance of creating a strong sense of presence and community in the online learning environment. By fostering high engagement with course content, peers, success resources and tutors, we can support and enhance the online learning experience for our learners.

The academy will take place May 9-10 via Zoom and offer two sessions each day from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Participants need to register by May 3. Space is limited, and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional information about the academy is available on

The Division of Research and Economic Development is hosting a training series to highlight some of the key federal funding agencies for research, scholarship and creative activity during the spring semester. 

The informational sessions are to help faculty and staff learn more about the agencies and how to prepare for funding. Sessions started in February and run monthly into April. Dates, times and locations are available on

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility, the School of American and Global Studies, Briggs Library and the Office of International Affairs will host Don’t Look  Back – The Sharing of an Inspirational Story.

Author Achut Deng shares her journey of survival, resiliency and hope based on her personal journey as a refugee born in South Sudan and coming to America at age 16. 

Her recently published memoir "Don't Look Back" has captured her story. Deng’s talk will be held today from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Pheasant Crest Room (253) at the University Student Union.

The Community Building Workgroup of the Mental Well-being Team is hosting the first of two fireside chats for the semester

Lacy Knutson and Julia Walker will discuss anxiety and self-care, today from 1-2 p.m. in the Caldwell Hall lobby. They will discuss practical tools for managing anxiety, prioritizing self-care, offering flexibility while holding yourself accountable, and addressing distressing thoughts from an acceptance and commitment therapy perspective. 

This fireside chat is intended to be an extension of the anxiety episode of the “State of Well-being” podcast and provides the campus community the opportunity to engage in conversation on the topic. The event is open to students, faculty and staff.

The South Dakota State University Early Learning Center will host Artsy Thursday, April 11 from 4-5:30 p.m. Artsy Thursday will include hands-on activities for child, such as creating a center community mural, sidewalk chalk and a photo booth.

RSVP to Bright Horizons. Parents who have child at the center, or those families interested in learning more about the center are invited to attend.

The Monday Message appears weekly during the academic year and less frequently during the summer months and holiday breaks.

Information for the Monday Message, including nominations for Above and Beyond, can be submitted online through the submission form.