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Ben Reifel Hall

Hall Features

  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Wireless Internet
  • 24-Hour Visitation
  • Laundry room on every floor
  • Living room/lounge areas on every wing
  • Fireplace in each lounge area
  • Flatscreen TV with cable in each lounge
  • Recreational items available for checkout
  • Kitchens on every floor
  • Cooking supplies
  • Basement Recreation Area
    • Leather sectional couch
    • Flatscreen TV with cable
    • Pool Table

History:

The building is named after Ben Reifel, who was the first American Indian to serve in Congress. He represented the first district from 1961 to 1971. Reifel first came to South Dakota State College School of Agriculture. He was active in student affairs and was elected president of the Students' Association. In 1932 he earned degrees in Chemistry and Dairy Science. 

During World War II, Reifel served in the U.S. Army and was discharged at the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1949 he obtained a master's degree and in 1952 and Ph.D in public administration from Harvard University. In 1954 he was the first Native American superintendent of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 

While in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1960, Reifel sat on the Agriculture and Appropriations committees. He was an advocate for better schools and health-care facilities on Indian reservations. 

After five terms, Reifel retired from Congress and was involved with the South Dakota Art Museum board for several years. South Dakota State awarded Reifel with an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 1971.