Skip to main content

Purple Heart Campus

South Dakota State University became the nation's ninth Purple Heart Campus, recognized in a dedication ceremony. Kenneth Teunissen, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter No. 5355, read a resolution declaring SDState as the state's first Purple Heart Campus.

purple heart sign
Purple heart sign SDSU

The Purple Heart is frequently described as the military's oldest medal. Gen. George Washington created it in 1782 to recognize meritorious service. In 1932, to mark the bicentennial of Washington's birth, Gen. Douglas MacArthur spearheaded an effort to revive the medal. It was designed to commemorate bravery, but also recognized soldiers with wounds. Later, during World War II, the medal was changed into a recognition of combat injuries and deaths. Over time, the military has further modified the award, adding different types of injuries and different types of combat. For instance, soldiers wounded in acts of terrorism now qualify for the Purple Heart, as do soldiers injured in friendly fire.

Today, the military has awarded an estimated 1.7 million Purple Hearts to soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. In general, the wound must have occurred during hostilities and it must have required treatment that was documented by a medical officer.