Coming Home SdState college of arts, humanities and social sciences

Message from the Dean

Lynn Sargeant, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
"2022-23 was a fantastic year for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the new academic year is shaping up to be just as strong. Last fall, we all celebrated as the Pride of the Dakotas took to the streets of New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This fall we are celebrating the reimagination and renovation of Lincoln Hall as the new home for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and for the School of American and Global Studies. We will be offering tours both during the official grand opening celebration on September 12 and 13, and on Hobo Day, Saturday, October 14. We invite you to come visit and see the transformation for yourself – Welcome Home!"
Dick (left) and Karen McComish (right)

SDSU alums create McComish fellowships for electrical engineering, sociology and rural studies

A gift from two South Dakota State University alumni has created new fellowships in electrical engineering and in sociology and rural studies at SDSU. A total of four students will be awarded fellowships annually.

Two electrical engineering doctoral students were selected for the yearlong Richard McComish Fellowship in Energy Infrastructure. Two undergraduate students—one per semester—were selected for the Karen McComish Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Sociology and Rural Studies.

Karen McComish (’75 sociology) and her husband, Dick (’75 electrical engineering), have given back to SDSU for over three decades. While the two were acquainted growing up in their early school years in Estelline, South Dakota, the couple credits State for bringing them together.

With their SDSU education, the couple joined forces and built their own company, Electrical Consultants Inc., which started in a small office in Billings, Montana, and grew to encompass over 830 professional engineers, surveyors and technical staff across the country.

In the McComishes’ latest gift to SDSU, the couple continue their investment in the next generation of Jackrabbits while honoring the experience they feel provided them opportunities that have shaped their lives personally and professionally.

Karen’s fellowship aims to encourage and support undergraduate research for those working with faculty in sociology and rural studies. Through this philanthropy, Karen honors the research opportunities she enjoyed under Robert Wagner and Robert Dimit as an undergraduate in sociology.

“At the time, we were doing research with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. We were interviewing residents on their opinions on hunting mourning doves and also on cloud seeding. It was interesting work, and I gained skills through my experience,” Karen said.

The gift creating the fellowship for Ph.D. students in power systems infrastructure is given in recognition of the support and education Dick received as an undergrad at SDSU and honoring his leadership in making ECI such a success.

“South Dakota State has always been a leader in engineering education, and their increased focus in research is vital to our industry. I see my giving as a solid investment in the future. Investing in people and research for our critical infrastructure is a way I can give back and serve the greater good,” Dick said.

Sociology and rural studies

The fall recipient of the undergraduate fellowship was Benjamin Peters, a Sioux Falls native and Lincoln High School graduate majoring in criminology and sociology with a minor in psychology. He’s partnering with associate professor of sociology Abdallah Badahdah on research focusing on barriers for health care workers seeking mental health care.

Peters said he was honored and excited to become more involved with the university and do some work on an important topic.

“So far, I have gained a lot of experience with research and literature review, which has helped a lot in all my classes. It has also helped me to feel more involved with my studies and the university,” he said. Peters presented at the Midwest Sociological Society annual meeting in Minneapolis in March.

“We are very grateful for the Karen McComish Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Sociology and Rural Studies, which provides our students the opportunity to engage in significant research experiences mentored by our highly talented faculty members,” said Paul Markel, director of the School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies.

The fellowship also aims to draw more students into the sociology and rural studies areas. “It opened my eyes when I got to work in the sociology department, and I was doing more than just clerical help. It makes you feel like you’re out in the real world,” Karen said.

“Giving back is really important to both of us. We have been very fortunate in our careers, and the cost of higher education is far more than it was when we were going to school. It’s important for us to give back in any way that enables students to have a greater education,” she added.

Ness School of Management and Economics forms inaugural advisory board

The Ness School of Management and Economics (NSME) formed an inagural advisory board. The advisory board “guides NSME on matters of strategic planning and execution, evaluates outcomes associated with the school’s strategic goals, informs the school’s processes of continuous improvement, including those processes associated with the school’s attainment and maintenance of accreditation, and advocates for and supports the school’s strategic plan.”

The plan for the advisory board began this past summer following an internal review by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

“Delivering exceptional outcomes requires the Ness School of Management and Economics to engage its stakeholders, in part via an advisory board,” explained Joe Santos, director of the Ness School of Management and Economics.

There are nine members on the board, including two non-voting, ex-officio members that include Lynn Sargeant, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Joe Santos. Other members include:

  • Sheila Anderson, Chief Financial Officer, Daktronics, Brookings, SD
  • Jacob Chacko, Dean, College of Business, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA
  • Bill Even, Chief Executive Officer, National Pork Board, Des Moines, IA (formerly, SD Secretary of Ag)
  • Ron Feldman, Executive Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN
  • Kira Kimball, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Marsh McLennan Agency, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Amber Langner, Vice President, Treasury, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Dave Rozenboom, President, First PREMIER Bank, Sioux Falls, SD

According to Santos, board members represent “principal sectors of our region’s economy—academia, agriculture, banking, healthcare and manufacturing—as well as public-policy and social responsibility spaces.” Members are eligible for up to two consecutive three-year terms. Meetings occur at least twice annually, allowing students and faculty the opportunity to interact with the board members.

School of Design redesigns historic, abandoned train depot in Joplin, Missouri

What should be done about old, abandoned and decaying buildings? That's the question faculty members and students in South Dakota State University's School of Design set out to answer.

This spring, four faculty members—led by Pat Crawford, professor and director of the School of Design, and Elizabeth Tofte, assistant professor of landscape architecture—and nine students traveled to Joplin, Missouri, to take on a significant community visioning project that could bring a dilapidated train station back to life.

Built in the early 20th century, the Joplin Union Train Depot operated for nearly 60 years in downtown Joplin. The depot served as a community centerpiece, operating two railroad services—the Kansas City Southern Railway and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad—until 1969, when the station ceased operation.

Since then, numerous attempts to revitalize the building have failed. Another attempt was made to revive the historic structure this year. Initially, the city partnered with the MoDNR and a local commercial real estate firm to list and market the Joplin Union Depot property. Then, the Downtown Joplin Alliance applied for federal funding through the Environmental Protection Agency's Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Communities Program, led and managed by Kansas State University.

SDSU's School of Design was selected as a TAB partner project, through a five-year, $230,000 grant, to conduct visioning work across the U.S. Each spring, an interdisciplinary team composed of students and faculty members will take on one project. This spring, it was the Joplin Union Train Depot. To facilitate the work, the School of Design created an interdisciplinary class. DGSN: 491 was composed of nine students from a variety of majors, including architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design and art education. Seojoo Han, an assistant professor in the School of Design, and Huili Wang, an instructor of interior design, were also involved with this project.

The research team was asked to generate images and design plans for what a revitalized Joplin Union Train Depot would look like. The first step was working with community members to understand the needs of Joplin and the direction they wanted the depot to go in. After gathering historical information and data on the depot and surrounding community, faculty members and students traveled to Joplin in mid-February for an on-site visit.

During the visit, the research team met with residents on two separate occasions to get a feel for the community’s needs. At the community roundtable, the students facilitated group discussions, reviewed old plans and brainstormed new ideas.

Back in Brookings, the team got to work on redesign plans and sketches to be presented to stakeholders in early June. In early March, the team had a check-in with stakeholders and interested community members via Zoom. There, survey results and preliminary ideas were shared. Some of the major recommendations included space for special events, food options and office space.

Students then started on graphic renderings for a mixed-use development that will accommodate a variety of restaurants and flexible office space while preserving the historic fabric of the building.

After the final presentation to community members and stakeholders, the ball is in the proverbial court of the Downtown Joplin Alliance. The city, MoDNR and the local real estate firm are hopeful that with the renderings provided by the School of Design, they will be able to market and eventually sell the depot to a developer.

The School of Design's involvement in the redesign of the Union Train Depot is complete, but because the TAB communities program subcontracted SDSU for five years, a new project for faculty members and students will emerge next winter.

Castillo named Larson Family Endowed Director of The Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center

Christina Castillo has been named the Larson Family Endowed Director of the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

As director of the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center, Castillo oversees the day-to-day operations of the facility, provides strategic leadership, develops marketing and communication plans and collaborates with campus, community and regional partners to fully realize the center’s potential. The endowment is used to make enhancements to the facility, staff and programming as a whole.

She works in partnership with David Reynolds, director of the SDSU School of Performing Arts, to curate a shared artistic vision for musical, dance and theatrical performances.

“Christina brings a wealth of skill and experience in event management and marketing to this position, as well as a genuine love for the performing arts,” the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Lynn Sargeant said. “An alumna of SDSU, Christina has remained involved in the performing arts since her student days as a member of Prairie Repertory Theatre. Most recently, she returned to Prairie Rep as a member of its board of directors. She will bring great energy and dynamism to our efforts to ensure Brookings and SDSU remain a destination for the performing arts.”

Castillo is a De Smet native and a 2010 graduate of SDSU, with a Bachelor of Science degree in communication studies and theatre and a minor in dance. She has worked at Daktronics since 2011, most recently in event management and marketing operations.

She has both emotional and professional connections to the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

“I’m excited to return to the SDSU performing arts community, where I launched myself professionally and where I met my husband,” Castillo said. “It’s exciting to come back into the arts because that’s what I’m passionate about. The Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center is a space where I’m so comfortable and feel connected and welcome.”

Castillo is entering this opportunity open to ideas and suggestions.

“I want to hear from those who are established within the facility, and I hope to communicate and collaborate with various stakeholders regionally, community-wide and at SDSU to work together toward common goals, while making improvements and better experiences for our guests,” she said.

Castillo hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center, appealing to alumni and young people in the community. She plans to launch more programs to entice younger audiences’ engagement with The Oscar.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my leadership, marketing and event management skills as well as local connections to this role,” she said.

SDSU senior named one of AAF’s most promising multicultural students

Lesly Abarca-Valladares, a senior advertising major in the School of Communication and Journalism at South Dakota State University, was named one of the nation’s most promising multicultural students for 2023 by the American Advertising Federation.

Industry leaders selected 50 of the highest-achieving diverse seniors in the U.S. to participate this spring in AAF’s premier industry immersion program in New York City promoting diversity, equality and inclusion.

Abarca-Valladares was mentored by SDSU advertising faculty Roxanne Lucchesi and Heather Solberg.

The Most Promising Multicultural Students program started in the 1990s when industry leaders in the American Advertising Federation recognized the lack of diversity within advertising. The program has evolved into a premier event that connects the nation’s top advertising students with industry leaders and an immersion opportunity that gives them an unparalleled way to transition from student to professional, the advisers explained.

“We are proud of Lesly for being selected to participate in this program. It’s a testament to her exceptional leadership skills, passion for diversity and inclusivity and commitment to making a positive impact in her community. Lesly is a great example of the kind of students we strive to cultivate in the School of Communication and Journalism at South Dakota State University, and we are honored to have Lesly represent us on this prestigious platform,” said Solberg, an advertising instructor in the school.

“Lesly demonstrated outstanding leadership as advertising manager of The Collegian and as a member of the student media transition task force. It’s rewarding to see her talents recognized by the American Advertising Federation,” added Lucchesi, an advertising professor in the school. “Networking and mentorship are cornerstones that professional opportunity builds upon, so we are excited about Lesly’s participation.”

The selected students’ four-day industry immersion program in New York included professional development and personal branding workshops, the Building Bridges for Our Future Awards Ceremony and Luncheon, and Recruiter’s Expo. The Most Promising program gives advertising, media, communications and tech companies the opportunity to tap into high-achieving talent of 50 diverse college students from across the country.

“What I like most about the MPMS program is that it not only recognizes top students like Lesly across the country, but it provides an opportunity for them to network with each other and be mentored by leading industry professionals,” Lucchesi said.

Each year, students of racial or ethnic diversity from the AAF’s 140-plus college chapters apply to the program. This year’s judging panel included representatives from Ally Financial, Nissan Motor Corporation, Captura Group, Cummings Creative Group, Hearts & Science, Lake-Sumter State College, ProMedica, Publicis Health, RPA and The Trade Desk.

Leading agencies and companies have been longstanding Most Promising supporters and consider the program a valuable resource in recruiting diverse, entry-level talent.

“The AAF is very proud to introduce our Most Promising Multicultural Students Class of 2023. This amazing group of students have met all criteria and vetting processes by an outstanding experienced and respected Council of Judges,” said Steve Pacheco, CEO of the AAF. “Now, more than ever, the need to connect young talent to the advertising industry is a top priority for everyone. The fact that the AAF can develop such a diverse group representing the best from across North America is consistent with our mission to develop the Next Generation of Advertising leaders.”

This year’s class has an average GPA of 3.7 and represents 28 schools and 18 states across the country, including California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Texas and South Dakota.

Three students selected to the National Intercollegiate Honor Band

Three students in the South Dakota State University School of Performing Arts were selected to the National Intercollegiate Honor Band. They were the only students selected from a South Dakota university or college.

The selected students included Matthew Dulas, a student of Kevin Kessler of Pipestone; Cadence Helleson, a student of Yi Chen of Sioux Falls; and Caroline Reyner, a student of David Reynolds of Independence, IA.

They were part of 111 students from 44 universities across the United States and Canada who participated. The students performed during the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) conference February 15 - 18 at the University of Georgia in Athens.

To be considered, students were nominated by their directors to a national selection committee. Following selection, students underwent a competitive audition process that determined their chair placement. Students led this process by preparing and submitting their own audition materials.

Chair placements for the students were:

  • Cadence Helleson, 2nd chair alto saxophone
  • Caroline Reyner, 3rd chair trumpet
  • Matthew Dulas, 3rd chair euphonium

Jacob Wallace, associate professor of music and director of concert bands, said, “This is by far the highest chair placement we’ve had for any of our students at this event, and to have all three of them do that well is both very exciting and a testament to the wonderful teaching going on in their studios.”

Matthew Dulas, a senior music education and music studies double major, felt honored to be selected out of hundreds of nominees across the nation. “I am so grateful for the support and guidance of my professors,” said Dulas. “Their teaching has helped me get to this point.”

“The College Band Directors National Association Intercollegiate Band is one of the premier opportunities for college students from around the country to perform at one of the largest professional conferences for collegiate band directors in the world,” explained Wallace. “Historically, the students who have represented the South Dakota State University School of Performing Arts are our best and brightest, and those who have participated and graduated from our programs are now those that represent us in the professional world with the highest level of achievement.”

“Cadence, Caroline and Matthew all exhibit the best that our students have to offer: they’re wonderful people, talented musicians, extremely professional and dedicated to great artistry,” Wallace concluded.

Jensen and Serfling receive competitive NEH grant

Two faculty in South Dakota State University’s School of English and Interdisciplinary Studies are the recipients of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. Amber Jensen, lecturer of English and faculty fellow for dual credit excellence, and Nathan Serfling, lecturer and coordinator of composition, began their research this summer on “Building Cognitive and Cultural Bridges in the Composition Classroom.”

The Spotlight on the Humanities grant “focuses on funding for small to medium-sized institutions and particularly aims to support projects that benefit underserved populations through the teaching and study of the humanities.” The researchers are the only recipients of this competitive grant in South Dakota.

Through work already started by the Wokini Initiative, Jensen and Serfling are hoping to use dual credit courses to make higher education accessible to underserved student populations.

Jensen and Serfling had discussed ideas for developing new Composition I curriculum at SDSU for the past year. “As the faculty fellow for dual credit excellence for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, I thought it would be a great opportunity to integrate best practices for teaching dual credit courses and opportunities to promote dual credit courses as a bridge to higher education for underserved student populations,” explained Jensen.

To begin, Jensen and Serfling consulted entities across SDSU’s campus such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Accessibility and the American Indian Student Center. The two researchers then invited other faculty and staff in the School of English and Interdisciplinary Studies to assist in developing a curriculum that meets the needs of students in the composition classroom. Those faculty and staff include Randi Anderson, Gwen Horsley, Stephan Snyder, Jodilyn Andrews and several graduate teaching assistants.

Faculty participated in a series of workshops to help develop curriculum and become familiar with the new materials before implementation in the composition courses.

Prior to participation, all members involved in the research and workshops had read pre-selected materials to increase awareness on new approaches to composition. The text topics intersect with one another, highlighting important approaches such as acknowledging students’ readiness to learn while “affirming their unique voice and agency as learners.”

“We will share resources, curriculum and the texts that inform our work with faculty and GTAs who will teach this new curriculum,” Jensen stated. “Then, in our workshops we will discuss the texts and theories that inform the new curriculum, ask for faculty input to further develop curriculum and prepare faculty for implementation of that new curriculum. By the end of this project, we hope to develop and refine a new approach to composition curriculum that makes it an opportunity for understanding academic discourse and gaining skills that give students confidence and skills to build a bridge to higher education.”

The new materials will be implemented in online and face-to-face sections of composition courses in fall 2024.

Jensen is hopeful of the positive impact this will bring to the university and the students enrolled in composition courses. “Composition has at times been viewed as a gateway course, which can carry a negative connotation of keeping people out,” said Jensen. “This project shifts the emphasis to thinking of composition as a way in. Our goal is to offer students the language, concepts and links that prepare them to engage in academic discourse and make success in higher education seem possible.”

“This is especially important for first-generation college students and other underserved student populations,” Jensen continued. “If we can build these skills and create these connections in dual credit courses, which help students envision this success at a younger age, then we can potentially make higher education accessible to students who might benefit most from the opportunity.”

SDSU forensics team places in national tournament

South Dakota State University’s forensics team placed fourth in the Tier 2 Individual Events Team Sweepstakes and fifth in the Tier 2 Combined Debate and Individual Events Team Sweepstakes at the 2023 Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament in March at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

Jackrabbits Forensics sent six students for individual events and debate. Among the honors were:

  • Samantha Pappas, a sophomore from Groton, was a semifinalist in impromptu speaking, a quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking and runner-up in novice legislative debate.
  • Hannah Dayaget, a freshman from Sioux Falls, was a semifinalist in program oral interpretation and a quarterfinalist in prose.
  • Rachael Guler, a sophomore from Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, was a quarterfinalist in after-dinner speaking and persuasive speaking.

“I’m really proud of their effort and ability to shine nationally,” said Andrea Carlile, director of forensics and a lecturer in the SDSU School of Communication and Journalism.

Vetch and Guler represented SDSU at the 149th annual Interstate Oratory Contest April 22-23 at the University of Texas at Austin, with Vetch advancing to the semifinal round. This is America’s oldest continuous public speaking contest, and each state can send up to two representatives.

Everyone on the SDSU team is in their first or second year of college competition, making for a young team, added Carlile, who’s been leading the group for the past 10 years. The team was also fortunate to participate in bicoastal national tournaments this year, due to the generosity of donors and program alumni. She sees the team’s successes building incrementally.

“For me as a coach, it’s really exciting to see their dedication and excellence so young in their careers. … The fact that we have such a young team in terms of collegiate experience is really promising. Members will be returning, and we’ve got a really good crop of new folks coming in for next year.”

At the American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament, held March 31-April 3 in Santa Ana, California, the team placed 26th out of 57 schools, in line with previous years’ placings. Carlile said her goal for the team is a top-20 showing. “I’m confident that we can get there,” she said. “We’re really excited about the coming years, because the longer we work together as a whole group, the stronger we’ll be.”

The forensics team’s season spans from October through April, with approximately 20 competitions per year. The team members come from a variety of academic disciplines and backgrounds. “Our motto for the team that I’ve coined in my tenure here is ‘Speak Your Passion.’ And we really believe earnestly in that. This is a place for students to share the things that are most important to them,” Carlile said.

One student speaks about her experience as an immigrant in this country, and another member is passionate about women’s rights, law and advocacy. “To me, that’s the coolest thing. To see that they are leveraging their voices to make a difference in their campus and their communities,” Carlile added.

The 2022-23 team members include (name, year, major, hometown):

  • Emma Arneson, freshman, speech education, Sartell, Minnesota
  • Hannah Dayaget, freshman, global studies, Sioux Falls
  • Abby Gilk, junior, consumer affairs, Redwood Falls, Minnesota
  • Rachael Guler, sophomore, political science and psychology, Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
  • Sierra Hickox, senior, biology with a concentration in education, Fallon, Neveda
  • Emma Lipinski, freshman, theatre, Ivanhoe, Minnesota
  • Samantha Pappas, sophomore, microbiology, Groton
  • Jada Pemble, freshman, chemistry, River Falls, Wisconsin
  • Kara Vetch, junior, data science, Aberdeen

Several Air Force cadets selected for competitive training

Several cadets in South Dakota State University’s Air Force ROTC program have competed for selective training and program opportunities.

Two freshman cadets were selected to become Project GO scholars. Project GO is an initiative from the Department of Defense that offers fully-funded programs in language skills, overseas study and cross-cultural experiences to ROTC cadets of all branches.

Cadet Emily Helgeson, a student from Dakota State University who attends Air Force ROTC at SDSU, attended a two-month Arabic course this summer at the University of North Georgia. Cadet Jonah Hansen is already a Project GO scholar who studied the Korean language in an online program this past spring semester. He was also selected to attend a hybrid program this summer that sent him to the Republic of Korea to continue his studies.

Cadet Jaden Petersen was selected to attend Tactical Air Control Party Officer (TACPO) Phase Two assessment in February. Out of 30 applicants, only 13 were able to to complete the physically grueling and mentally demanding course. He not only completed the assessment despite a 57% wash-out rate, but was one of only two to be selected by the Special Warfare personnel to become a TACPO.

Cadet Carson Max was selected for a Health Professions Scholarship Program award to attend medical school. After graduating and commissioning this May, Cadet Max entered active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. His first job will be to attend medical school at the University of South Dakota this fall on a full scholarship from the US Air Force.

The successes of the SDSU Air Force cadets continues.

“Despite a very competitive field this year, all five of Detachment 780’s eligible cadets were selected for an Enrollment Allocation to attend Field Training this summer, which also means the Air Force plans to commission them when they finish their degrees in 2025,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Erin Tedesco, Commander of SDSU’s Air Force ROTC. “And further, thanks to the Air Force’s new Charles McGee Leadership Award, when they return from field training, in addition to a monthly stipend, all of them will be eligible for a full tuition scholarship for their remaining two years of college.”

“We are incredibly proud of all the cadets at Detachment 780,” Lt Col Tedesco continued. “Their successes in so many exciting and competitive programs this year are not just a result of their talent and hard work, but also the support, camaraderie and mentorship they provide each other. Our cadets are developing leadership skills that will serve them far beyond their military careers.”

Pride of the Dakotas performs at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The South Dakota State University Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band performed on a national stage in 2022 during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, entertaining more than 2 million people who lined the streets of New York City, as well as the millions watching on television.

The Pride provides a unique opportunity for students at SDSU. Pride members do not need to audition to become a member, and being a music major is not required. The band represents every academic college at SDSU with more than 60 different majors. More than 80% of The Pride is nonmusic majors, allowing students to pursue their academic passions while being part of a great university tradition.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of many major performances The Pride can highlight in its 132-year history. The band performed for the king and queen of England in 1939, presidential inaugural parades in 1981 and 1997, the Millennium Independence Day Parade in 2000, two Tournament of Roses Parades in 2003 and 2008, the Fresh From Florida Parade in 2001 and the National Memorial Day Parade in 2017.

The trip to New York included 346 band members from 11 different states, with 147 of the members in their first year with The Pride. Academically, 142 members of the band earned dean’s list accolades, with 59 of them having a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Home Sweet Home: Lincoln Hall

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and School of American and Global Studies (AGS) officially moved into their new home on campus: Lincoln Hall.

Built in 1927, Lincoln Hall was named after President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln played a role in the passing of the Morrill Act, “the legislation that became the foundation for land-grant universities.” Lincoln Hall served as the university’s library until 1979. Then, it became the home of the SDSU music department until 2018, when the department merged with the theatre department to create the School of Performing Arts.

The process to restore one of the university’s most recognizable and historic buildings required collaboration. From Facilities and Services to the SDSU Foundation, many members from across the university came together to make the project possible.

Project Approval

Discussions about the Lincoln Hall renovation began back when the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center was nearing completion in 2017. With the School of Performing Arts moving to The Oscar, the vacancy of Lincoln Hall presented an opportunity for maintenance and repair to take place. Further discussions about the need for space in the School of American and Global Studies and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences supported the renovation of Lincoln Hall.

The selection process for an architectural firm to complete the renovations began in August 2017. Ultimately, Koch-Hazard Architects was selected to for the work, adding Lincoln Hall to their impressive portfolio of historic building renovations.

Following the selection of the architectural firm, the planning and design process began. Jonathan Meendering, architect and director of campus planning at SDSU, said several stakeholders were integral to making the process run smoothly. “Dean Sargeant, Christi Garst-Santos and Kristi Tornquist were a pleasure to work with throughout the planning and design process for this project,” said Meandering. “They helped develop a clear space program and vision for the project.”

The project then moved forward to first address exterior masonry and window maintenance and repair. This part of the renovation was funded with Higher Education Facilities Funds (HEFF). “HEFF is typically used for continued maintenance and repairs of campus buildings,” explained Meendering. “The second phase was funded through bond proceeds that will be paid for with HEFF over the next fifteen years. The second phase renovations were much more comprehensive and include programmatic modifications, whole building HVAC, electrical, data, plumbing and fire suppression upgrades.”

Details of the Design

Koch-Hazard Architects is an architecture, interior design and planning firm founded in 1961 and located in Sioux Falls, SD. A team of three — a principal, project architect and interior designer — worked simultaneously on different aspects of the project.

Stacey McMahan, principal and director of design operations at Koch-Hazard Architects, said the vision of the building was to “restore the historically significant spaces to their original beauty and detail, while carefully inserting new elements to modernize the building.”

One of the most exciting and collaborative spaces is the reading room. Originally used as a performance hall, the space is being restored to its original beauty. “The skylights have been opened back up to allow for natural light and the south wall partially removed to provide connection to the rest of the upper floors,” said McMahan. “Two modern pavilions have been added to provide work and presentation spaces, while creating additional upper-level study space on each ‘roof.’”

There are intentional design elements to show where new architecture has intertwined with the old. “We’ve been very intentional to differentiate new spaces from existing historic ones,” explained project architect, Nolan Hazard. “In the reading room especially, we have tried carefully to create a harmonious relationship between the two.”

Koch-Hazard Architects played a role in fundraising for the project by meeting with donors, writing letters and showcasing the building’s historical value. McMahan said, “This is the type of project we love to be involved with, it is one of our passion projects.”

Lynn Sargeant, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, is looking forward to the new collaborative spaces for the humanities and entire university. “Lincoln Hall is a truly beautiful and extraordinary building. From the moment it was opened in 1927, Lincoln Hall served as focal point for campus academic and cultural life. The reimagining of Lincoln Hall honors SDSU’s past while creating opportunities for current and future students, faculty and staff and community members.”

Join us for the official reopening ceremonies on September 12 & 13 on campus! Follow us on social media for more information about tours and events for the reopening.

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