Archive for October, 2012

According to Cedric Cummins’ The University of South Dakota 1862-1966:

Meanwhile, lesser structures and changes were in process. Dr. Thomas E. McKinney, Chairman of the mathematics department, had worked for an observatory since his arrival in 1907. He won support, and business secretary J. H. Julian reported a balance of $13,636.23 from local and endowment funds for the year ending June 30, 1916, “to build a coal house and astronomical laboratory.” The first was constructed back of University hall near the water plant. Work was begun on the brick observatory that fall, north of the athletic field, and completed in 1917 at a cost of approximately $6,500. Its chief pride was the five-inch refractor telescope built in London by Thomas Cooke, Ltd., with a “weight-clock” making it possible to correlate its movement with the rotation of the earth. Another medium had been added by which the University sought to survey the universe from its small base.


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Once again, Dakota Days has come. Though the festivities have begun early in the week, the parade is still an exciting highlight of Game Day. A screaming sea of red and white converges upon the Dome to cheer the Coyotes to victory. One lucky girl is crowned Miss Dakota. In the evening, merry USD students fill the streets as they wander from gathering to gathering. Here are some exciting moments in D-Day history, taken from the Volante:

On “Black Friday,” freshmen, all in their pajamas, would gather and perform an initiation ceremony involving barrel staves. D-Days was started in 1914 to stop the hazing that occurred on Black Friday. The theme for the first parade was “Frontier Life” and the floats were drawn by horses.

In the 1930’s, Sherri Cash writes in one Volante, “traditions such as the annual hockey game between university and alumnae women, the flag raising ceremony, [and] the greased pig contest between halves” were started. Sadly, these traditions have not continued into the present.

Because of the war, in 1943, there was no football game for Dakota Day and in 1944, the homecoming game was the Vermillion Tanagers versus Yankton High School.

Though it might not be that important or impressive, it is interesting to note that in 1962, students got a recess the Friday before Dakota Day.

In 1976, students got to watch “The Golden Knights” skydive before the homecoming game.

In 1984, there was an ice cream eating contest, which is my favorite past D-Days activity.

Old Main was rededicated in 1997 to kick off Dakota Days, along with President Jim Abbott’s inauguration.

There were fireworks at D-Days in 1998, along with jell-o wrestling.

Works Cited:

Volante [Vermillion] 1914-1998, n. pag. Print.

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