Archive for the ‘History of the University’ Category

Freshmen Initiation

Friday, September 19, 1913, otherwise known as Black Friday, the newly acquired graduating class of 1917, gathered outside of Main Hall (today one could assume they meant Old Main) promptly at 7:30 pm to begin their journey through the time honored tradition of hazing the incoming freshmen. Though this practice has gone by the way side in recent decades, the memory of the events live on in the stories that remain and a poster found while cleaning in the Archives.

The poster details the rules of decorum which the freshmen class were required to follow. As well as a large paragraph of colorful descriptions (for the time period, mind you) the upper classmen threw at the freshmen. As the poster states, any rumors that certain freshmen were exempt from the activities of freshmen initiation were utter lies and all freshmen were required to participate in any events demanded by the upper classes. In accordance with the poster laying out the rules of the initiation, the Volante followed up with tales of the event in the first issue of the Volante published that school year.  In an article titled “Initiation—Black Friday” the article’s author briefly lays out what went down and encourages the freshmen to pick up their caps at the end of the article.

The jocularity of the event didn’t last long, as two weeks later another article was published in the Volante that described a certain student who was blatantly ignoring the rules. The student body called for the punishment of the student, which led to an article that detailed the suspension of five students who brutishly and publicly tried to bring the student to heel in accordance with the rules set up for the freshmen class. A week after the first article detailing the suspensions was released, a follow up of the proceedings were published and detailed further what had caused the suspensions. As well as they would enforce the student’s suspensions until January 6, 1914, when they would be able to return to classes at the university.

The poster and volante are now on display in the archives for a limited time so stop in and read about the events that freshmen today no longer have to fear.


Black Friday Poster. USD Archive Oversize Material: Photographs—USD Panoramas.

The Volante. Vol. 27-30. May 1913 – July 1916.

1915 Coyote. Pg. 229


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During the 1980s and 1990s, University of South Dakota commencement program covers often presented brief descriptions of USD buildings.




In 2004, this building was remodeled and renamed the Dean Belbas Center. It houses Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid and the Office of the Registrar.



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The Faculty Woman’s Club collection has been processed and is available for research.

The Faculty Woman’s Club was a group at USD that was formed for female faculty members and wives of professors. On a program cover letter from September 21, 1954, program chairwoman Edith M. Eyres states that the Faculty Woman’s Club’s “purpose is simply to bring you and your family into the larger family of the University faculty, and to let you meet your University friends and enjoy their fellowship.”

Throughout its years of existence, the Faculty Woman’s Club has coordinated several events. Annually, they would hold a President’s reception, which was traditionally hosted at the university president’s house. Other annual events include salad luncheons, fall brunches, and spring parties. Occasionally, the Faculty Woman’s Club would arrange additional events for fundraisers. The proceeds usually went to a scholarship fund. One such event was Meeting of the Minds, which was a quiz competition that any faculty member or their spouse could participate in.

Meeting of the Minds News Story

Another charitable deed that the Faculty Woman’s Club organized was helping with the maintenance on the Danforth Chapel. They funded the insurance policy on the stained glass windows and also helped the Alumni Association raise funds for their restoration.

Below is a photograph from the dedication of a tree that the Faculty Woman’s Club donated.


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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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Preliminary List of USD Campus Projects 1997-2011

For my first project as a volunteer at the University of South Dakota archives, I compiled a list of building projects that occurred from 1997-2011. This list will be added to for use in the Buildings, Other Structures, and Utilities collection at the archives. The main resource for my research was editions of the USD alumni magazine, The South Dakotan, since the fall of 1997. This directory to USD campus projects will be added to as others look through the Volante. Hopefully past editions of the Volante  will help us learn the names of the architects who were employed to build these projects. It was a fun assignment to be a part of, and I look forward to my next project.

Preliminary List of USD Campus Projects 1997-2011

Academic Commons

  • Ribbon Cutting January 2011[i]

Akeley Science Center

  • Rededicated Akeley Lawrence 10 December 2001[ii]

Al Neuharth Media Center

  • First mentioned in Freedom Forum speech Sept. 24, 1998[iii]
  • Al Neuharth Media Center dedicated 25 September 2003[iv]

Beacom School of Business

  • Business building preview: initially was going to be named after Walter A. Buhler who gave lead gift in 1998[v]
  • Groundbreaking set for early 2008[vi]
  • Beacom School dedicated to Mr. Miles Beacom  9 October 2009[vii]

Beede Hall

  • Renovations made, July 2007[viii]

Burgess Hall

  • Renovations to Burgess, August 2005[ix]

Coyote Statue

  • Unveiling scheduled for Fall 2012[x]

Coyote Village

  • Ground breaking Sept. 21, 2009[xi]
  • Ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 2, 2010[xii]

DakotaDome roof

  • Replaced Spring of 2001 [Constructed by USD alum Roger “Bo” Harris’s company Harris Construction][xiii]

Dean Belbas Center

  • Dedication and ribbon cutting Oct. 1, 2004[xiv]

Lee Medical Building [The Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building]

  • Fundraising begins for medical sciences school[xv]
  • Closer to goal for breaking ground[xvi]
  • Ground breaking June 25, 2004[xvii]
  • $20 million benefit from Sanford, Dec. 27, 2005[xviii]
  • 2nd of 2 phase construction on med school nearly finished[xix]
  • Dedicated to donor of land Andrew E. Lee and ribbon cutting on Friday Sep. 5 2008[xx]

McFadden Hall

  • Converted and renovated from apartments added to USD during the fall of 2003[xxi]

Mickelson Hall

  • Renovations to Mickelson, July 2006[xxii]

Muenster University Center

  • Tuition increase approved  [$4.95 more per credit hour][xxiii]
  • Old Coyote Student Center demolished in early 2006[xxiv]
  • Finished Feb. 17, 2009[xxv]
  • Monsignor James Doyle room dedicated Sept. 29, 2009[xxvi]
  • Hoy room dedicated Oct. 9, 2009[xxvii]

Multicultural Center [Unity House]

  • Dedicated at 423 N. Pine St. on 16 November 2006[xxviii]

Norton Hall

  • Renovations to Norton, March 2005[xxix]

Old Main [University Hall]

  • Constructed Oct. 16, 1882[xxx]
  • First occupied 1883[xxxi]
  • Burned 1893/ Rebuilt 1899[xxxii]
  • Closed in 1973[xxxiii]
  • Rededicated Oct. 4 1997 [Coincided with Pres. Abbot’s appointment to president][xxxiv]

Olson Hall

  • Renovations to Olson, December 2005[xxxv]

Redwood Hall

  • Renovations to Redwood Court from family to sophomore housing, August 2005[xxxvi]

Richardson Hall

  • Renovations to Richardson, August 2004[xxxvii]

Slagle Auditorium [now Aalfs Auditorium]

  • Renovation project begins, cost 6.8 million[xxxviii]
  •  $2.3 Million donated to project as of April 10, 2007[xxxix]
  •  Chandelier campaign conducted by student philanthropy[xl]
  •  Slagle Auditorium officially re-opened on 16 March 2011[xli]
  •  Ribbon cutting and rededication of Slagle to Aalfs on Oct. 7, 2011[xlii]

Wagner Alumni/ Foundation Center

  • Expansion announced $528,000 set aside for it.[xliii]
  • Rededicated 30 September 2000[xliv]

USD Observatory

  •  Original dome of USD observatory donated to school in hopes of another observatory being built[xlv]

USD Wellness Center

  • Groundbreaking 26 October 2009[xlvi]
  • Ribbon cutting Feb. 1, 2011[xlvii]

[i] ”Academic Commons Opens.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 6, No. 1, 2011, 11.

[ii] “Symposium Honors Science Legacy of USD Graduates Ernest and John Lawrence.” The South Dakotan.                      Vol. 98, No. 1, 2002.

[iii] “Freedom Forum Announces Expansion of Neuharth Center at USD.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 94, No. 3, 1998. 2.

[iv] “Al Neuharth Media Center Dedicated.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 99, No. 3, 2003. 1.

[v] “Business Building Preview.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 99, No. 2, 2003.

[vi] “New School of Business Building Dedicated.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009. 5.

[vii] “New School of Business Building Dedicated.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009. 5.

[viii] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[ix] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[x] “Student Philanthropy Project: Winning Coyote Statue Selected.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 6, No.2, 2011/12.

[xi] “Coyote Village.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009. 6.

[xii] “The Suite Life: Coyote Village.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 5, No. 1, 2010. 21.

[xiii] “Roger ‘Bo’ Harris ’69 to Lead DakotaDome Roof Project.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 97, No. 1, 2001.

[xiv] “Belbas Center Dedicated.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 100, No.3, 2004.

[xv] “New Medical Sciences Building Will Enhance Several Departments.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 98, No. 2, 2002.

[xvi] “Medical Science Building Moves Closer to Reality.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 100, No. 1, 2004.

[xvii] “Groundbreaking Ceremony of new Medical Science Building.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 101, No. 2, 2004.

[xviii] “$20 Million Gift to Benefit School of Medicine: School Renamed in Sanford’s Honor.” The South Dakotan,             Vol. 1, No.1, 2006. 29.

[xix] “Building for the Future: Medicine, Health Sciences.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 3, No. 1, 2008. 8-9.

[xx]“USD to dedicate Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building.” Marketing Communications and University. Online.

[xxi] “McFadden Hall Gives Students a New Housing Option.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 99, No. 3, 2003. 3.

[xxii] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[xxiii] “New Coyote Student Center Planned.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 100, No. 1, 2004.

[xxiv] “New Coyote Student Center Planned.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 100, No. 1, 2004.

[xxv] “Muenster University Center.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 1, 2009. 18.

[xxvi] “Rooms Dedicated: Monsignor Doyle Room/ Hoy Room.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009. 4.

[xxvii] “Rooms Dedicated: Monsignor Doyle Room/ Hoy Room.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009. 4.

[xxviii] “New Multicultural Center Opens at the U.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No. 2, 2007. 10.

[xxix] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[xxx] “Rededication of Old Main.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 93, No. 3, 1997.

[xxxi] “Rededication of Old Main.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 93, No. 3, 1997.

[xxxii] “Rededication of Old Main.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 93, No. 3, 1997.

[xxxiii] “Rededication of Old Main.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 93, No. 3, 1997.

[xxxiv] “Rededication of Old Main.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 93, No. 3, 1997.

[xxxv] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[xxxvi] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[xxxvii] “University Housing Undergoes Major Renovation.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No.1, 2006. 9.

[xxxviii] “Renovation of Slagle Auditorium.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2006. 27.

[xxxix] “Campaign South Dakota: Slagle Auditorium Restoration Update.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 2, No. 2, 2007. 27.

[xl] “Let There Be Light.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 5, No. 1, 2010. 24.

[xli] “A Site to Behold.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 6, No.1, 2011.

[xlii] “A Site to Behold.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 6, No.1, 2011.

[xliii] “USD Alumni and Foundation Center to Expand.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 95, No. 2, 1999.

[xliv] “The USD Alumni Association and Foundation Building: New Look, New Name.” The South Dakotan.                           Vol. 96, No. 3, 2000.

[xlv] “USD’s ‘Other’ Dome.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 97, No. 1, 2001.

[xlvi] “Wellness Center.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 4, No. 2, 2009. 6.

[xlvii] “Wellness Center.” The South Dakotan. Vol. 6, No.1, 2011.

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Delta Tau Delta Formal, 1930

Located in the Alumni Association Collection of the USD Archives is a cache of dance cards from events that took place at USD and in the surrounding area. Most of these cards date back to the early 1920’s, however, there are a few examples from the 1930’s and 1950’s.

For those unfamiliar with the dance card, here’s some general information and a little history. A typical dance card is a pamphlet with a decorative cover indicative of the event’s sponsoring organization. Generally, women (rarely men) would carry these cards to keep track of their obligations to dance with certain partners–each partner’s name would be written on a blank line within the booklet. Song titles, composers, and the names of dance chaperones could also appear on these pages. In addition, dance cards were often secured to ladies’ wrists or around their waists with a decorative cord. Sometimes, pencils were attached to these cords, although it was more common for the pencils to be carried by men.  Historians speculate that dance cards first came into use in 18th century Europe.  Their popularity  increased during the next two centuries, but leveled off and faded due to the rise of  the less formal dancing styles of the early to mid 20th century.

At first glance, the dance card appears to be a simple way of avoiding drama in the dance hall by ensuring that dancing is conducted in an orderly and prearranged fashion. Yet, as noted by NYU’s Dead Media Archive, the dance card can also be indicative of the patriarchal values that governed Western gender relations for the majority of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries:

The dance card primarily operated as a prevention protocol—a mechanism for blocking a woman from engaging with more than one man at a time, as each dance only provided one line of engagement. The lines of the dance card function ideally as a record of compulsory monogamous heterosexual exchange—spaces waiting to be filled, lines waiting to be etched… the dance card was not a tool for women to “keep track” of their engagements but for men to arbitrate relationships of availability and exclusion on a metaphoric waltz of complex social and class networking.

The Dead Media Archive also notes that, at least in the case of dance/ball etiquette of  the Victorian era, it was considered proper for women to assume the passive role of waiting for men to fill out their dance cards. They were not allowed to peruse partners of their own choosing. Furthermore, men rarely carried cards, and there was nothing a woman could do if her partner failed to fulfill his obligation to dance with her.  In addition, it was difficult for women to be choosy about her partners. As long as a man made sure that he was properly introduced and  approached potential partners in a respectful manner, he was virtually guaranteed a dance with any woman of his choosing.  If a woman felt that a space in her dance card was about to be filled by an undesirable partner, her only line of defense was to claim fatigue or a prior engagement and sit out for the round. As the Dead Media Archive puts it: “Attached by braided cord to the wrist or dress, the very presence of the dance card tagged all women ‘available’ for selection in some manner—the question, ultimately, was not if a woman was available, but when.”

What intrigues me about the dance cards in Alumni Association Collection is that these cards appear to have belonged to a man and each line lists the name of a couple rather than an individual partner. I am not entirely sure what this means, however, I surmise that this method of filling out dance cards is demonstrative of changing times, a more relaxed and egalitarian mode of gender relations, or a less structured style of dance etiquette.  This way of filling out cards may also be an idiosyncrasy of the geographical region or a personal preference of the individual who owned the cards (most of the cards belonged to the same person.) If you have any information or theories about these dance cards, feel free to leave a comment or drop us an email.

USD Military Ball, 1926

Delta Tau Delta Pirate Dance, 1929

USD Military Ball, 1927

–Information from: “Dance Card“. Dead Media Archive. NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, 2010. Web. 31 Jan 2012. <http://cultureandcommunication.org/deadmedia/index.php/Dance_Card&gt;; dance cards: Alumni Association Collection, USD Archives

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Aalfs Auditorium, c. 1972

Since 1925, Aalfs Auditorium, formerly known as Slagle Auditorium, has been a performance space and gathering place for students, staff, and community members.  The auditorium has hosted a myriad of different events including musical performances, mock political conventions, commencement ceremonies, and lectures from visiting scholars.  In addition, prior to the construction of  the Colton Recital Hall in the 1970’s, Aalfs  Auditorium was home to the productions of the USD Theater Department.  In 2008, USD began an 8.2 million dollar renovation of the facility.  The auditorium reopened October 7, 2011 with improved acoustics, updated performance lighting, additional seating and restroom facilities and its new name.  In addition, the auditorium also underwent aesthetic changes to preserve historical aspects of the venue.  The Skinner 29-stop organ, a fixture of the auditorium since 1925, was also restored during the renovation.  See below for photographs from the history of Aalfs Auditorium.

Mask and Wig Club, c. 1929

"No More Peace!" USD Theatre production, c. 1939

Miss University contestants backstage, c. 1951

View from the orchestra pit, c. 1958

Unidentified individual with 29-stop organ, c. 1957

Miss University candidates, c. 1958

Opera cast with Robert C. Marek, c. 1962

Light technicians, c. 1968

–Information from Cummins, Cedric. The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966. Vermillion, S.D.: Dakota Press, 1975, Photographs: The USD Photograph Collection

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