Paul Friggens was born in 1909 in St. Onge, South Dakota. He established a distinguished career in the field of journalism after earning a bachelor of arts degree and graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1931.

In the midst of the Great Depression, Friggens created a job for himself by starting a state capitol news bureau in Pierre, South Dakota. His scoop in 1934 on the suicide of Public Enemy Number 1, bank robber and kidnapper Vern Sankey, landed him a job the next day with United Press International in Lansing, Michigan. He became a feature writer, Sunday magazine editor and book critic for the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Friggens also served as an executive representative for the Associated Press in New York City.

Returning to his western roots in 1946, he became an editor for Farm Journal. In 1960, he joined Reader's Digest as a staff writer and was later named a roving editor. In 1983 he authored Gold & Grass: The Black Hills Story, which has been hailed by reviewers as the best book ever written about his native area.

After Friggens' death in 1987, his daughter, Myriam, established a scholarship fund to honor his contributions to the journalism profession.


  • Motivated student who wants, through his or her writing, to make the world a better place.
  • Junior/senior media and journalism major attending the University of South Dakota.
  • Overall grade point average of 3.0.
  • Full-time student (minimum of 12 credit hours).
  • Rural or small town South Dakota background preferred.
  • Student who is involved in extracurricular activities and demonstrates leadership qualities and resourcefulness.
  • Financial need considered.