Campus Life Dakota Days

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Dakota Days History

"The first South Dakota Day at the University was Friday, November 20, 1914. The native townsmen of Vermillion and the oldest members of the faculty alike agreed that its equal has never before been seen in the University...Acting in accordance with the suggestions of the committee in charge of the arrangements, all of those who were to appear in the parade, which was the feature of the day, gathered - a mighty host. And a cosmopolitan crowd, cosmopolitan to the fullest extent. There were peoples of all nationalities, races, and desrciptions, representing multifarious forms of occupation...South Dakota Day is a unique feature in the history of the University. It is not too much to say then that the day has come to stay as one of the annual features of the School, and that each year will see it bettered and enlarged, until it will become a traditional day to University students and Alumni."  –The Coyote, 1916

South Dakota's annual homecoming celebration, Dakota Days - or D days - attracts spirited alumni back to campus while allowing current students to display their creativity in planning and promoting the week-long festivities. The celebration dates back to 1914 when President Robert. L. Slagle encouraged an event to "promote campus spirit and harmony." The result was "South Dakota Day" (later shortened to "Dakota Day" and now the week-long celebration "Dakota Days") as students elected royalty, built floats, paraded through the streets of Vermillion and cheered on the University's football team - in much the same way they do today.