Candidates receive degrees at USD Spring Commencement

VERMILLION, S.D. -- More than 1,000 students from The University of South Dakota received degrees during the 121st Spring Commencement at the DakotaDome, Saturday, May 10, at 9:30 a.m. Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Gartner, chairman and principal owner of the Iowa Cubs baseball team, delivered the keynote address to 1,174 graduates.

A lifelong journalist and third generation Iowa newspaperman, Gartner, 69, has been Page One Editor of The Wall Street Journal, editor and president of The Des Moines Register, editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, general news executive of Gannet Co. and USA Today, and president of NBC News. In 1997, he received the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing as editor and co-owner of The Tribune of Ames, Iowa. Additionally, Gartner has appeared as a regular columnist for the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal and the editorial page of USA Today. He has also served as a commentator for Iowa Public Radio and the Voice of America. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Gartner graduated from Carleton College in 1960 and received his law degree from New York University in 1968. Today, he is principal owner of the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs.

Sen. George McGovern was presented with a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree at USD’s Spring Commencement. McGovern, an Avon, S.D. native and one of the most significant figures in America today, has earned the respect of countless individuals from all political viewpoints and all walks of life. In 1972, McGovern was selected as the Democratic Party nominee for president, the only South Dakotan so honored by any major political party. He served in the House of Representatives for four years before representing South Dakota in the United States Senate from1962 to 1980. A prolific author, McGovern has lectured at more than 1,000 colleges and universities around the world. He has also received many honorary degrees and distinguished awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor, which was bestowed upon him by President Bill Clinton on Aug. 9, 2000.

In addition to the recognition of McGovern, USD also acknowledged distinguished faculty members from the 2007-08 academic year, including recipients of the Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching; the Richard and Sharon Cutler Awards in Liberal Arts; the John Wesley Jackson Memorial Award presented to the outstanding professor of law; and the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Professor Award.

Degree candidates, listed in alphabetical order by state and hometown, can be found at www.usd.edu/urelations/news/USD_2008_Spring.pdf.