VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota will honor Sen. George McGovern during 121st Spring Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10.
McGovern will be presented with a Doctor of Public Service honorary degree in recognition of his distinguished public service to the people of South Dakota and the United States. 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 walks of life. A war hero, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for completing 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in World War II. 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 from 1962 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.
More than 1,000 students from USD will receive degrees during commencement, which will take place inside the DakotaDome at 9:30 a.m. Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Gartner, chairman and principal owner of the Iowa Cubs baseball team, will deliver the keynote address.
In addition to the recognition of McGovern and Gartner's address, USD will also acknowledge 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.