W.O. Farber Center for Civic LeadershipCenter/Institute
At the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, we prepare students for a lifetime of leadership as citizens of the community, state, nation and world.
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Cultivating Civic Leaders
The center is housed in the Department of Political Science and offers a minor in civic leadership studies. Whether you’re interested in pursuing politics, becoming a lawyer, leading a nonprofit or advocating for a cause, you’ll learn the leadership and communication skills you need to make a difference in your organization.
In addition to civic leadership studies coursework, we also host major conferences and speakers on civic leadership, help public and non-profit organizations resolve difficult problems and provide community outreach through internships and service projects. Civic leadership studies students are eligible for internship and travel assistance from the Farber Fund endowment.
USD Department of Political Science
The Department of Political Science houses the W.O. Farber Center, directs the civic leadership minor and manages the center's activities.
American Legion Auxiliary
The W.O Farber Center hosts the annual American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program, a week of intensive training in citizenship and government held on USD's campus.
Farber Center Activities
The W.O. Farber Center annually hosts Farber Forums, programs designed to offer students and the public insight into national and state politics, campaigns and elections, public administration and international relations.
Past Farber Center guests have included:
- General Colin Powell
- Tom Brokaw, NBC news anchor
- President Gerald Ford
- Lech Walesa, former President of Poland
- Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
- Joe Foss, former SD Governor and Medal of Honor winner
- Harry Wu, human rights activist and Chinese dissident
We are privileged to host the annual American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls State program, which is designed to teach female high school juniors about civic participation. It is held on the USD campus each June.
Approximately 440 girls from across South Dakota are selected based on scholastic achievement, leadership skills and interest in government. The girls are divided into 14 "cities" and seven "counties," representing cities across the nation, including "Journalism City" that published a daily newspaper. Through the program, participants learned how American government works at every level.
The girls also have the opportunity to learn from several South Dakota political figures including governors, senators, representatives, attorney generals, chief of staffs and others.
While attending ALA Girls State, participants take a course titled "The Skills of Leadership: Women as Leaders," offered by the Department of Political Science and the Farber Center. The course is worth one academic credit transferable to any college in the nation. USD also offers generous scholarships to participants.
The Legacy of Leadership Award seeks to recognize exemplary students, teachers, citizens and state leaders in South Dakota. Civic leadership is one of the noblest acts of citizenship, and recognizing these leaders and their generous acts will serve as a reminder to all that they can make a difference.
Civic leaders are often inherently dynamic, visionary men and women. But the most successful civic leaders have also worked hard to develop tools with which they can put vision into action. USD's civic leadership program focuses on public leadership skills with courses in political science, business administration, psychology and sociology, tools critical to helping individuals and communities identify, address and resolve public problems. The Legacy of Leadership Award is one of many efforts to encourage the best practices of leadership for the benefit of South Dakota and South Dakota interests.
Currently, two awards are offered. Each has its own set of nomination and award guidelines.
- Legacy of Leadership Student Award: Recognizes an outstanding student from the University of South Dakota
- Legacy of Leadership Public Employee Award: Recognizes an outstanding federal, state, or local government employee working in South Dakota
The presentation of these awards is a part of the Master of Public Administration commencement event at the end of each spring semester. Award recipients receive $500 and a certificate or plaque commemorating the award.