Smith, Fitzgibbons reign at Dakota Days 2008 Coronation

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Alex Smith and Mary Fitzgibbons were crowned Mr. and Ms. Dakota 2008 during a coronation ceremony in the DakotaDome Monday evening. Smith, a business management major from Gettysburg, S.D., is active in Students in Free Enterprise, Strollers and Tau Kappa Epsilon while Fitzgibbons is a communication disorders major from Sioux Falls, S.D., involved with Students Theatre Cooperation, Dance Marathon and University Theatre. The theme for Dakota Days 2008 is “USD in HD.”

In addition to Smith and Fitzgibbons, coronation candidates for 2008 included Mandy Ellefson of Garretson, S.D.; Brooke Riedeman of Sutherland, Iowa; Michelle Rydell of Vermillion; Dawn Seefeldt of Sioux City, Iowa; Carrie Srstka of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Amber Stern of Freeman, S.D.; Joe Cooch of Spearfish, S.D.; Dan Cwach from Yankton, S.D.; Jeff Dice of Mitchell, S.D.; Chris Healy of Yankton, S.D.; Bryce Johnston from Sioux City, Iowa; and Justin Rollins of Black Hawk, S.D.

Additional activities scheduled for the week include "Coyote Idol" at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, Commons Dining Hall; presentation of the 26th annual Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media to Charles Overby, CEO of the Newseum, on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in Slagle Auditorium; and the All-Alumni Reunion Dinner and Awards at 6 p.m., Masaba Mining Equipment Co., Vermillion.

Events on Saturday, Oct. 11 begin at 10 a.m. with the 94th annual Dakota Days Parade on Main Street in Vermillion and continue with the Coyote Tailgate Nation at the east end of the DakotaDome at noon. USD's football game vs. Missouri S&T follows at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome.

For more information and a complete list of events, please visit the 2008 Dakota Days Web site at