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14 USD Dakota Days Royalty are from South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota

Image 2015 Dakota Days Royalty Top left to bottom: Eric Roach, Shane Wernke, Lucas Peterson, Bill Belch, Joey Snyder, William Lewis, Jacob Munger, Sami Zoss, Mary Dick, Kaitlyn Stern, Sarah Barthel, Emily Jansen, Carrie Wintle, Rachael Ruba

Fourteen students are representing the University of South Dakota during this week’s Dakota Days homecoming activities, which culminate Saturday with the coronation of Mr. and Miss Dakota at halftime of the home football game.

The 2015 royalty candidates, announced at Tuesday evening’s Royalty Reveal, their hometowns, fields of study, sponsoring organizations and involvement:

  • Eric Roach, of Brandon, South Dakota, is majoring in physics and minoring in math and Spanish, was nominated by the Campus Activities Board, and is active in CAB, Lambda Chi Alpha, Heroes, Club Baseball, Honors, Order of Omega
  • Shane Wernke, of Gregory, South Dakota, is studying kinesiology and sports science, was sponsored by the Interfraternity Council, and is active in IFC, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Dakotans, Kinesiology and Sports Science Club
  • Lucas Peterson, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is studying business administration, was sponsored by Tau Kappa Epsilon, and is active in Dakotans, College Republicans, National College Scholars, Golden Key, National Society of Leadership and Success
  • Bill Belch, of Rochester, Minnesota, is studying mathematics and economics, was sponsored by the Order of Omega, and is active in Pi Kappa Alpha, Mortar Board, Sorority and Fraternity Life Ambassadors, Club Baseball, College Republicans
  • Joey Synder, of Pierre, South Dakota, is studying health services administration, was sponsored by Dakotathon, and is active in Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Student Ambassadors, Dakotathon, SFL Ambassadors
  • William Lewis, of Pierre, South Dakota, is majoring in media and journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication and minoring in political science, was sponsored by Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and is active in Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Dakotathon, Student Ambassadors, SFL Ambassadors
  • Jacob Munger, of Larchwood, Iowa, is studying health sciences, was sponsored by AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-Campus Learning), and is active in AWOL, Beta Theta Pi, Big Pal Little Pal, Adopt a School
  • Sami Zoss, of Beresford, South Dakota, is studying criminal justice and political science, was sponsored by the Student Government Association, and is active in SGA, Kappa Alpha Theta, Criminal Justice Club, Dakotathon, National Society for Leadership  and success
  • Mary Dick, of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, is studying medical biology and spanish, was sponsored by the Pre-Med Society, and is active in Pre-Med Society, Kappa Alpha Theta, Colleges Against Cancer, American Medical Women’s Association, Mortar Board, Order of Omega
  • Kaitlyn Stern, of Freeman, South Dakota, is studying chemistry and interdisciplinary studies, was sponsored by the Panhellenic Council, and is active in Alpha Phi, Panhellenioc Council, Student Ambassadors, Honors, Honors Ambassadors, Undergraduate Research, Order of Omega
  • Sarah Barthel, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is studying marketing, was sponsored by Alpha Phi, and is active in Alpha Phi American Marketing Association, Adopt a Grandparent, Colleges Against Cancer, Order of Omega, Student Ambassadors
  • Emily Jansen, of Sheldon, Iowa, is studying special education and elementary education and Spanish, was sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children, and is active in the School of Education Student Organization, Residence Year Teacher Candidate, Popcorn Panel, Kappa Alpha Theta, Colleges Against Cancer, Council for Exceptional Children, NAEYC, USD Student Reading Council, AWOL, SERVE, National Society of Colligate Scholars, P.E.O. Chapter DU
  • Carrie Wintle, of Iroquois, South Dakota, is studying mathematics and accounting and finance, was sponsored by Mortar Board, and is active in Mortar Board, Kappa Alpha Theta, USD Cheerleader, Beta Theta Pi, Beacom School of Business Dean’s Ambassador, Beta Gamma Sigma, National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Rachael Ruba, of Worthing, South Dakota, is studying accounting, was sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, and is active in CAB, Kappa Alpha Theta, Political Economy Club, Heroes, Dakotathon, Beta Gamma Sigma

Dakota Days features numerous student, community and alumni activities, including the Vermtown Bash on Wednesday; fun run, outdoor movie, media panel discussion and presentation of the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media on Thursday; pep rally, free admission to the National Music Museum, and alumni social, dinner and award presentation on Friday; parade, tailgating and football game against Youngstown State on Saturday.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News