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Governor Appoints USD English Professor as South Dakota Poet Laureate

University of South Dakota English professor Lee Ann Roripaugh will serve as as South Dakota’s new poet laureate. 

Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed Roripaugh, of Vermillion, as the successor to poet David Allan Evans, who served in the post since 2002 but announced his retirement earlier this year.

“South Dakota has a rich tradition in the arts, and Roripaugh’s work is outstanding,” said Michael Pangburn, director of the South Dakota Arts Council, which serves South Dakotans and their communities through the arts and works closely with the poet laureate. “Roripaugh is committed to serving the poetry community and has the knowledge and expertise to do so."

Roripaugh is the author of four volumes of poetry and has received various awards and recognitions. She currently teaches creative writing at USD and is the editor of the national, quarterly journal South Dakota Review.

Under the terms of a law passed this year, Roripaugh will serve a four-year term that ends on July 1, 2019. Future governors will have the opportunity, every four years, to name a new poet laureate to promote poetry and represent South Dakota’s varied literary traditions.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


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.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News