Skip to main content

Alaska Iditarod Racer and USD Alum Vern Halter to Speak on Campus

Image Vern Halter Vern Halter will speak at USD April 7.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Vern Halter, who received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Dakota, will speak on campus next month about life in Alaska, including his participation several times in the Iditarod dog sled race, which began over the weekend.

Halter, who's not competing in the race this year, is currently mayor of Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska. He will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7 in Old Main's Farber Hall. His speech, "USD, Grizzly Bears and Sled Dogs: Life in Alaska," is sponsored by the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, the School of Law and the Political Science League.

Halter grew up on his family's farm in Flandreau, South Dakota, and graduated from USD in 1971 with bachelor's degrees in political science and economics. He served as a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1971–1973 and then returned to USD to attend law school, from which he graduated in 1977. Halter moved to Alaska that spring, soon serving as a magistrate judge and, later, a public defender. He competed in the Iditarod multiple times, earning three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. For over 30 years, he and his wife Susan have owned and operated the Dream a Dream kennel.


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.


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


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 84 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News