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Beacom School of Business Hosts 2019 Awards Dinner

"" The Beacom School of Business hosted its annual awards dinner Tuesday, April 23.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota honored faculty, staff, students and an accomplished alumnus at its annual awards dinner on Tuesday, April 23. This was the 71st annual ceremony, which celebrates Beacom’s own students, faculty, staff and alumni for their successes and contributions to the school, university and regional economy.

Those who received awards at Tuesday’s dinner included:

  • Outstanding Senior Award: Noah Thompson, joint B.B.A./M.P.A. student from Mitchell, South Dakota. While at USD, Thompson has been active as a Beacom School of Business Dean’s Ambassador, technology fellow, vice president of Coyote Capital Management, co-founder of the USD Student Alumni Association, president of Love Your Melon and member of Beta Theta Pi. This summer he will be a tax intern with Ernst & Young in Minneapolis. Thompson will go on to complete his M.P.A. and become CPA eligible.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award: Ashlynn Blenner, M.B.A. student from Holstein, Iowa. While at USD, Blenner has been actively involved in the Financial Management Association, Beta Gamma Sigma and as a Beacom School of Business Dean’s Ambassador. Accolades to her academic success include being on the dean’s list every semester and being recognized with the Accounting & Finance Academics and Leadership Top Performance Award. After graduation, Blenner has been appointed to work for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) as an assistant national bank examiner.
  • Staff Excellence Award: Mandy Hanson, manager of the Beacom Career Success Center. In her role in the Career Success Center, Hanson leads students through every step of the search and application process for internships and full-time careers. She works closely with employers to help them recruit students in a variety of ways including on-campus visits, networking events, classroom visits and presentations to student organizations. Hanson’s work with Beacom School of Business students ensure they are prepared for interviews, on track with internship requirements and prepared for life after college.
  • Faculty Excellence Award – Teaching: Carole South-Winter, Ed.D., assistant professor of health services administration. She serves as the faculty advisor for two student organizations at the University of South Dakota, Healthcare Executives Advancing in Leadership (HEAL) and Tiospaye – Native American Student Government. South-Winter is passionate about healthcare and that passion is felt by her students, colleagues and the healthcare organizations she partners with. She has taken students on many immersive, research-intensive programs to Ghana, Australia, Costa Rica, Cuba and throughout Europe.
  • Faculty Excellence Award – Research: Chet Barney, Ph.D., assistant professor of management. Barney’s research has focused on management education and productivity, consumer behavior and workplace controversies. His accomplishments include nine publications in peer reviewed outlets, paper presentations at 18 management conferences and citing of his published work more than 200 times by other academics. He is a first-generation college graduate. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in management from New Mexico State University, he taught at Southern Utah University and held roles working in Information Systems Management.
  • Distinguished Service Award: David L. Knudson, senior vice president and chief legal counsel for the United National Corporation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As a lawyer and advisor, Knudson has worked closely with Denny Sanford for more than 25 years on more than $1.5 billion of charitable gifts. He practiced law for 35 years at Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz and Smith in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he has also served the state of South Dakota as chief of staff to the governor and a four-term state senator. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Beacom School of Business and on the Washington Pavilion board of trustees.

"These individuals truly represent the Beacom School of Business on an exceptional level,” said Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D., dean at the Beacom School of Business. “It is incredible to have so many accomplished people make up committed to upholding the Beacom School of Business’ prestigious reputation."


USD's Beacom School of Business was established in 1927 and has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1949. The leading business school in the region, Beacom’s programs are consistently ranked among the top business schools in the nation by Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and others for its high-quality learning experience, student success, affordability, and high-caliber of faculty and students. Whether a student chooses face-to-face or online courses, Beacom’s programs emphasize real-world experience through professional organizations, quality internships and capstone projects.


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