Dakota State University students walking around campus

Preparation + opportunity = success

That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

Kurt Kemper

Kurt Kemper

Kurt Kemper

Professor / General Beadle Honors Program Director


College of Arts and Sciences


Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2000
M.A., George Mason University, 1996
B.S., University of South Dakota, 1992


Dr. Kurt Kemper is a Professor of History and the Director of the General Beadle Honors Program. He teaches introductory history courses and classes that support the Cyber Leadership and Intelligence major. He is the author of College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era and Before March Madness: The Wars for the Soul of College Basketball as well as the survey text American Sports History, 1607 to the Present.


Office Location: Science Center
Phone: (605) 256-5194

  • Recipient, College of Arts and Sciences Research Fund, Dakota State Univ., 2011
  • Frederick B. Artz Fellow, Oberlin College Archives, 2010
  • Recipient, Faculty Research Initiative, University Research Committee, Dakota State Univ., 2009
  • Grant Recipient, Office of Graduate Research, University of South Dakota, 2005
  • Recipient, Weaver Research Fund, University of South Dakota, Dept. of History 2003, 2005
  • Fellow, NEH Summer Institute, “Sport, Society, and American Culture,” 2002, jointly sponsored
by Northeastern Illinois University and the Chicago Historical Society.


  • American Sports History, 1607-Present, (Sioux Falls, SD: Scholastic Texts, 2021).
  • Before March Madness: The Wars for the Soul of College Basketball, (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2020).
  • College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era, (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009).


  • “Bear Bryant, Sam Cunningham and 1970: An Historiography of Epic and Dangerous Proportions,” under revision for the Journal of Southern History.
  • “’No Colored Athletes Allowed’: The HBC Challenge to the NCAA,” in Michael Lomax, ed., Sports and the Racial Divide Revisited, (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2023)
  • “’No Substitute for Football’: Cold War Culture and College Football,” in Marc Boulton and Tobias Gibson eds., Red Reckoning: A New History of the Cold War and the Transformation of American Life, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2023).
  • “Reconciling the Consequences of Modernity: College Football as Cultural History,” in Steven A. Riess, ed., The Blackwell Companion to the History of American Sports, Wiley-Blackwell, (New York: 2013).
  • “Dark Spirits: The Emergence of Cultural Nationalism on the Sidelines and on Campus,” in Michael Lomax, ed., Sports and the Racial Divide: African American and Latino Experience in an Era of Change, (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2008).
  • “The Smell of Roses and the Color of the Players: College Football and the Expansion of the Civil Rights Movement in the West,” Journal of Sport History, 31 (2004) no. 3.


  • Visiting Lecturer, “Sports, Values, and Anxiety in American Culture,” Stephen F. Austin University, October 2018
  • Presenter, “Movin’ on Up: College Sports and Athletic Realignment in the 1950s,” 2012 South Dakota State Historical Society History Conference, Pierre, SD
  • Presenter, “Harry Potter, History, and the Worst Subject at Hogwarts,” American Library Association traveling exhibit, “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” 2010 Madison, SD
  • Presenter, “Race and the Limits of Reform: The Birth of Modern College Basketball,” 2009 Northern Great Plains History Conference, St. Cloud, MN
  • Commentator, “Memories and Misconceptions in Native American History,” 2006 Northern Great Plains History Conference, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Presenter, “Black Power, Black Beauty: Cheerleading and Racial Pride on Campus,” 2003 North American Society for Sport Historians Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH
  • Presenter, “The Smell of Roses and the Color of the Players: Race, Activism and Football in Los Angeles, 1961,” 1997 Western History Association Annual Meeting, St. Paul, MN

  • Presenter, “Live Aid 1985 and American Culture,” Lake County Historical Museum, April 2022, Madison SD.
  • Presenter, “The Segregated Origins of March Madness,” Madison Public Library, March 2022, Madison, SD.
  • Presenter, “Baseball in American History,” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Sioux Falls, SD 2008, 2012, 2019
  • Presenter, “American Football in American Culture,” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Sioux Falls, SD 2013, 2018
  • Presenter, “Using Pop Culture in the Freshmen Honors Seminar,” 2018 Upper Midwest Honors Council Annual Meeting, April 2018, Lamoni, IA.
  • Presenter, “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone by: The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression in American Memory,” Madison Public Library in conjunction with the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, November 2015, Madison, SD
  • Presenter, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” Siouxland Public Libraries in conjunction with the Gilder Lehman Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities, February 2014, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Programming Coordinator, “The Lynching of Emmett Till Exhibit,” Karl Mundt Library, September-October 2012, Dakota State University, Madison, SD
  • Workshop Facilitator, “Historical Research Opportunities on the World Wide Web,” 1996 Southern History Association Annual Meeting, Little Rock, AR, with Andrew McMichael.