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General Academic

General Academic Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to their studies. These scholarships ensure that our current and future students receive a remarkable education, without having to worry about financial obligations. Learn more about the qualifications for our Champion or DSU Rising Scholarship.

Madison businesswoman Arleen Amert worked with her husband, Henry for more than sixty years to found and build a family construction business. She was also an invaluable part of the Madison community, serving as a member of the city zoning commission, as elder at First Presbyterian Church, and on Madison arts and educational communities. This scholarship was established in 2011 by Arleen’s family in honor of her 90th birthday. It is awarded to a student who is a caregiver in a business-related major, and is renewable based upon cumulative grade point average.

CEO and President of PREMIER Bankcard Miles Beacom, '81, and his wife Lisa, established this scholarship in 2001. Miles serves on the DSU Foundation Board of Trustees. This scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen from South Dakota.

Donations by faculty and staff members at DSU fund these scholarships, which are awarded to CSA employees of Dakota State, to further their education.

Established in 1999 and made possible through a grant from the Great Plains Education Foundation, these awards are made to students participating in the Dakota State University Center of Excellence.

Julie Doerr Farley, a Madison native who graduated from Dakota State University in 1979, established this annual academic scholarship in 2011 to give back by assisting deserving students to obtain a college education. Julie's degree from DSU led to a rewarding career as Controller for Generations Healthcare in Newport Beach, CA. She and her husband, Tim, reside in Oceanside, CA. This academic scholarship is awarded to a deserving student from South Dakota and is renewable by maintaining the established cumulative grade point average.

Established in 2007, this scholarship is awarded to incoming students from Madison, Chester, Colman-Egan, Rutland, or Oldham-Ramona High Schools with preference given to customers or family members of a customer of the F&M Co-op Oil Co.

Heartland Consumers Power District of Madison provides this scholarship for incoming or continuing students who are customers of the District or whose parents/legal guardians are customers of the District.

This scholarship is awarded to a member of Kappa Sigma Iota. Dr. E.C. Higbie, former President of General Beadle State Teachers College (now DSU), founded KSI in 1923. The purpose of the organization is to promote, secure, and maintain a high level of scholastic achievement.

This scholarship was established in September of 2018 by Kelli Koepsell.  At age 45, with no family history of cancer, Kelli never thought she would face breast cancer. In 2014, at her annual mammogram, three tumors were detected.

One woman in eight will get breast cancer. A stat she knew, but never once did she ever think it would be her.

After her doctor called to confirm her diagnosis, she sat down to process the news. Her mind cycled through emotions of anger, disbelief, and fear, before finally settling on determination.

She was a mom of three girls who needed to be there for them. She wasn't going to let cancer win.

Kelli chose to have both breasts removed, followed by reconstruction and 5-10 years on a hormone chemotherapy drug. It was hands down the most difficult and painful experience of her life.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, so Kelli wants to be able to help others going through similar situations. Kelli’s oldest daughter was in college when she was diagnosed. During that time, the university gave her daughter a similar scholarship and now she wants to pay it forward to students attending Dakota State University through the Koepsell Annual Scholarship

Kelli is married to Chad and they have three daughters. Ceri, with husband Alex Klopp, lives in Texas. Carolyn and Cayla attend college.

The Madison Lions Club established this scholarship in 1999 to honor the memory of John Ostraat. The award is made in the spring semester to a resident of Lake County, who has demonstrated academic ability during the fall semester at DSU. Preference is given to a freshman with a visual impairment.

The Madison Rotary Club provides scholarships to incoming students who are graduates of Lake County high schools and who have a family member in the Madison Rotary Club.

Judy Payne established this scholarship in 2008. Payne, ’81, was a non-traditional student who is a caregiver and values a DSU education. Following graduation from DSU, Payne served the state of South Dakota for 26 years under four governors including stints as Secretary of Revenue, State Risk Manager, and Secretary of Transportation. This scholarship is awarded to a student who is a non-traditional student who is a caregiver.

Established by Deb and Greg Reed of Madison in 2000, this scholarship is awarded to Lake or Miner County high school graduates. Deb is a financial advisor. Greg, who passed away in 2014, was an area contractor.

This scholarship was established in 1998 by Sioux Valley Southwestern Electric in Colman, SD, now known as Sioux Valley Energy. This award is given to a student demonstrating academic excellence and leadership ability, whose family is a member-owner, and whose home is served by a rural electric cooperative.

Harlan Stensaas is a 1955 graduate of General Beadle State Teachers College. He married wife Vianne Schooler while they were in Madison. Vianne graduated in 1954. Harlan completed an MS in Journalism at SDSU and taught in that department for several years before becoming Public Relations Director of Dakota Wesleyan University. He later held university faculty positions in Washington, Illinois, and Oklahoma before entering a PhD program at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984. His doctoral research earned the national Carol Burnett award for research in journalistic ethics. At USM, Harlan and Vianne became friends with Dr. Don George, the first American professor to enter China after domestic relations were implemented in 1980. The association with Dr. George sparked an interest that culminated in Harlan and Viannes ongoing relationship with China.

Harlen and Vianne Stensaas have a deeply rooted love for China, born of years of service to that nation. From 1994 to 2006, they provided English instruction in Anhui Institute of Education, Guangdong Institute of Education, Sun Yat Sen University of Medical Science, and Anhui Technical Teachers College. They later participated in short-term workshops for middle school teachers in Gansu province. They maintain contact with the students and families they served in China, many of whom have gone on to become prominent and successful citizens in China and also in the United States.

Faith and Dan Stratton are graduates of Dakota State College, Class of 1973. Dan was a member of the Boothill Bowl football team, and Faith was a cheerleader. Dan went on to tryout with the Cleveland Browns. He later farmed. Faith started with the Chester Area School District in 1973, and became the elementary principal there in 1997. She recently retired. Preference for this scholarship will be given to a graduate of Chester Area School.