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Majors & Degrees

Charles Luke is Fall Commencement speaker

December 4, 2023

Charles Luke will be the fall commencement speaker at Dakota State University on December 9.

Luke was President of Dakota State University for a short time in 1983-1984, but his was a pivotal presidency. This was at the beginning of the institution’s mission change, which tasked the university to provide instruction in computer-related areas across all disciplines.

Charles Luke - Dakota State University President 1983-1984
Charles Luke - Dakota State University President 1983-1984

Through his career experience with IBM and Citibank, Luke was able to implement an agreement with IBM to share their curriculum, creating a four-year degree in Information Systems. Three Dakota State faculty were allowed to attend IBM training in Dallas, the first non-IBM individuals to go through that program.  Luke also worked out an agreement with a California junior college to provide curriculum for a two-year degree in computer programming. Both these programs gave students with the necessary knowledge base to work in the industry.

Luke knew that hands-on experience was an integral component for these career fields, so he used special legislative funding to replace primitive microcomputers with IBM PCs. He was also able to secure a gift for a large-scale stored program computer from Citibank. In addition, he was able to institute 13, four-year scholarships, and hold two summer youth camps on campus.

Then Governor Bill Janklow said Charles Luke “made the commitment to save DSU and … created the dream of a computer-oriented future for DSU.”

Luke will talk about “The Organizational DNA of DSU,” reflecting on the culture and character of Dakota State during his time here.

Two will receive Honorary Degrees

For his work in DSU’s history, Luke will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree at the Dec. 9 commencement ceremony.  

DSU alumna Shantel Krebs will also be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

DSU alumna Shantel Krebs

Krebs was recently named President and CEO of Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre, but she has had successful careers in many fields since graduating from DSU in 1998. Krebs has been in the healthcare industry, business consulting and entrepreneurship, and roles in state politics as a state representative, state senator, and as the 28th Secretary of State.

After leaving public service, she transitioned to the private sector, creating the Avera Academy, a program which allows students to consider health care as a career, serving as an additional pipeline for future workforce development.

Along with her busy career, she volunteers with various organizations, including a previously held role as CEO of the Miss America Organization.

For her many contributions to the state in the public and private sectors, she has been named a Distinguished Alumna of DSU, and was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2022. With all of her roles, she combines her servant’s heart and businessperson’s head to improve the lives of those around her. 

Commencement Details

Fall commencement will take place Saturday, December 9, at 10:30 a.m. at the DSU Fieldhouse. A Hooding Ceremony for graduate students will take place at 9 a.m. in the Dakota Prairie Playhouse. Dr. Stephen Krebsbach will be the speaker at that event. He is a Professor in The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber and Coordinator for the Ph.D. in Computer Science Program.

The 219 students who will graduate this Saturday are receiving Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees, as well as certificates. Justice Forster, a Business Administration major with a finance specialization and digital accounting minor, will speak on behalf of the graduates. He is from Howard, S.D.

Alumnus Tom Farrell, 1970 alumnus and Emeritus Faculty member, will address the new graduates for the Alumni Association. Regent Judy Dittman, from the South Dakota Board of Regents, will confer the degrees. DSU Choir will provide musical selections under the direction of Kayla Nunnery, Director of Music.

Tickets are not required for fall commencement. For those unable to attend in person, the hooding ceremony will be livestreamed here, https://youtu.be/f7jWqPMe2-4;  commencement will be livestreamed here https://youtube.com/live/rwNN71jO2nY.  More information is available on the DSU website, dsu.edu.

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