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Majors & Degrees

Dakota State University names Johnston to leadership post

February 13, 2017

Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths today announced that Mark Johnston has been selected to serve as the university’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement. Johnston is currently the East River Regional Director for U.S. Senator Mike Rounds.

“We are so pleased that Mark has agreed to join the Dakota State staff,” said Griffiths.

“He has made a career of serving our state in the areas of marketing, strategic communications, government and industry relations and public policy. All of these traits will serve us well as we continue to grow and advance the mission of Dakota State University.”

Johnston is no stranger to serving the citizens of South Dakota. From 2007-2014 he served in various leadership roles for Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health. From 2002 to 2007 he served as press secretary to then-Gov. Mike Rounds.

In 2010, he was elected to the South Dakota Senate, serving the citizens of District 12 in Sioux Falls. In the three years in the legislature, he served as chair and vice-chair on the Education Committee, and also served on the Commerce and Energy and State Affairs Committees. In 2013, he retired as a U.S. Army colonel after serving more than 25 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

“President Griffiths and the board have such a great vision for the university,” said Johnston. “I’m looking forward to working with the talented administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, retirees and friends of DSU in building on the legacy of the past…with an eye toward the incredible future of this institution.  I really can’t be more humbled by the opportunity.”

Mark and his wife, Julie, reside in Sioux Falls. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.  He is a member of Rotary and many veteran service organizations.  He is a volunteer for Warriors Never Give Up, and many civic causes.

Johnston begins his duties March 8, taking over the position held by Bob Otterson, who has resigned effective Feb. 17. In the interim, Development Officer Mark Gerhardt will oversee day-to-day operations for the DSU Foundation.