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

DSU staff, student honored at state SDHEA conference

February 14, 2018

DSU is making quite a name for itself with the South Dakota Higher Education Association (SDHEA). The state organization presents three awards at their annual conventions, and DSU staff and a student have brought home one of each of these awards from the 2017 and 2018 conventions.

This February, Mandy Parpart received the Patrick Merrigan Award for Distinguished Service; she is the director of student activities and new student orientation coordinator. Also this month, DSU student Cassandra Morgan won the Robert J. Courtney Student Leadership Award. In 2017, Bryce Nussbaum, residence director for special projects, won the Marcus Boesen Award.

“I believe this is a statement to the quality of work happening at DSU and to the acknowledgements and understanding we have for each other,” said Nicole Bowen, student support/wellness counselor at DSU.  Bowen is also the current SDHEA president.


The Patrick Merrigan Award is presented to a member of SDHEA who has exhibited outstanding leadership within the individual’s institution and area of responsibility and who has significantly contributed to the profession and to SDHEA.

Bryce Nussbaum, in his nomination letter for Parpart, said she “epitomizes the characteristics and skills of an outstanding leader,” adding “her uncompromising dedication to the students, her willingness to volunteer, and her ability to ask for those without a voice at the table to be heard are a few of the many reasons why she is a mentor to so many at her institution.”

Parpart said “I have been fortunate enough to have exceptional colleagues and mentors in my life, so I ultimately try to be that for others as well.” For her, the students are the best part of her job. “They are the reason I come to work every day,” she said. “As a higher education professional it is my job to help students realize their potential and challenge them to accomplish more than they thought they could.”


Robert J. Courtney’s career in student affairs lasted over three decades, and the award honors his leadership in campus life. Patti Beck, student success and tutoring programs coordinator, wrote in her nomination letter that “Cassandra Morgan embodies what Bob Courtney valued in a student – academic achievement, involvement, leadership and service.” Morgan, a professional accountancy and business technology major from Alexandria, S.D., is in her third year as a student ambassador and second year as lead tutor at DSU.

“As a student ambassador, I enjoy giving students a true look into what DSU is all about,” Morgan said. “As a tutor, I love encouraging and helping students build confidence in their academic work.” This experience has helped her public speaking skills, and the “leadership skills I have gained will enable me to have the courage and ability to excel in leadership roles for projects/teams in my workplace.”