Dakota State University students walking around campus

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Majors & Degrees

Madison native speaks at DSU commencement

May 4, 2016

The 132nd Dakota State University spring commencement is scheduled at 10:30 a.m.  Saturday at the DSU Fieldhouse in Madison, S.D. Dakota State will award three doctorates, 47 master’s, 225 baccalaureate, 51 associate, three graduate certificates and six undergraduate certificates.

Dakota State alumna Susan Koch, chancellor of the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois, will deliver this year’s commencement address. Koch also will be honored with a Doctor of Public Service degree. Daniel Morrow, a leader in the academic and corporate information technology and communications sectors, will be honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Morrow delivered the Fall 2015 commencement address.

Craig Sanden, from Watertown, S.D., and Desalegn Zemenfes, from Worthington, Minn., will serve as student marshals. Ethelle Bean, Library Director and Associate Vice President of Special Projects, is mace bearer. Bean is retiring in June after 30 years at Dakota State.

Koch, the commencement speaker, was born and raised in Madison. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from DSU where her father, William Bulfer, was a faculty member, coach and administrator for more than 30 years. She earned graduate degrees in Community Health and Education from the University of Northern Iowa. Koch and her husband, Dennis, a DSU alumnus originally from Hecla, are the parents of four children and the grandparents of nine. The Kochs raise and show purebred Angus cattle. 

Appointed UIS chancellor in 2011, Koch has overseen significant enrollment increases, growth in NCAA Division II Athletics, and development of new academic programs in Data Analytics, Information Systems Security, Athletic Training, Biochemistry and Nursing. Koch has led the successful completion of the Brilliant Futures Campaign, surpassing its $28 million fund-raising goal for scholarships and university initiatives. She and her advancement team have raised more than $5 million for a new student union currently under construction.

Koch is an active member of the Springfield community, serving on the Memorial Health Systems and United Way of Central Illinois boards of directors. She writes a popular monthly column for the State Journal Register. Last fall, Koch received the newspaper's inaugural Educator Legacy Award, a recognition to honor extraordinary leadership in education in Sangamon County.

In addition to leading UIS as chancellor, Koch also serves as a vice president of the University of Illinois, assisting the president and Board of Trustees in guiding operations of the University of Illinois system that serves more than 80,000 students and includes 25,000 employees. Before her appointment at the University of Illinois, Koch was provost at Northern Michigan University, associate provost and graduate dean at the University of Northern Iowa, and a professor at UNI. Her scholarship and teaching focuses on health education, conflict resolution, and health and human rights.

Morrow, a founder of Jamestown Exploration Company, leads groundbreaking initiatives that address a nexus of academic, corporate and federal needs through public relations and communications counsel. He has connected the academic and corporate sectors for much of his career. As founding executive director of the Computerworld Honors Program, Morrow coordinated activities to address the needs of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and those of International Data Group, the world’s leading purveyor of information about the IT sector. His professional experience includes manager of market research applications for The Washington Post, publisher of a Whitney Communications Corporation newspaper group, and vice president for The Village Companies and its communications division.

Morrow’s leadership and service has included the Mosby Heritage Area Association board, secretary to the Windy Hill Foundation, the Loudoun County Public Library Board of Trustees, and acting executive director of the Loudoun Laurels.  He was among the original members of the The Knowledge Trust, a commitment by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science to shape a critical role for 21st-century knowledge professionals.

Morrow is also a founder and publisher of the Middleburg Eccentric, a monthly newspaper serving 38,000 households in northern Virginia. He is married and has one son.

A historian by background, Morrow’s academic credentials include degrees from the University of Virginia. His postgraduate work was done at the University of North Carolina and the West German Institute for European History where his studies focused on black troops in the Weimar Republic and post-World War I Germany.