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

Commencement and Academic Honors Awards

Policy 2.1
Approved by: President
Responsible Office: Academic Affairs
Originally Issued: 07/15/1987
Last Revision: 12/05/2022
Category: Academics
Related Policy
SDBOR Policy 2.6.3 Honorary Degrees


This policy and its procedures provide guidance for selecting university and special awards for Commencement and for Academic Honors.


  1. Honorary Degree. An honorary doctorate degree is a non-academic honorary and posthumous degree that the university can bestow on an individual.
  2. Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service award may or may not be an alumnus of the institution.
  3. Distinguished Alumni/Alumna Award. The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumni award must have a certificate or degree from Dakota State University.


Commencement Awards

  1. Honorary Doctorate. The university follows SDBOR Policy 2.6.3 Honorary Degrees. https://public.powerdms.com/SDRegents/documents/1587691
  2. Distinguished Service Award. The nominee must have evidenced distinguished service to the University at the community, state, or national level.
  3. Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award. The nominee must have demonstrated distinguished professional activity in their field of endeavor.

Academic Honors Awards and Recognitions

  1. Lowry Scholars (Award). Awarded to a senior student from each college who has earned one of the highest GPAs for the college (with a minimum requirement of a 3.5 cumulative and major GPA) and who has demonstrated significant scholarly involvement and achievement in their major. Scholarly involvement/achievement might be demonstrated by classroom participation, leadership among classmates, and/or interest in research or scholarly activities outside the scope of routine classroom assignments. The faculty of each college submits one nominee and supporting documentation. A list of eligible students based on GPA will be provided to each college by the Registrar. Any college having more than 500 majors (based on fall enrollments) will be allowed to recognize two students for this award.
  2. Campus Student Leaders (Award).Awarded to a maximum of five students who exemplify the highest degree of skills in management, communications, personal relations, vital involvement, and university accomplishments and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8. Any student, faculty, staff member, or recognized student organization can nominate a student for this award. Following the posted deadline for nominations, the Student Leadership & Engagement Office contacts each nominated student asking them to provide a list of their accomplishments for consideration by the Student Leadership Awards Committee. The Student Leadership Awards Committee will provide a list of no more than five students to be recognized. Students may not receive the Campus Student Leader award more than once.
  3. College Leaders (Award). Awarded to a maximum of two students per college. College Leaders must demonstrate outstanding leadership within a recognized college organization that is linked to the college’s majors. Leadership might be demonstrated through offices held, quantity or scope of projects or events participated in; or other forms of leadership demonstrated to the organization either publicly or behind the scenes. Nominees must be in good academic standing. The faculty of each college submits no more than two names and supporting documentation.
  4. Outstanding DSU Artists (Award). A maximum of two students whose achievements in the DSU performing and/or studio arts are superior and who are in good academic standing. Nominations may be made by any member of the DSU community to a committee of the Fine Arts faculty for screening.
  5. Student Senator of the Year (Recognition). One Senator is selected each year to be recognized for their leadership ability. The recipient is selected by members of the Student Senate.
  6. Regental Awards (Recognition). Presented by the South Dakota Board of Regents to student organizations to recognize meritorious efforts and achievements.
  7. Other Awards
    1. Student Employee of the Year (Recognition)
    2. Center of Excellence graduates (Recognition)
    3. Honor Societies (Delta Mu Delta, General Beadle Honors, Kappa Sigma Iota, Sigma Tau Delta and TriBeta)


The President may add other special awards and recognitions to the Academic Honors and Commencement that further represent the excellence at DSU.


Commencement - Nomination and Awards Process

  1. Documentation Required. Current and complete supporting documentation for the Commencement awards will be provided by the nominator(s) for each nominee. Complete documentation includes the following:
    1. Letter of nomination outlining reasons nominee is recommended,
    2. A history of education and accomplishments, and
    3. A written recommendation supporting the nomination by someone other than the nominator or nominee.

Nomination and Awards Process

  1. Nominations are brought forward from the campus community for the Distinguished Service Award, the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, and the Honorary Doctorate.
  2. The President forwards nominations and supporting documentation to General Faculty, Student Senate, and Alumni Board. (May be handled via email.)
  3. General Faculty, Student Senate, and Alumni Board meet to act on Honorary Doctorate, Distinguished Service and Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna nominees. An indication of Not Recommend by any of these bodies will automatically remove the nominee from further consideration except for the Honorary Doctorate.
  4. Honorary Doctorate nominees not recommended by the Alumni Board or Student Senate may be reconsidered by the General Faculty.
  5. The President chooses final list for the Distinguished Service, the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards, and Honorary Doctorate nominees.
  6. The Board of Regents reviews and approves or disapproves all Honorary Doctorate candidate(s) submitted by President per SDBOR Policy 2.6.3.

Academic Honors - Nomination and Awards Process

  1. Nominations for recipients for awards and recognition are solicited from the College and campus community for recognition in the spring semester.
  2. Current and complete supporting documentation for the award categories will be provided by the nominator(s) for each nominee. Complete documentation includes the following:
    1. Letter of nomination outlining reasons nominee is recommended.
    2. A history of education and accomplishments.
  3. Supporting documentation for the recognition categories will be provided by the department or organization providing the recognition for each recipient. Documentation should include a listing of accomplishments or activities that distinguish the recipient in that category.




Adopted: 04/15/1987
Amended: 07/11/2008
Last Revision: 12/5/2022