The official charter was accepted at the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Convention in March of 1972 in Chicago, IL.  Charter members were:  Marc Boesen, Mt Marty College, Glen Peterson, Augustana College, & Don Allen, Yankton College.

The first President during the 1972-73 year was Don Allen, Yankton College who resigned during the year before the charter was approved.  Glen Peterson was then appointed President.

Members from the following institutions have served as SD HEA President:

BHSU MMC Augustana MTI
DWU Kilian CC SF College/USF DSU

An Executive Board was established to oversee the function and viability of the Association.  The Board consists of a President, President- Elect, Immediate Past-President, Secretary, Treasurer, two Public University Representatives, two Private University Representatives, two Technical/2 Year Representatives, and two At-Large Representatives.  The Executive Board meets regularly twice a year…prior to the Annual Conference and at annual retreat held sometime during the months of May-July.

Tidbits about Annual Conferences:

The first conference was held in 1976 in Sioux Falls.  The theme was “Bicentennial Student”.  The next twelve annual conferences were held in Sioux Falls.  In 1989, the conference began a rotating host schedule with the first West River conference held in Spearfish.  Since then, the conference has been hosted in the cities of:  Brookings, Rapid City, Watertown, Sioux Falls, Huron, Yankton, Mitchell, and Aberdeen.  The 1996 conference was held in Huron, but during a blizzard!  Attendance was somewhat low and sporadic.  Aberdeen didn’t officially host the conference as it was cancelled due to a snow storm in 1997.

Another conference highlight is that in 1991, Senator Tom Daschle was the keynote speaker.

Past Annual Conference Themes:

2019 - "Adaptability: Strategies for Change in Higher Education", Sioux Falls
2018 - "Access SD HEA 2018", Deadwood
2017 - "Balance: The Key to Holistic Success", Sioux Falls
2016 – "Persist: Retaining knowledge, students, and talent in South Dakota", Spearfish
2015 – "Together Toward Tomorrow", Mitchell
2014 – "Higher Education: Be in the Business of Being Awesome", Chamberlain
2013 – "Forging a path for tomorrow's students today", Lead
2012 – "Operation Graduation", Sioux Falls
2011 – "All Aboard: The Hub of Collaboration", Aberdeen
2010 – "The Power of Knowledge: Developing a Legacy of Learning", Rapid City
2009 – "Bridges to Understanding", Cedar Shore Resort, Chamberlain
2008 – “Building Student Success”, Days Inn, Brookings
2007 – “Relax, Refocus, Rejuvenate”, Holiday Inn, Spearfish
2006 – “Celebrate Leadership”, Holiday Inn, Mitchell
2005 – “Voyage to Discovery”, Kelly Inn, Yankton
2004 – “Come Aboard”, Quality Inn, Rapid City
2003 – “Reaching for the Stars”, Encore Inn, Sioux Falls
2002 – “Pearls of Wisdom”, Holiday Inn, Mitchell
2001 – “Climbing to New Heights”, Holiday Inn, Spearfish
2000 – “The Transition to the Next Century”, Oaks Hotel, Sioux Falls
1999 – “Winning Students…The Challenge”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls
1998 – “Building a Common Vision”, Radisson Hotel, Rapid City
1997 – “Live It, Learn It, Love It”, Ramkota Inn, Aberdeen(Cancelled due to weather)
1996 – “SD HEA…at the Crossroads of Higher Education”, Crossroads, Huron
1995 – “Education, A Trail Ride to the Future”, Holiday Inn, Spearfish
1994 – “It’s a Jungle Out There”, Yankton Inn, Yankton
1993 – “Dealing with People”, Ramkota Inn, Watertown
1992 – (Theme Unknown), Holiday Inn, Rapid City
1991 – “Challenge…Plan…Action”, Howard Johnson, Sioux Falls
1990 – “New Decade…New Challenges”, Holiday Inn, Brookings
1989 – “Student Success”, Holiday Inn, Spearfish
1988 – “Personal & Professional Excellence”, Ramkota Inn, Sioux Falls
1987 – “Current & Future Concerns of Education in SD”, Howard Johnson, Sioux Falls
1986 – “Future in Higher Education”, Howard Johnson, Sioux Falls
1985 – “ACT Workshop”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls
1984 – “Building Academic Achievement”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls
1983 – “Assessing the Higher Education Environment”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls
1982 – “Career Planning & Related Issues”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls
1981 – “Being a Professional in South Dakota”, Ramada Inn, Sioux Falls
1980 – “What’s Ahead in the 1980’s in Higher Education, Ramada Inn, Sioux Falls
1979 – “Student Development: Meaning & Application”, Ramada Inn, Sioux Falls
1978 – “The 4 R’s of Retention: Review, Research, Retune, Respond”, Ramada Inn, Sioux  Falls
1977 – “Meeting the Needs of the Future Students”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls
1976 – “Bicentennial Student”, Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls

Awards were established:

Marcus Boesen Outstanding Young Professional Award

The “New Professional Award” was developed in 1989 to encourage professional activity of new professionals and to acknowledge contributions to SD HEA and higher education in South Dakota.   The first recipient was Mary Utpadel from DSU.

To honor Marcus Boesen, a charter member of SD HEA and Former Dean of Students at BHSU, the “new professional award” was renamed the “Marcus Boesen Outstanding Young Professional Award”.  William Williams from SDSU was the first recipient of the titled award.   

Patrick Merrigan for Distinguished Service Award

“Making a Difference Award” was established in 1987 to recognize SD HEA members exhibiting outstanding leadership with SD HEA and contributing to the profession of higher education and the individual’s institution.  First recipients were Doug Noteboom, Augustana College and Howard Peterson, SDSM&T.

To  honor past-president (1983-1984) Patrick Merrigan from Mount Marty College, the “Making A Difference” Award was renamed the “Patrick Merrigan for Distinguished Service Award” in 1989.  Linda Allen from the Rapid City School of Nursing was the 3rd recipient but the 1st recipient of the renamed award.

A Graduate Student Award was started in 1993.  This award provides a scholarship to a graduate student who is pursuing a career in post-secondary student development. The first recipient was Teresa Bertness from SDSU.

To encourage attendance at conferences and to acknowledge the school that has highest percent of their individual school’s SD HEA membership in attendance, a traveling award was developed in 2002.  The University of Sioux Falls won the award the first year.

SD HEA has been around for 35 years providing leadership in personnel work within the goals of higher education.  SD HEA provides an opportunity, through our network and by attendance at our conferences, for us to work together productively and to share our experiences and expertise to better serve higher education in South Dakota.  South Dakota is a small state…and even though we may compete for the very same students…we also have an understanding and respect for one another and willingness to make each others professional life, and in many cases, personal life, better.