Mary Wagner to deliver USD commencement address Saturday Former South Dakota legislator Mary Mumford Wagner of Keystone, will present the commencement address at the winter graduation exercises on the campus of The University of South Dakota on Saturday, Dec. 19 in the DakotaDome.
Approximately 400 students will be candidates for graduation at the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. USD President James W. Abbott, and Regent Pat LeBrun of Rapid City will confer the degrees.
Wagner, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in government in 1954 from USD, will also receive an Alumni Achievement Award from the USD Alumni Association. A professor of sociology at South Dakota State University for many years, Wagner served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1981-88 and in the South Dakota Senate from 1988-92. Faculty marshals will include USD Professors Bob Wood, Barb Yutrzenka, Diane Hoadley, Clayton Lehman, Bruce Smith, Dean Spader, Kurt Hackemer and Leon Korte. Emeriti faculty Jan Ebersdorfer, Corinne Milburn and Allen Johnson will be honorary marshals. Musicians Susan Almjeld, Scott Byrom, Tatum Mahlen and Kenneth Oakley will perform the "Alma Mater" at commencement. Alumni Association Board member Brian Radke of Sioux Falls will deliver the alumni welcome to graduating students.
Originally of Madison, Wagner was named Miss Dakota (1953) and she served as president of the Alpha Phi sorority while a student at USD. She was also selected to various honorary organizations and won the National Science Foundation Prize.
Wagner earned a master's of education degree (1974) in social science and a Ph.D. degree (1978) in sociology from SDSU. She has served as assistant director for the South Dakota Committee on the Humanities (1981-90), including service as the statewide director of Chautauqua programming before also taking on the role of development officer for the South Dakota Humanities Foundation (1987-90). She was instructor and resource room director for the Watertown Junior and Senior High Schools (1968-71), instructor of sociology at Huron College (1976), Humanities Scholar-in-Residence for SDSU (1977-78), adjunct instructor of sociology at Dakota State College (1978-79), adjunct instructor for Augustana College (1979) and assistant professor of rural sociology at SDSU (1990-96).
She served on the South Dakota Indian Affairs Commission (1987-92), was a facilitator of the Governor's Education Summit in 1989, vice chair of the Higher Education Committee for the Midwestern Council of State Government (1989-92), member of the Governor's Conference on Libraries (1990-92), member of the Board of Directors for South Dakota Girls State.
Wagner has received numerous honors including being named the Phi Delta Kappa Friend of Education Award in 1984 and named the Legislator Conservationist of the Year Award by the South Dakota Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation in 1988. She was named the Outstanding Woman of the Year in 1981 by the Brookings Business Professional Women in 1981 and received the SDSU Alumna Award for Outstanding Service to South Dakota in 1993.
She has been an active member in the community including service as a member and president of the Brookings School Board. She was a member of the Board of Director of the Brookings Chamber Music Society, board member of the Inter-Lakes community Action, Inc., member of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce Beautification Committee and president of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.