Banquet will launch Foss scholarship The Sheraton Sioux Falls, Valiant Vineyards of Vermillion and the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at The University of South Dakota will hold a kickoff dinner in Sioux Falls on Friday, July 30 to inaugurate the Joe and Donna (Didi) Foss leadership Scholarship Endowment.
Titled the "Winemaker's Dinner," the event, which includes a seven-course meal and guest speakers, will be a $150 per plate fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center Fontanelle Ballroom. the event begins with a social at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
The proceeds and donations will go to the Foss Leadership Scholarship Endowment. Speakers will include Sioux Falls Mayor Gary Hanson, Yankton Press and Dakotan columnist Hod Nielson and others.
In honor of Joe Foss, the endowed scholarship has been established within the USD Foundation to be used for scholarship for USD students in any major who are minoring in the Leadership Studies Program of the Farber Center for Civic Leadership. The center has set a goal of raising $1.5 million to fund full ride scholarships for incoming freshmen at USD. The scholarship has been created to promote and honor the leadership traits personified by Foss and to provide financial assistance for students in the leadership program who have demonstrated leadership potential, according to Professor Bill Richardson, chair of the Farber Center.
"This is a great opportunity to honor one of South Dakota's favorite sons and at the same time we can provide a scholarship for future leaders," said Richardson. "This will be an outstanding event and we hope the people in the area will help us honor Mr. Foss."
The dinner is the first of its kind, featuring a true native prairie indigenous fruit and grape wines handcrafted by South Dakota's first commercial winery, Valiant Vineyards of Vermillion. Executive chef John Gilbertson and his culinary staff of the Sheraton Sioux Falls Hotel and Convention Center will prepare the menu. All foods prepared for this unique event will be derived and prepared from the abundant "natural pantry" of South Dakota prairie and hills.
Foss, born in Sioux Falls on April 17, 1915, graduated from USD in 1940 and joined the U.S. Marines Corps after graduation. A World War II hero, Foss is considered a flying ace of aces for shooting down 26 enemy aircraft in 45 days. Foss, who appeared on the cover of Life Magazine on June 7, 1943, received the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He served as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, a representative in the South Dakota State Legislature from 1948-53, and he was elected South Dakota youngest governor in history in 1954.
He was the first commissioner of the American Football League and was involved in the creation of the first Super Bowl. Foss hosted The American Sportsman and The Outdoorsman: Joe Foss and he later served as president of the National Rifle Association from 1988-1990. Foss is a member of the South Dakota Cowboy and Western Heritage Hall of Fame, South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and South Dakota and National Aviation Hall of Fame. He helped organize the Crippled Children's Hospital and School in Sioux Falls and he is the founding chairman of the Endowment for Community Leaders.
For dinner/reservations, call: Cheryl Hovorka (605) 677-5702.