USD presents Inman Awards for Distinguished Service

USD presents Inman Awards for Distinguished Service The University of South Dakota Foundation announced the 2000 recipients of the Darwin and Adele Inman Awards for Distinguished Service during an awards luncheon in Vermillion on Friday, Oct 13.

Honored were longtime USD Foundation supporters Robert E. Stark, Joan C. Holter and Vernell O. Holter.

The USD Foundation provides private financial resources for the university, in order to increase the excellence of the educational experience provided by USD. The Inman Awards for Distinguished Service are named for Darwin and Adele Inman, who were instrumental as community volunteers in the early years of the university.

Stark, a Vermillion native who as a small child lived in the same neighborhood as Adele Inman, recalls visiting Mrs. Inman with his parents. Fortunately for The University of South Dakota and the USD Foundation, Bob stayed in town not only to receive two degrees from the university but also to become a devoted volunteer in support of his alma mater.

A 1943 graduate of Vermillion High School, Stark managed to complete one summer of school at USD before answering his military draft call and serving the United States Army for 30 months during and immediately after World War II. He then returned to the campus and resumed his higher education, receiving his bachelor's degree in history in 1950 and his law degree in 1951.

Stark began his 32-year banking career in 1952 with what was then known as the First National Bank of Vermillion. For many years, he was treasurer and a member of the executive committee of the Community Artists Series, a cooperative arts organization of the university and the community that brought Slagle Auditorium some of the major names in the classical music world from the 1950s through the 1970s. Stark became affiliated with The University of South Dakota Endowment Association in 1962 and was elected treasurer.

In 1974 the Endowment Association merged with the newer University of South Dakota Foundation, which had been created a few years earlier to seek new avenues of support for USD. Stark then became treasurer of the new USD Foundation and continued in this capacity until 1981.

Stark continues as a trustee, for a total of 26 years with the foundation and 38 years of involvement with both organizations. He was named an honorary trustee in 1986. In 1982 Stark created through the USD Foundation, the Robert B. Stark History Award endowment, which has provided scholarships for a succession of history majors at the university.

Joan C. Holter, a Vermillion native, has followed in the footsteps of her mother, Bertha Nagel Chaussee, who graduated from USD in 1908. Holter has been called upon often by a succession of university presidents to serve on campus advisory committees. Her two principal interests have been the Shrine to Music Museum and Alpha Rho chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Holter was elected to the board of trustees of the Shrine to Music Museum in 1981 and has served continuously for almost 20 years. Named as treasurer for two years and secretary for 10 years between 1983 and 1994, Joan was elected board chair in 1994 and served in that position until 1998.

Her four years as chair were marked by considerable growth at the museum, including the completion of two new major galleries and the addition of 500 instruments to the collection.

Joan Holter has also been chapter advisor of Kappa Alpha Theta for the past 20 years. In this position she has helped to perpetuate in the chapter a tradition of strong membership, leadership in campus activities and, including the most recent semester, a string of 10 consecutive years a the highest performing academic unit among all Greek organizations.

Vernell O. Holter, a native of Platte, was drafted into the United States Army after high school and served three years before entering The University of South Dakota in 1948. At USD, he was a part of the ROTC program and was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1949.

Following his graduation from USD in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, he returned to active duty with Army for two years during the Korean War and remained a member of the Army reserves until 1986, retiring as a colonel.

Holter's distinguished career in the banking industry began in 1953, when he joined what was then the National Bank of South Dakota in Vermillion, the successor bank to the one founded by Darwin Inman an others in the 1880s. He became managing officer of the local bank in 1962 and continued as chief executive officer until he retired in 1989.

Vern has been closely identified with The University of South Dakota for decades. Following several years of service on its board, Holter was president of the USD Alumni Association from 1972 to 1975. Soon after being elected a trustee of the USD Foundation in 1975, he was elected president of the foundation in 1976 for a two-year term and again in 1982 for another two-year term. In 1991 he was elected treasurer of the foundation, including the combined secretary-treasurer position from 1997 to the present.

Joan and Vern Holter have been financially supportive of many university causes over the years. The Holters support two endowments at the USD Foundation: one providing scholarships to USD students who are graduates of Platte High School and another to students who are graduates of Vermillion High School.

The USD Foundation has over $75 million in assets as a result of generous gift and bequests from alumni and friends of USD.

For fiscal year 2000, the USD Foundation granted more than $2.1 million in scholarships and student support, about $1.2 million for support of the academic departments of the university and over $368,000 for capital projects and equipment.

New endowments for scholarships or other purposes that benefit the university may be created within the USD Foundation for as little as $20,000 contributed over five years.

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