Dahlin appointed acting USD president Donald Dahlin has been appointed by the South Dakota Board of Regents to serve as acting president of The University of South Dakota (USD), in the absence of university President James W. Abbott. In December 2001, the regents granted Abbott a leave from his responsibilities as university president upon his announcement of his intentions to campaign for governor of South Dakota.
"Vice President Dahlin has a long and distinguished career at USD," said Regents President Harvey Jewett, Aberdeen. "He has served in a number of leadership positions at the university and in state government. We are convinced that he has the experience and knowledge to oversee the university and grateful that he is willing to accept this responsibility at this time."
Since 1966, when Dahlin joined the USD faculty, he has served in various academic and administrative positions, including professor and chair of the political science department, director of criminal justice studies, and acting dean of continuing education. He was named academic vice president in 1997.
"I have enjoyed my tenure at this university and I appreciate this vote of confidence from the regents. I intend to carry on current plans for university advancement. Many faculty have dedicated time and resources to a major academic program review currently under way. We will move that initiative forward," said Dahlin. "Opportunities such as this do not come along often, and I am excited at the challenge."
"The regents granted Jim Abbott a leave of absence to pursue elective office. With his long tenure at USD, Dahlin has the respect of the faculty and the faith of the board. He is obviously the right person to step in on such short notice," said Robert T. Tad Perry, the regent's executive director.
Throughout his career, Dahlin has also served in state and federal offices and commissions. In the 1970s, following service with the U.S. Justice Department, he was South Dakota secretary of public safety under Gov. Richard Kneip.
He served on Gov. George Michelson's corrections commission. From 1997 to 1999 Dahlin was a member of a five-person commission on the advancement of federal law enforcement.
In the same action the regents also named Royce Engstrom, USD associate academic vice president and dean of the graduate school, as the acting academic vice president.