USD Foundation announces 2004 Inman Award recipients

USD Foundation announces 2004 Inman Award recipients The University of South Dakota Foundation announced the 2004 recipients of the Darwin and Adele Inman Award for distinguished service at an awards luncheon in Vermillion on Friday, Oct. 9.

Honored were longtime USD Foundation supporters, Dick and Joanne Grasser of Sioux Falls, and Lyle and June Wagner of Vermillion. The Inman Award is the Foundation's highest award and is named in honor of Adele and Darwin Inman who were instrumental as volunteers in the early years of the university.

Richard Grasser was born in Howard, and graduated from St. Mary's High School in Salem. He is a U.S. Navy veteran, having served in the South Pacific during World War II and later in Korea. Dick graduated from USD with a political science degree in 1949 and began a 35-year career with the Travelers Insurance Company in California.

Joanne Stoltenberg was born in Omaha, NE, and graduated from high school in Sioux City, IA. She came to USD in the fall of 1947, majoring in sociology, and later became an airline flight attendant.�She and Dick met at the university, and they were married in Los Angeles in 1952.

The Grassers have two children, both graduates of USD, and three grandchildren.�While he was with Travelers in 1979, Dick entered the banking business in South Dakota, first in Canova and then in Madison.

When he retired in 1984 as claims manager for Southern California and Nevada, the couple moved to Madison.� They later sold the banks and moved to Sioux Falls, where they have resided since.�After returning to South Dakota, Dick became active in the USD Foundation, eventually serving as vice president for two years, 1993-1995, and president the following two years, 1995-1997.

During his leadership he led negotiations for the purchase of a former medical clinic building on Dakota Street, enabling the Alumni Association and the Foundation to vacate their cramped quarters in Slagle Hall in 1995 and move into a spacious and visible new headquarters.

The Grassers have been loyal alumni and consistent contributors to a number of programs, and they made a naming gift for a classroom during the Save Old Main campaign. For their cumulative giving to the university, Dick and Joanne are members of the Foundation's I.D. Weeks Society.

Lyle Wagner and June Woodward grew up in rural South Dakota, Lyle between Elk Point and Vermillion in Union County and June near Brentford in Spink County. They both entered the university in the 1950s and graduated in the same decade, Lyle in business administration, 1954, and June in education, 1957.

Lyle fulfilled his Army ROTC obligation with military service in Germany from 1954 to 1956, then returned to South Dakota to actively support his family's farming operation. He and June were married following her graduation and the couple has resided in Vermillion ever since. They have one son and two grandsons. Lyle retired from active farming in 1975 and since then has been involved in farm management for nearly 30 years.

The Wagners' commitments to the university have been consistent and substantial over many years. A long-time trustee of the USD Foundation, Lyle became vice president of the organization in 1983, and this was followed by three years as Foundation president, 1984-1987. The Wagner's exemplary giving record to the university shows a special interest in scholarship programs, including four scholarship endowments they have created.

However, it was their generous naming gift in the year 2000, making possible the transformation of the Alumni and Foundation Center on Dakota Street, that merits our special attention. This commitment enabled the Foundation to double the size of its offices, but the Wagner Center provided the Alumni Association and Foundation considerable new visibility, both in the community and for campus guests.

In recognition of their cumulative giving to the University, the Wagners are members of the Foundation's Ernest O. and John H. Lawrence Society.

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