She noted Friday, however, that she is especially impressed with the crop of new leaders emerging from Vermillion.
Herseth was keynote speaker at the Leadership Vermillion 2006 graduation banquet, held May 5 at the USD Alumni Foundation building.
"I've heard quite a bit about Leadership Vermillion," she said. "I've been very impressed to learn about its goals and accomplishments.
"But I have to say it's even more impressive to see firsthand the people who make a difference, the people who are graduating tonight, and to be with the people who are essential to making this program successful."
Leadership Vermillion, begun in 2000, has grown into a driving force in the community, providing local women and men with opportunities to learn more about how the dynamic social structure of the community.
From last October through a final session in April, this year's class attended sessions on local economic development, research at USD, cultural assets, call to political leadership, skills of leadership and roles of volunteers in the community.
This year's class also spent time observing the South Dakota Legislature in February.
Vermillion 2006's graduates are Shelly Brunick, Jolinda Gray, Susie Hanson, Kevin Haselhorst, John Hemmingstad, Mandy Huber, Dan Kenton, Jim Laughlin, Michelle Laughlin, Cristi McClelland, Janet Mount, Melissa Pavlish and Trudy Zalud.
"I'm very impressed not only by the initiative of the individuals in the program, but also by the way the entire community of Vermillion has come together to build this program and reach out to future leaders.
"It's quite inspirational, and can be a model for other communities across the state," Herseth said.