U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) will deliver the keynote address at spring commencement, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. in the DakotaDome.
Thune, who received his M.B.A. from USD in 1984, will deliver remarks to a graduating class of 1,014 students. A native of Murdo. Thune resides in Sioux Falls with his wife, Kimberly, and their two daughters. A three-term member of the House of Representatives from 1996 through 2002, Thune won his first term in the United States Senate when he unseated incumbent Tom Daschle in 2004. He currently serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; the Armed Services Committee; the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and the Small Business Committee.
Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford will be honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree at spring commencement. Sanford, a St. Paul, MN, native, co-founded First Premier Capital in Minneapolis, MN, after purchasing First Premier Bank and developing the credit card company Premier Bankcard. After forming the Sanford Foundation for charitable giving, Sanford has donated millions of dollars to several organizations, including The University of South Dakota's Sanford School of Medicine, and for construction of the Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls.
In addition to the recognition of Sanford, The University of South Dakota will also acknowledge distinguished faculty members from the 2006-07 academic year, including recipients of the Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching; the Richard and Sharon Cutler Awards in Liberal Arts; the John Wesley Jackson Memorial Award presented to the outstanding professor of law; and the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Professor Award.
Spring commencement exercises will conclude with the USD Chamber Singers leading the audience in the singing of Alma Mater.