The Vermillion Rotary Club met at its usual venue, the Freedom Forum on the USD campus, on Tuesday, march 9. After a lunch of lasagna and giant string beans our meeting was called to order by President Dave Lorenz, who led in reciting the boy Scout Prayer and the "Four-Way Test" for Rotarians in their business and social dealings. Damian Donahue led in the singing of two songs, with Jack Noble providing piano accompaniment. President Lorenz made several announcements, including the coming visit of Rotary's International President-elect on April 13, and the fact the Vermillion Rotary will be providing two scholarships for Vermillion High School seniors this year. Rev. Bob Grossmann introduced his family's foreign exchange student, Franziska Neis of Ulm, Germany, and Franziska then gave a brief talk explaining her stay in Vermillion.
Our program was given by Dave Gottsleben, head track coach for USD. Coach Gottsleben thanked President Lorenz for helping the track team maintain a 3.1 grade point average, and then described in some detail the transition of the University from NCAA Division II to Division I, particularly in athletics. A very wise method of making this transition for several schools was the establishment of the temporary Great Western Conference, making it possible for these schools to have a level field of competition even while they were beginning to schedule established Division I schools. Mr. Gottsleben is sure that the move to Division I will prove profitable for USD since there are 29 Division I track champions, as opposed to only nine in Division II. USD hosted the Great Western Indoor track meet recently and found great respect for the USD organization from schools as far away as New Jersey and Texas. USD also came away with an unexpected championship with 17 of their 22 entrants posting their season's best efforts at this meet. USD is also planning to host the outdoor Great West Conference meet at Yankton, later this spring. In the meantime, USD will also host four major high school track meets that will bring a total of 5,000 high school athletes to Vermillion and the USD campus, clearly a great recruiting tool for USD. Following the next year's athletic season, USD will become part of the Summit Conference of NCAA Division I schools, and will be back to facing its traditional foes in athletics at South Dakota State, North Dakota and Augustana. Coach Gottsleben also spoke about several of the very talented athletes that are now part of the USD track program. We thank Coach Gottsleben for a very interesting and informative program.
Our meeting was closed with the traditional singing of the first stanza of My Country 'Tis of Thee.