Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD) is the keynote speaker for the 36th Winter Commencement ceremony at the University of South Dakota on Saturday, Dec. 17. More than 470 students will receive degrees during the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. at the DakotaDome on the USD campus.
A native of Hamlin County in northeast South Dakota, Noem was elected to the United States House of Representatives on Nov. 2, 2010 after serving in the South Dakota House of Representatives. Win the U.S. House, Noem serves on the Agriculture, Education and Workforce, and Natural Resources Committees. While a member of the state house, Noem represented South Dakota's 6th District and was Assistant Majority Leader before taking a run at Congress.
Prior to her career in state and national politics, Noem was an experienced rancher, farmer, and hunting lodge owner and operator. She grew up on a farm where she learned the value of hard work caring for cattle and horses, and helping with planting and the harvest. Her work on the farm and ranch didn't go unnoticed. In 1997, Noem received the South Dakota Outstanding Young Farmer award and six years later she was honored with the South Dakota Young Leader award.
In addition to her work in the state and U.S. House, Noem's service includes the South Dakota State Farm Agency State Committee, the Commission for Agriculture in the 21st Century, the South Dakota Soybean Association, and numerous other boards and committees, including as Hamlin County 4-H Leaders Association president. She and her husband, Bryon, still call Hamlin County home along with their three children, Kassidy, Kennedy and Booker.