BHSU alum receives honorary doctorate during fall commencement ceremony

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, December 15, 2015/Categories: 2015

Dr. Rod Custer, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at BHSU, far left, and BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., far right, award BHSU alum Jerome Greene an honorary Doctor of Letters and Literature Degree during the 170th BHSU commencement ceremony Dec. 12.

Jerome Greene credits Black Hills State University for cultivating his passion for history into an accomplished lifelong career. The successes Greene achieved over the years were recognized during during the BHSU 170th commencement ceremony Dec. 12.

Greene, a 1968 graduate, received an honorary Doctor of Letters and Literature for his career as a National Park Service employee and an award-winning author.

BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr. and Dr. Rod Custer, vice president of academic affairs and provost, presented the honorary degree to Greene. The honorary doctorate is the highest honor bestowed by the South Dakota Board of Regents. Last spring Michael Shann received an honorary Doctor in Public Service Degree for his work producing the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

"Jerome Greene is a distinguished alumni," Custer said. "He has distinguished himself through outstanding service, exemplary achievements within his field."

Greene addressed more than 200 graduates, sharing his educational opportunities, 34-year career as a research historian, curator and manager with the National Park Service and work as an author.

"No place has meant more to me than the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota," Greene said. "And no place within the Black Hills has come to mean more to me than this institution."

Greene discussed his transition from the U.S. Army to a full-time student at Black Hills State College. He noted the University is a growing force in the region.

"Our family thrived here. I enjoyed my time in the community and in the college," he said.

Greene commended BHSU for not only a successful career that he thoroughly enjoyed. In addition to working with the National Park Service, Greene spent two years teaching American Indian history at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas. He also has authored 17 books, many that focus on American Indian history.

Greene shared his research at a special presentation on campus. His presentation focused on his latest book "American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890." Greene shared events that led up to the Wounded Knee Massacre and read an excerpt from the book, which provided first-hand encounters of the battle. Greene received the Spur Award for Best Western Historical Nonfiction for "American Carnage."

His success with writing over the years is something he credits BHSU for and he shared his hopes for the recent BHSU alums.

"What I learned at BHSU enabled me to follow my passion, to find my niche and run with it," Green said. "I commend each of you for your own accomplishment today. My hope is that you'll each find success as you follow your heart."
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