Dr. Richard Kessel, professor emeritus from the University of Iowa, recently pledged $75,000 to the Black Hills State University photography program.

Dr. Richard Kessel, professor emeritus from the University of Iowa, recently pledged $75,000 over the next three years to the Black Hills State University photography program.

Kessel, who has been a professor for 38 years, has visited the photography program at BHSU many times and has seen how dedicated the photography students at BHSU are. That dedication motivated Kessel to help the program by making this donation to the University.

Kessel’s gift is earmarked for photography equipment, research grants, and scholarships. He knows how money can make a huge difference in education, especially in a technology reliant program such as photography.

Steve Babbitt, professor of photography, is very thankful of Kessel for the gift. “Dr. Kessel has been extremely generous helping our photography program. We have been able to affect curriculum by adding courses and have brought our facilities and equipment up-to-date as a result of this gift. “

“Dr. Kessel’s kindness will allow Black Hills State University to compete with most any photography program in the country,” notes Babbitt.

The photography program at BHSU, which has grown significantly in the last eight years and has received national attention for students’ work in photojournalism, commercial photography, and fine art photography. This year BHSU ranked in the top ten in the nation among college level photography programs for the number of students whose photographs were selected as finalists in the 26th Annual College Photographer’s Competition by Photographer’s Forum magazine. Students with a mass communication major with a photography emphasis take a variety of classes including basic and advanced black and white photography, color photography, digital imaging, photojournalism, contemporary issues, basic and advanced photography studio lighting, the history of photography, and alternative silver and digital processes.

Kessel has issued a challenge to the University community, alumni, and friends to collectively match his gift to ensure a quality program well into the future. According to Steve Meeker, vice president of University Advancement, “Leaving such a legacy will transform the lives of many students interested in pursuing the photography program.”

For more information about giving to BHSU, contact Meeker at 605-642-6385 or Steve.Meeker@BHSU.edu.