Volume XXVII  No. 14 • April 4, 2003

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Welcome to Black Hills State University - top

  • Vincent Mahoney, custodial worker, Facilities Services

Resignation - top

  • Dennis Hothem, program assistant II, University Support Services

Meyers to have novel published next spring - top


A novel by Kent Meyers, assistant professor of English at Black Hills State University, The Work of Wolves, has been accepted for publication by Harcourt Brace. It is expected to be available next spring.

The novel is set in the middle of South Dakota and involves the relationships between three young men, a rancher, a Lakota high school student, and a German foreign exchange student, as they work to stop the abuse of three horses they discover in a pasture.

Meyers has three previously published books: a novel, The River Warren, a collection of essays, The Witness Of Combines and a collection of short stories, Light In the Crossing. He has also published fiction and non-fiction in national literary journals, including The Georgia Review and The Southern Review, and has won awards for several of his stories.

Meyers received his masters in English from Washington State University in 1980 and has been teaching at BHSU since 1986.

Theisz poems accepted for publication - top


Ronnie Theisz, professor of English and chair of the humanities department at Black Hills State University, recently had three poems accepted for publication by the Vermillion Literary Project.

The poems, “Dream Catcher #52,” “The Summer of Her Leaving,” and “Between the Black Mountains and Crow Creek,” are scheduled for publication in the Vermillion Literary Project’s 2003 magazine.

Theisz has been invited to attend a reception and authors’ reading Thursday, April 24 in Vermillion where he will receive a free contributor’s copy of the magazine.

Theisz received his doctorate in literature from New York University in 1972 and has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 1977.

Department of History and Social Science at BHSU will honor retiring faculty - top


The Department of History and Social Science at Black Hills State University will honor retiring faculty members Ms. Margaret Lewis and Dr. Tom Hills Sunday, April 13 from 3-5 p.m. at Hudson Hall, 222 West Hudson Street in Spearfish. The public is invited to attend this reception.

Lewis, assistant professor of sociology, joined the BHSU faculty in 1972. She earned her undergraduate degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree in sociology from Indiana University.

Hills has been a member of the university faculty since 1969. He served as chairman of the junior college division, chairman of social science division and dean of the college of business and public affairs in addition to teaching. He is a 1962 graduate of BHSU and earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Oregon.

For further information contact Dr. Riley Chrisman at 642-6365.

Events and speakers announced for Indian Awareness Week - top                                                      

Black Hills State University will sponsor the annual wacipi (powwow), the Kevin Whirlwind Horse Run, an art and fashion show as well as several nationally known speakers in honor of Indian Awareness Week April 7-12.

The 21st annual wacipi will be held April 11, 12 and 13 at the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center. An art show and sale and fashion show are a new addition to the weekend of activities. Forty Native American and western artists will display their artwork throughout the weekend. The fashion show is  Saturday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m.

The Kevin Whirlwind Horse Memorial Run/Walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The annual buffalo feed will also be Saturday, at 5 p.m. at the Marketplace in the Student Union.

Speakers, including special presentations by nationally known speakers Billy Mills and Joseph Marshall III, are scheduled throughout the week.

Mills, known for his gold medal Olympic win, will present “Global Unity Through Global Diversity” at 5:30 p.m. at the Young Center Fieldhouse. Mills remains active in Native American causes today and a 1984 movie Running Brave was based on his victory. An Oglala Sioux Indian, Mills surprised the world with his upset at the 1964 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan, when he won the gold medal.

Mills grew up on an Oglala Sioux Indian reservation and was orphaned at the age of 12. He started distance running while attending the Haskell Institute, an Indian school in the city of Lawrence, Kan., as part of his training to become a boxer. He later decided to pursue running over boxing and his talent and hard work proved to be successful in several distance events.

At University of Kansas in the late 50s, Mills continued to improve his running skills. He was a 1958 and 1959 All-American in cross country while at Kansas. In 1960, Mills won the individual title in the Big Eight Conference's cross country.

He went on to become a marine lieutenant and concentrated on serving in the Marine Corps. However, he returned to racing, and posted times that were good enough to qualify him for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Mills was entered in the 10,000 meter run, which no American had ever won in an Olympics nor has won since. Though his qualifying time was nearly a minute slower than fellow competitor, Mills used a burst of energy in the last 100 meters of the race and held the lead as they others fought unsuccessfully to catch Mills. He broke the tape with a new Olympic record time of 28 minutes and 24 seconds. After the Olympics, Mills went on to set several other records in distance running before retiring from competition. In 1965, he set an outdoor world record in the six mile run, along with U.S. records in the 10,000 meter and three mile races.  

Joseph Marshall III will give a lunch presentation Friday, April 11 at 11:30 a.m., in the Student Union Jacket Legacy Room. Marshall has been a teacher at the high school and college levels, an educational and health programs administrator for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, a craftsman of primitive Lakota bows and arrows, an historian, and a writer. He has helped to form a non-profit advocacy group for Native American students and parents, develop and implement Native American studies curriculum, spearhead the planning and design phase for the eventual construction of a hospital, as well as serve as a founder and charter board member of Sinte Gleska University. 

Marshall has published five books in addition to contributing to four other publications. His sixth work in progress, Thunder Dreamer: The Journey of Crazy Horse, is scheduled for publication in 2003. Writing led him to public speaking and he has addressed audiences across this country and also in France, Sweden, and Siberia.  In addition he teaches management seminars and presents workshops and seminars based on his books. Marshall has also written several screenplays and appeared as an actor is several well-known shows including The Real West and the television mini-series Return to Lonesome Dove.

Marshall is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and he and his wife Connie have a blended family of nine: six daughters and three sons, and three grandchildren. A complete schedule of events for Indian Awareness Week with the theme “Celebrating American Indian Storytellers” follows. For more information on any of these events contact the BHSU Center for Indian Studies at 605-642-6578. These events are sponsored by the Center for Indian Studies, South Dakota Humanities Council, BHSU Grants Office and Lakota Omniciye.

A complete schedule of events for Indian Awareness Week with the theme “Celebrating American Indian Storytellers” follows. For more information on any of these events contact the BHSU Center for Indian Studies at 605-642-6578. These events are sponsored by the Center for Indian Studies, South Dakota Humanities Council, BHSU Grants Office and Lakota Omniciye.

Spring Film Series concludes April 10 - top

The final film of the Spring 2003 Film Series at Black Hills State University will be shown Thursday, April 10 at 6 p.m. in Jonas 305.

“What Time Is It There?” was directed in 2000 by Ming-liang Tsai. The film features Lee Kang-sheng as Hsiao Kang, a man who sells watches in the streets of Taipei for a living. A few days after his father’s death, Kang meets a young woman, Shiang-Chyi, who leaves for Paris the very next day. In an effort to bridge the miles between them, Kang runs around setting all the watches and clocks in Taipei to Paris time. Meanwhile, in Paris, Shiang-Chyi is herself confronted with events that mysteriously seem to be connected with Kang. The surprising ending finally connects the two main characters in a poetic, unexpected way.

The film will be shown on DVD. There is no admission charge and the public is welcome to attend. Free popcorn will be available courtesy of the BHSU Residence Hall Association. For more information contact David Salomon at davidsalomon@bhsu.edu or 642-6249.

BHSU will host Community Band and Chamber Winds concert - top

The Black Hills State University Community Band and Chamber Winds will present their “Rags, Marches, Spirituals, and Swing” concert Monday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room.

Chamber groups will perform as well as a full band consisting of a clarinet ensemble, the Spearfish Sax Quintet, a flute trio, and a brass choir.

During the concert a raffle will be held to win a conductor’s baton and a chance to conduct the band that night as they play Sousa’s Washington Post march. The winner needs no musical ability. Proceeds will go toward scholarships in the BHSU music department.

For more information contact Christopher Hahn, instructor of music at BHSU, at

Two BHSU students honored for Addy wins - top

Black Hills State University mass communication students Mark Muniz and Mike Palmer both won student advertising awards at the Third Annual Student Advertising Awards (SDAF) competition.

Palmer, a senior communication art major from Spearfish, won a student award for his self-portrait computer illustration. Muniz, a junior art major from Newcastle, Wyo., received a citation for his self-portrait entry. Both students had created the entries as a part of a class project in an advanced computer production class.

According to Linn Nelson, assistant professor of mass communication at BHSU, the competition is open to full or part-time students in the study of advertising, design, or related fields at a post-secondary institution in South Dakota. The students were honored at the awards ceremony in Sioux Falls recently.

The ADDY® Awards, which is the industry's largest and most representative competition for creative excellence, includes both a student and a professional category. A total of 11 student awards were presented.

BHSU photography students recognized in international competition - top  

By Antonia Kucera, student intern

Black Hills State University students, Mandi Mutchler, Jessie Polenz and April Mol, who are all seniors, and recent graduate John Engelbrecht were recently chosen as finalists in the annual College Photographers Competition by Photographer’s Forum magazine. The finalists and winners’ photographs from this international competition will appear in the 2003 Best of College Photography Annual in June.

Besides their success in the competition, Steve Babbitt, associate professor of photography at BHSU, says these diverse photographers have something else in common - they work hard and always try to push themselves to improve at what they do.

“Inclusion in this competition is a testimony to their hard work, their creativity, and their technical prowess,” said Babbitt.  More than 3,000 college students submitted more than 20,000 photographs for consideration and only the top seven percent were chosen as finalists or winners.

Last year only one BHSU student, Andrea Antrobus, entered the competition and she was accepted for publication; this year, four students were accepted and Engelbrecht even received an honorable mention. Babbitt hopes the recent success is the start of a new trend at BH and would like to see future students reach the same heights in this competition.


The photography program at BHSU has grown in the eight years since associate professor Steve Babbitt joined the staff.  Babbitt has helped develop and implement new courses to create a program that is consistently growing in student interest. In recent years, the program received approval for students to pursue both a major and a minor in photography, under the mass communications area in the College of Arts and Sciences.

According to Babbitt, the extensive growth in photography at BHSU is due in part to dedication by the students as well as the provision of facilities by the university. After the 2002 demolition of Cook Hall which previously housed the photography darkroom and classroom, the photo department moved to the basement of Jonas Hall. Along with the move came a larger darkroom, classroom, studio and the establishment of a photographer’s gallery, where students show their work.

Babbitt is glad to be given the opportunity to build such a successful photography program and work with students such as Engelbrecht, Mutchler, Polenz, and Mol.

“They have much to be proud of,” he said. “I certainly am proud of them.”

Future students will have to push the limits to live up to what this year’s winning photographers have accomplished. Engelbrecht, Mutchler, Polenz and Mol’s winning photographs all display some of their best work and each has its own story.

John Engelbrecht, 25, graduated from BHSU in December 2002 with an art major and a minor in photography.  He always liked photography and has advanced from snapping shots of his friends to capturing on film the drama of his life.

Engelbrecht has developed a distinctive style in his work. He describes his photography as humanistic, expressionistic, universal in theme, against the mainstream, and much like a personal journal. He works mostly in black and white, but experiments in alternative processes such as montage, chemical staining, solarizing, and has even devised various ways to include words in his photographs. He photographs the physical world that affects him personally, such as his wife and two children, and influences the message by commenting on the image with his thoughts. He feels that taking away color and adding the abstract quality of black and white emphasizes his ideas.

Recently, Engelbrecht traveled to New York for an interview at Yale, where he hopes to pursue a graduate degree. Yale, he feels, has an intense program and will give him good exposure to the art world. He would like to teach upper-level classes, combining photography and philosophy, which would meet in a casual environment and pull in students “exploding with creativity and passion.”

“John’s strength is his high level of creativity and his willingness to try anything. He is extremely tenacious,” according to Babbitt.

Mutchler, a senior art major with a minor in photography, entered a photograph of a baby that holds personal, sentimental meaning because the child is her cousin. She mostly photographs people she knows, and most recently she has used her design capabilities working in fashion and commercial photography.

Though Mutchler loves the look of color photography, she works mostly in black and white partially because she has yet to take the color class; however, she likes black and white because it is more abstract and it shows an unusual aspect - we do not see in black and white. She usually takes pictures of people, but she also likes to shoot interesting objects she owns. She likes working in a semi-controlled environment so she can focus on light, shapes, and the graphic quality in her photographs.

Mutchler plans to graduate next May and hopes to go to graduate school. Career-wise, she hopes to pursue the commercial aspect of photography and eventually teach at the university level.

“Mandi has an advantage of being very technically skilled as well as being insightful and creative in her approach to photography,” Babbitt said. “She also has a unique way of combining the artistic and commercial aspects of her work.”

Polenz, a senior art and English major with photography, writing and philosophy minors, won with a photograph that is part of a continuing study exploring the relationships of small-town teenagers. Polenz continues to photographs what society would call “troubled teens,” studying her sisters’ relationships with themselves and their boyfriends. This difficult subject matter has produced a series of gritty, intimate images.

Polenz came to BH straight out of high school in Hill City to pursue an art degree. She was interested in human expression from the start - the first picture she ever printed captured a great expression on her sister’s face and got Jessie interested in the subject matter, even though she had a way to go compositionally and technically. Polenz searches for subjective content in her work. She moves away from completely abstract photography and usually takes pictures of people because of the emotion they are capable of showing.

Polenz plans to graduate next May and hopes to work with art in some way, maybe in a photography or art gallery, or with writing, maybe in a publishing company. Ideally, she would like to work with all of these aspects.

“Jessie has worked hard on a difficult subject matter - capturing the intricacies of relationships - and it is paying off. She regularly pushes the imagery to the edge and has a keen sense of where that edge is; she makes images that are powerful but not heavy-handed,” said Babbitt.

Mol’s winning photograph was a spur of the moment action that turned out just how she hoped it would. The image of her younger sister is an ideal portrayal of the unconventional portraits Mol likes to shoot. Mol is a senior mass communications major and theatre major with a minor in art.

Mol primarily works in black and white photographically because she likes the abstract quality. “I don’t like to confine myself to one genre or theme,” she said. “I like to be a versatile photographer.”

Mol plans to graduate next May and begin graduate school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Her ideal career would involve traveling, taking photographs for the National Geographic or a similar publication.

“Through her hard work in the past two years, April has come an incredible distance in her photography,” Babbitt said. Her achievements are evidenced by her inclusion in this publication.”

BHSU student receives scholarship for business plan - top 

Shawn Darling, a Black Hills State University business administration major from Black Hawk, recently received a Genesis of Innovation scholarship.

The scholarship will pay for two, three-credit hour independent studies so he can further his business idea under the direction of faculty mentors Priscilla Romkema and Verona Beguin. Eventually, a business person will also be brought on as a business mentor.

Darling’s plan is to develop technical and innovative ways to bolster an off-road vehicle dealership/fishing boat line with a full service department and parts and accessories.

Dr. Paul Gnirk, president of the Genesis of Innovation for South Dakota, a non-profit group focusing on the commercialization of private sector and university-based innovation, announced the scholarship recipients. Gnirk sponsors the BHSU Genesis scholarship.

BHSU athletics places 15th nationally - top

Black Hills State University placed 15th in the nation for the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Sears Director’s Cup for the athletic teams’ performances during the winter standings in the NAIA.

“I am proud of our student-athletes and coaches and their commitment to success,” said Bud Synhorst, BHSU athletic director. “It shows their dedication to being the best possible representatives of BHSU.”

BHSU at 15th nationally, trailed the University of Mary, ranked fourth, and Dickinson State University, ranked eighth.

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between NACDA and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 12 sports – six women’s and six men’s.  Each national champion receives 100 points.

Faculty research funds available - top

The Faculty Research Committee has funds available for the current fiscal year. Write a short (about three-page) proposal. Proposal forms are available in the Grants and Special Projects Office, Woodburn 309, or can be printed from the website.

It is anticipated that successful applicants will request support for faculty release time, research equipment, travel to research sites or research support for the production of creative work. Preference is given to new applicants, particularly in the areas of education, business, social sciences and humanities. Applications are now being accepted for faculty release time for spring 2004. Release time is awarded to full-time faculty who teach on the BHSU campus. The next application deadline is Friday, April 25 at 12 p.m.

The applicants are encouraged to contact the committee members for advice prior to completing their proposals. The members are John Alsup, Earl Chrysler, Tom Cox, Abdollah Farrokhi (chair), Jim Hess, Kathleen Parrow, Shane Sarver, and Rob Schurrer. 

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