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Spirit of the Hills

The Spirit of the Hills - Transcript


The black hills are a place of mighty vistas, rushing, icy waters, and thundering hooves. But the full black hills experience is much more than physical sensation. There's a spirit that draws certain personalities leading them to insights they may not discover elsewhere. Before recorded history, according to Cheyenne tradition, the prophet Sweet Medicine was drawn here to learn spiritual truths that continue to guide his people today. The Lakota people from across vast plains gathered here in 1857 to determine a response to chaos soon to engulf their world. In 1885, Fayette Cook responded to a rather vague invitation that led to his arrival in Spearfish. He could never completely explain why he stayed, and during harsh frontier conditions. He worked towards the seemingly impossible, establishing a school that would prepare quality teachers for this region. Cook remained and labored for the rest of his long life and is remembered as Black Hills State University's founding president. By the turn of the twentieth century, not only South Dakotans, but students from six other states were enrolled. For a while in the 1930s, Spearfish was the biggest town in the nation without rail service. It didn't matter. Those destined to be touched by the spirit of the hills always found their way to this place by learning and inspiration. They've succeeded close to home, and far away. At the start of the twenty-first century, the Black Hills offered a new reason for coming here to learn. The world-class Sanford Underground Science Lab, minutes from the BHSU campus, promised to reveal to physicists the building blocks of the universe. BHSU students, educators, and future educators connect with the exciting discoveries being made at the lab, and the BHSU underground campus. Of course, students today can access BHSU courses online from anywhere. They know though that they are not connecting to a nebulous institution in cyberspace. They're being drawn to a school as tangible as mountain granite and attuned to the spirit of the hills.

Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.

There's a spirituality to the hills every time you look at it's natural beauty or hear what it is saying to one individual or individuals. There are two things that really matter most that I picked up living here in this community. First is people matter, and they matter a lot. The second is do everything we can as a university to protect the environment and the tranquility of the hills.