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DSU Archives: History of DSU

The Many Names of DSU

Dakota Normal School, 1881-1902

Madison State Normal School, 1902-1921

Eastern State Normal School, 1921-1924

Eastern State Teachers College, 1924-1947

General Beadle State Teachers College, 1947-1964

General Beadle State College, 1964-1969

Dakota State College, 1969-1989

Dakota State University, 1989-Present

The History of Dakota State University

Dakota State University, Past 

                               First Dakota State University Building, 1886                                                        Dakota State University Campus, 2022

Dakota State University is located in the ancestral territory of the Oceti Sakowin, an alliance made up of the Isanti, Ihanktunwan, and Titunwan. Today, these peoples are represented by the nine federally recognized tribes of South Dakota: The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe. 

Dakota Normal School at Madison, Dakota Territory was authorized by Territorial Legislature on March 5. The school utilized 20 acres of land donated by Mr. C.B. Kennedy. The deed stipulated if the land were ever used for anything but its original intent (a teacher’s preparation institution) or discontinued, the site would be returned to the Kennedy estate.

Although the school has shifted their primary focus of education to the cyber world, Dakota State remains one of the few universities in the nation who provides students with the technology needed to excel in any career.

The Lake County Historical Society

Lake County Museum
Lake County Historical Society, 2022

Dakota State University shares its campus with the Lake County Historical Society, previously known as the Smith Zimmerman Heritage Museum. According to their website, "the Lake County Historical Society, along with the Lake County Museum, enriches lives through education and preservation. We are dedicated to linking the past to the future by collecting, documenting, preserving, securing, researching, exhibiting and interpreting objects of cultural developmental and historical value to the Lake County area from the mid-1800’s to the present." 

The museum is presently located on the campus of Dakota State University. Museum hours are 9AM-3PM, Tuesday through Friday. For more information, visit: