The 2021 Dakota Days celebration is scheduled for Oct. 1-3.
Arguably the most highly anticipated campus tradition, Dakota Days devotes an entire week to showcasing the pride and school spirit that define life at USD. The homecoming festivities take place every October and boast plenty of events for students, alumni and individuals of all ages.
A Little History
The Beginning of Dakota Days
Robert Slagle, the ninth president of the University of South Dakota, brought the idea of Dakota Day with him to USD, and the USD Students’ Association organized the first Dakota Day on November 20, 1914.
On a sunny Friday, parade participants assembled in front of East Hall. The first Miss Dakota, Fern Wassum, led the parade in a car decorated with red and white bunting. The parade wound through Vermillion and met the Yankton College football team at the train station. USD won the football game 33-3.
The Volante reporting on the day said, “Without a doubt, a more cosmopolitan gathering never assembled in this section of the country.”
Dakota Days Royalty
Fern Wassem, Class of 1917, was the first woman to become Miss Dakota. She was elected by a student vote and rode the parade in a car decorated with red and white bunting. The honor of Mr. Dakota was added to the Dakota Days tradition in 1986 with Karlton Adam, Class of 1987, being the first to bear that title.
USD Fight Songs
The University of South Dakota has not one, but three fight songs: Hail South Dakota, South Dakota Victory and Get Along Coyotes. All are used to rally and unite Coyotes on the playing field or anywhere alumni gather. Most commonly, back-to-back renditions of Hail South Dakota and South Dakota Victory are played as one “official” song at fan and alumni functions.