Of the 31 men and one woman who have served as Governor of South Dakota, 21 have held at least one college degree. The complete list is below, but here are a few observations:
- The University of South Dakota by far leads the list, with 10 graduates having served as governor.
- Only two other South Dakota universities have even one governor as a graduate: South Dakota State University (which has two) and the now-closed Huron College have one each.
- Besides USD and SDSU, the only other university that can claim more than one governor as a graduate is the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- Seven South Dakota governors hold degrees from current members of the Big Ten conference, reflecting that many of the state’s early leaders came from Midwestern states such as Iowa and Wisconsin.
Here is the complete list:
- University of South Dakota, Vermillion SD (10) – Carl Gunderson, Leslie Jensen, M. Q. Sharpe, George T. Mickelson, Sigurd Anderson, Joe Foss, Frank Farrar, Bill Janklow, George S. Mickelson, Dennis Daugaard
- University of Wisconsin, Madison WI (2) – Charles Herreid, Nils Boe
- South Dakota State University (2) – Mike Rounds, Kristi Noem
- Indiana University, Bloomington IN (1) – Arthur C. Mellette
- DePauw University, Greencastle IN (1) – Samuel H. Elrod
- University of Iowa, Iowa City IA (1) – Coe Crawford
- Beloit College, Beloit WI (1) – William McMaster
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI (1) – W. J. Bulow
- University of Minnesota, St. Paul MN (1) – Harlan J. Bushfield
- Huron College, Huron SD (1) – Harvey Wollman
- Northwestern University, Evanston IL (1) – Dennis Daugaard
Several of those listed earned more than one degree from the same university. Dennis Daugaard is the only SD governor to hold degrees from two different universities; he earned his undergraduate degree at USD and his law degree at Northwestern University.
Eleven South Dakota governors did not hold a college degree: Charles Sheldon, Andrew E. Lee, Robert S. Vessey, Frank M. Byrne, Peter Norbeck, Warren E. Green, Tom Berry, Ralph Herseth, Archie Gubbrud, Richard F. Kneip, and Walter Dale Miller. Some of them attended college but did not complete a degree; for example, Norbeck attended USD, Kneip attended South Dakota State College and St. John’s University, and Miller attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. (A more complete list is below).
Here is a list of college and universities which SD governors attended, but from which they did not graduate. It may not be a complete list:
- Herreid – Galesville University, Galesville WI (later Gale College, it closed in 1939)
- Vessey – Oshkosh (WI) Commercial College
- Norbeck – USD
- Gunderson – Cornell University, Ithaca NY
- Bushfield – Dakota Wesleyan University
- Sharpe – International Correspondence School; Kansas City (MO) Night School of Law
- Anderson – South Dakota State College (now SDSU)
- Foss – Sioux Falls College (now University of Sioux Falls); Augustana College (now Augustana University)
- Herseth – North Dakota State College (now NDSU); Northern State College (now NSU)
- Kneip – South Dakota State College, St. John’s University, Collegeville MN
- Wollman – Bethel College, St. Paul MN
- Miller – SD School of Mines and Technology
- Noem – Northern State University, Mount Marty University
Updated to reflect Kristi Noem’s election in 2018.