When prospective college students choose an institution, they expect it to be their home for the next four years. Unfortunately for some South Dakota college students, a sudden closure just threw a wrench in those plans.

Presentation College in Aberdeen announced on Tuesday they will no longer be enrolling students for the 2023-2024 academic year. The Catholic college will be ceasing educational operations at the Aberdeen campus.

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According to the shocking announcement, the Corporate Board of the Presentation Sisters (The group of nuns who founded the college in 1951.) have been evaluating the school's progress for at least a year. Many factors contributed to this closure including enrollment concerns for sustainability, the rural location making it difficult for students to access, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 impacts on Presentation College only accelerated the college's challenges.

President of the Presentation Sisters Corporate Board Sister Mary Thomas shares her emotional response to the closure:

“After careful evaluation of the sustainability of the College’s academic programs, and a thorough review of alternatives, the Board of Trustees and Presentation Sisters reluctantly decided to close the physical campus and implement Teach-Out programs as the most responsible way to steward students’ pathways to completing their degrees. We understand and share the heartbreak by our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Aberdeen community, and we will work closely with them to succeed through this transition.”

Unfortunately, I can relate to the pain the students of Presentation College are feeling. I've witnessed a grand total of three of my schools closing, including my college. On February 3rd, 2017, Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana announced they were suspending operations after the 2016-2017 academic year. I was just a year shy of graduation when this news shook my world.

The entire Puma community was devastated and angry. It might sound crazy, but some people still look for answers about this sudden closure. As for me, I live with some regret. I wasn't on campus the night the Board of Trustees made the heartbreaking news. Maybe I somehow hoped the news wasn't true. But I actually believe it hurt more because I wasn't surrounded by some of my friends.

Saint Joseph's College Memories

So if you are a heartbroken student from Presentation College reading this, here's my advice to you: Make memories with your friends, professors, and staff. I know you probably have so many questions and thoughts running through your head. Just take a deep breath...know it will all work out. Trust me, there is light at the end of this tunnel!

The full announcement and next steps for students at Presentation College can be found here.

Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots

The college football experience is an ultimate high for football fans and it takes several other teams to make that happen week after week during the season.
Just think about what goes into gameday? First and foremost, the players and coaching staff who put in hours and hours of practice and training to play in front of their fans. Then there's field prep, game officials, live broadcasts, concessions, and on-the-field entertainment. Yep, entertainment.

Second to the game, who do you watch? The cheerleaders? The band at halftime? What about the mascot? That's a job not many people can do.
I asked Sioux Falls native and former Cagey mascot for the Sioux Falls Canaries and Little Red & Herbie for the Nebraska Huskers Nate Welch about being a mascot:

  • What does it take to be a mascot?
  • "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
  • Why does the mascot never talk?
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
  • Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
  • "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."

Nate Welch has moved on from his days as a mascot to Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company in Vermillion, South Dakota.

So, can you name the mascots at our South Dakota Colleges and Universities? Check out the gallery below:

My Top 5 Favorite South Dakota Made Foods

As I was slicing a piece of cheese off my block of Dimock Dairy Colby cheese and boiling a ring of Bluebird Locker German sausage on the stove, I started thinking, "What foods is South Dakota known for?'

Then I realized the state is known for some of my favorite foods, are they're actually made right here in South Dakota!

So, I decided to search my cupboards and refrigerator looking for other South Dakota-made foods and came up with my Top 5.

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