Version of Record
The ninth of August 1888 was a day to remember in the history of South Dakota State University and the life of one of its first students. On that day, John Merton Aldrich and two classmates graduated from the institution then known as Dakota Agricultural College (DAC), becoming the first to complete the full college program. Excited and a little dazed, having just become engaged to be married the previous day, Aldrich still took time to recount the ceremonies in his diary, a record he had faithfully kept throughout his three years at DAC. Among his teachers and mentors at the fledgling institution was Robert Floyd Kerr, who would go on to become one of the university's most highly respected faculty members. Kerr shared Aldrich's passion for recording events, and the professor's diaries and memoirs, along with his student's journal entries, bring to life the characters and occurrences that shaped the college. Although the two men inhabited the same building and shared many of the same experiences, their points of view often differed. Taken together, their writings paint a vibrant portrait of the university's early history, allowing modern-day readers to see college life in 1880s Dakota Territory from both sides of the desk.
South Dakota History
South Dakota State Historical Society
Copyright © 2000 South Dakota State Historical Society. Posted with permission.
Lindell, Lisa R., "Collegiate Life from Both Sides of the Desk: South Dakota State University in the 1880s" (2000). Hilton M. Briggs Library Faculty Publications. 38.