UA 53.34




1.0 linear feet (1 oversize box)


David B. Doner was Registrar at South Dakota State College. This collection is composed of a scrapbook, which largely documents his career of public service.

Historical Note

Born July 7, 1895 in Sully County (SD) to Benton and Harriette L. (Hunt) Doner, David “Dave” Benton Doner became known as “Mr. State College” because he spent almost his entire life (42 years) in association with SDSU, dedicating his efforts to its furtherance.

He had four brothers (Ralph D., John C, Harold H, and Howard M) and one sister, Ruth L. (John) Evans. On April 24, 1918, he married Edna Pearl Beals, with whom he had three children: Valeria (Paul) Marcil, Dean Doner, and Keith Doner. Edna Doner died in1975.

In 1913, David Doner arrived at SDSC, a member of the first four-year class to be graduated from its School of Agriculture (for high school age students). In 1918, his freshman college year was interrupted by WWI. In 1919 and 1920, he taught agriculture to returning soldiers at SDSC. In 1920, he became assistant secretary of the College, while working on his B.S. degree, which he received in 1928. From 1922 to 1953, he was the SDSC Registrar; in 1953, he became director of Admissions and Records. In 1932, he became the Dean of Men. From 1936 to 1961, he was Secretary of the alumni council, where he was editor of the Alumnus. From its inception in 1945 until 1964, he was the Treasurer of the SDSC Alumni Foundation, which awarded him “Distinguished Alumnus” in 1964. He retired in 1964 and lived Apache Junction, AZ. In 1973, SDSU awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humanities.

David Doner was also active in the community: supervisor of the Boy Scouts training program; member and President of the Brookings (SD) School Board; Sec-Treasurer of the SD State Associated School Boards; District Governor and International Trustee of Kiwanis; and Chair of the finance committee to raise funds to build the Crippled Children’s Hospital and School in Sioux Falls.

David Doner died in September of 1978.

During his career, he served nine SDSU Presidents and signed 12,693 of the diplomas awarded by SDSU. At his final commencement in this role on June 7, 1964, the last diploma he signed was the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree awarded by SDSC to Ray C. Cunningham of Ames, IA. Ray Cunningham (then of Conde, SD) had met David Doner at “the train depot, got me a room and a job and took me under his fatherly wing,” when David first arrived at SDSU from his family’s Potter County farm in November, 1913.

Content Notes

The collection is comprised of David B. Doner’s scrapbook, which largely documents his career of public service. It also includes five loose family photographs.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


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