Meet Barry Dunn, 2022 McGraw Prize winner for Higher Education

October 15, 2022

"The thing that sets the work with Wokini, (“a new beginning”) apart, is that because of my age, but also experience and commitment to understanding history, I knew the history of the land grant system. It is our land-grant commitment to provide access to all, A-L-L. It doesn't say all of one type of people, all of another type of people, it says everyone. I knew whose land it was. I knew how the federal government got around the treaties to make it happen.

[Before the strategic planning process I started when I arrived seven years ago,] we had never thought of ourselves as a premier university. So that's a big, big step for [South Dakota State]. We're kind of Midwest nice and Midwest humble, and we don't rank exceptionally high in U.S. News and World Report. We don't rank high because of a commitment that's been held for a long time, to provide access to all students, not just an elite group of students."


ABOUT DR. DUNN: Dr. Barry Dunn’s work to improve college access for Native Americans advances the principles of equity and inclusion and demonstrates the power of education to elevate human potential, two core principles of the McGraw Prize. Dunn is president of South Dakota State University, where he created the Wokini Initiative to increase programming and support for students from South Dakota’s nine tribal nations. He was also instrumental in advocating for a new federally funded grant program for tribal students at 22 land grant universities and tribal universities.