Black Hills State University president to depart from Spearfish campus

Photo courtesy of Black Hills State University

SPEARFISH, S.D. – Humboldt State University, an institution of the California State University system, announced today that Black Hills State University (BHSU) President Dr. Tom Jackson Jr. will become its next president in July.

An interim president will be chosen to lead BHSU, while the Board of Regents commences a national search for the next permanent president at the Spearfish Campus.

“We congratulate Dr. Jackson and wish him well at Humboldt State University,” said Paul B. Beran, the regents’ executive director and CEO. “The regents thank him for his service to South Dakota over the past five years.”

“We came to BHSU and Spearfish five years ago to build a stronger campus,” Jackson said. “It will always be a special place and an incredible university. We graciously thank the Board of Regents and the Spearfish community for allowing us this opportunity.”

Dr. Jackson was appointed the 10th president of BHSU in 2014; coming to the campus from the University of Louisville, where he had served as vice president for student affairs since 2007.

Jackson, who has served as BHSU President since 2014, provided strong leadership and vision for the University. He created an environment for high-quality, innovative academic programs and exceptional learning opportunities. Under his leadership, BHSU earned several accreditation milestones including receiving an extension of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is held by only five percent of the world’s business schools; being the first university in the state to earn the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation noting BHSU’s excellence in teacher preparation programs; and renewing Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation. Jackson supported the increase in grant dollars to more than $4.1 million. Several new academic programs were added to meet student and workforce needs in the region. BHSU has had a record number of graduates in recent years.

A first-generation student himself, Jackson is an inspiration to the many BHSU students who are the first in their families to attend college. During his five years at BHSU, Jackson has enhanced the University’s legacy of providing educational opportunities for American Indians and has formed strong bonds with Tribal universities in the state. His extensive international experience has opened doors for increased study abroad and service learning programs, along with the addition of new international partners. Under Jackson’s leadership, BHSU has increased the University’s presence in the community including membership on a diverse group of boards and committees as well as civic clubs and service organizations.

Jackson oversaw numerous campus facility improvements including the opening of the University’s first new residence hall in 50 years; establishment of the Underground Campus at Sanford Lab; remodeling of Jonas Science to serve as the state-of-the-art Sanford Science Education Center; establishment of the Admissions Welcome Center; the opening of the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center; and enhanced landscaping with the addition of a significant number of trees and creation of a hillside greenspace that improves access.. The University was recognized with the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce Business Beautification Award in 2018. Jackson set assertive sustainability goals and updated the campus’ Climate Action Plan.

With Jackson’s leadership, BHSU increased student engagement and organizations, established an aggressive Enrollment Management Plan, created and implemented a Strategic Plan, and developed revised mission, vision, and values statements. Jackson oversaw the completion of the first capital campaign for $26 million and initiated the second campaign currently at $38 million. He is especially gratified that the University was able to award nearly $2 million in scholarships (an increase of 82% in Foundation scholarships since 2014) and create new scholarships for local and regional students. 

Jackson placed a priority on strengthening collaborations with all higher learning institutions in the West River region, including the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the area Tribal Colleges, Western Dakota Technical Institute, Chadron State College, and National American University.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News