Dakota Wesleyan University – A Proud Heritage
Dakota was still a territory in 1885 when the Dakota Conference of the Methodist Church voted to establish Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell (known as Dakota University until Oct. 14, 1904). These pioneers had deep religious convictions about the education and future of their children. So they lived in houses of sod on the Dakota prairie as they forged ahead with their dream of building this institution of stone.
The founders of Dakota Wesleyan University envisioned an institution that epitomized the highest Christian thought and deed, and so adopted the motto, “Sacrifice or Service.” This is depicted in the collegiate seal of the altar, the ox and the plow – symbols for these concepts. To this day, those associated with DWU endeavor to carry out its mission of service to God and humanity.
Now, more than 120 years later, DWU is still committed to transforming the lives of students.
With fewer than 800 students, Dakota Wesleyan University has a reputation for caring and concern toward its students. The student-to-faculty ratio (14:1) allows our faculty to get to know each student on a personal basis, providing mentorship, guidance and professional collaboration as essential parts of the education process. Students come from the Midwest and other locations around the United States. DWU has also welcomed many international students, most recently from Curacaos, Brazil, Ireland, Venezuela and Canada.
An essential aspect of a Dakota Wesleyan University education is service. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in service projects in the community and around the state. Past projects have included serving meals at the Love Feast, an organization that provides free meals to less fortunate members of the community; building furniture for a Bosnian refugee family; working on a home for Habitat for Humanity; and collecting school supplies and books for needy children. Groups have participated in mission trips both in the United States and other countries.
DWU’s rich tradition of service enters the 21st century with the inauguration of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service. The life and work of George McGovern-DWU class of 1946 and former professor of history at DWU-his wife Eleanor, epitomize this tradition of service. The McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service creates a culture of service to the common good and provides educational programs on leadership and public service through a variety of curricular and co- curricular avenues, interwoven with many of DWU’s academic programs, including nursing, education and business. The McGovern Library houses the McGovern Archives and is a rich source of information and inspiration for those interested in public service, the alleviation of hunger and poverty, and political activism. The McGovern Library is also home to the campus bookstore, Java City coffee house and a 24 hour multimedia lab.