Winter 2012/13
education,” she said. “Every day of my career, and in many other
parts of my life, the lessons I learned back in the USD English
department came to bear. Developing a love for the language, and
of writing, that truly opened doors that I use every day.”
When Britton, S.D. native Frank Farrar completed his
business and law degrees in 1951 and 1953, he took a number
of lessons with him. He served as the state’s attorney general,
and then was elected governor of South Dakota in 1969. “USD
fit me because the place was really
friendly and there were only about
3,500 of us, so for a common guy
like me, it was a good fit,” said
Farrar. “As an undergraduate, I was
a house president for the Alpha Tau
Omega fraternity, president of the
Inter-Fraternity Council and of the
student body. The post-World War
II veterans had a big influence on me
because many were five or six years
older than I was, and so I had to be stronger.”
Originally from Pierre, S.D., Dr. Erica Schipper ’00,
’04 served her country in the U.S. Navy after completing
medical school, and she said the experiences she had—as SGA
president, a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and a
dedicated student in both the honors program and the School of
Medicine—paid dividends when she began her career. “I began
my naval career with impressionable young medical corpsmen,
new to their work. I remembered the start of my career with
Dr. [Michael] Hein and Professor Paul Bunger guiding me and
helping me take off,” Schipper said. “I tried to do the same
thing with these young sailors. I let them fly, but held out a net
just in case. From my time as SGA president to now, each step
has helped me improve my leadership, but it really began in
Vermillion.” She continues her career in obstetrics and gynecology
at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.
While Bruce Nolop ’72 began his time at USD making a big
adjustment—the university’s nature was a far cry from Mobridge,
S.D. where he went to high school—he got the opportunities
he needed to eventually lead in the boardroom. “For me, going
to USD was the biggest adjustment in my career progression,
but it was faculty who made a difference, and who boosted my
confidence,” said Nolop, who graduated with a degree in political
science, held leadership positions in both his fraternity, Delta
Tau Delta, and student government. “From Doc (W.O.) Farber
to Nancy Zuercher in English, I had so many mentors, men
and women who brought out my best attributes. In college, you
have to lead with persuasion, and you’re forced to build teams
and trust. It was the best laboratory for developing that style of
leadership a person could ask for.”
Col. Andrea Thompson ’88 of Sioux Falls came to USD
for academic and sports opportunities. What she found was a
chance to perfect her leadership skills in a wide range of campus
environments, from varsity athletics to student government, as a
member of Alpha Phi sorority and as sports editor at
The Volante.
“I was blessed with many upperclassmen friends who indirectly
influenced me, who showed me various approaches to leadership
that I was able to make my own, taking parts from each,” said
Thompson. She currently serves as a Senior Fellow for Gen.
Raymond Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army, in his Strategic
Studies Group. “At the foundation of any good leader are values
and loyalty and my foundation was put in place by growing up
in South Dakota,” she said. “I was able to build upon it at USD.
Nothing can fully prepare a person for combat or the intense
stress of deployment to warzones like in Iraq or Afghanistan, but
when you face adversity as a leader, that foundation is essential.
You know what right looks like. My friends, classmates and the
faculty at USD helped me build my foundation.”
Leadership is truly a skill that is developed, and at USD, it’s
crafted in high-quality graduates who overcome challenges and
rise to face ones even bigger. Professors, staff and peers expose
those people who seek those roles—the ones in the front of
the room, or the head of the business, or the highest posts of
government and military—to their inner potential, share wisdom
with them along the way, and then remember them as they read
about their accomplishments in the world USD’s leaders are
changing every day.
Former Gov. Frank Farrar
Dr. Erica Schipper
Col. Andrea Thompson
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