The McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service, constructed by Puetz Construction of Mitchell, was officially dedicated on Oct. 7, 2006.
Former President Bill Clinton gave the keynote address for the event, which was attended by a large audience, including the McGovern family, DWU students, faculty and staff, and campus guests from around the globe.
The inspiration for the McGovern Center was, of course, George and Eleanor McGovern. Both are graduates of DWU and are internationally known for their commitment to making life better for all citizens of the world.
The McGovern Legacy Museum offers visitors a unique look at the lives of the McGoverns, including their early years in Mitchell and at DWU, George McGovern’s World War II service, his revitalization of the South Dakota Democratic party and his 1972 presidential campaign.
The museum was designed by Split Rock Studios, a firm specializing in creating cultural and natural history exhibits for museums.
DWU Archivist Laurie Langland and other staff members assisted in the development of the displays. The museum includes stylized displays representing different eras of the McGoverns’ legacy, and many displays include video exhibits that are narrated by George McGovern.
The statue of George and Eleanor McGovern that stands in the portico of the library was unveiled at the dedication ceremony by its creator, Black Hills artist Dale Lamphere. The original official painting of the library, by South Dakota artist Jon Crane, hangs over the fireplace in Java City, a coffee house and gathering spot for the campus located in the McGovern Library.