McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service
Welcome to the McGovern Center
McGovern News & Social Media
The McGovern Report
The McGovern Report is the voice of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan University. Listen in for interviews with McGovern scholars, faculty and students at Dakota Wesleyan University and others. New episodes come out monthly.
The McGovern Center has an active Facebook group. Follow us and you’ll hear about interesting items being donated to our archives, receive news updates from the McGovern Center and learn more about the McGovern legacy. Find us at https://www.facebook.com/McGovernCenter
One of the major working goals of the McGovern Center has been to plan and organize an ongoing lectureship. The purpose of this is to develop, within our general education program, students' understanding of civic responsibility and the common good in order to nurture qualities that result in the flourishing of the communities in which they live. Some of the provisional themes under this banner are ethical leadership, social justice, racial healing and citizen engagement. Our goal is to plan four lectureships during the academic year. For more information on upcoming lectures, please go to our upcoming events page.
Braver Angels Partnership
The McGovern Center has become a partnership agency with Braver Angels. Braver Angels is a nationwide depolarization agency with the mission, “We bring Americans together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic.” We have sponsored debates on cancel culture, gun control and critical race theory. The McGovern Center/Braver Angels partnership offers regular discussions/debates and speaking events for the community. For more information, please go to our upcoming events page.
DWU Cares: A Day of Giving
Every spring in May, the McGovern Center plans and executes our yearly “DWU Cares: Day of Giving” event. Working with 35 community partners, we provide opportunities for all DWU students to get out into our city for service to the community. Grass is cut, windows are washed, garbage is collected, trees are cut or planted and good feelings result. Organizations feel relieved about accomplished tasks. In fact, several players from our men’s soccer team moved old unwanted pianos out of a church basement. It was a job the church wanted to do for years but were unable due to the great weight of the pianos.
Indigenous Persons Day
Each year, in cooperation with the Diversity Club, the McGovern Center plans and finances our Indigenous Persons Day. We invite guests like Jerome Kills Small of the Oglala Lakota, who has performed indigenous songs and stories for our campus.
McGovern Engagement Group (MEG)
MEG, as we affectionate call the McGovern Engagement Group, is our student club which carries out the vision of George McGovern by promoting civic engagement on DWU’s campus and in the community. MEG is a nonpartisan club that meets weekly during the school year to discuss current political and social issues. The club also engages in projects dealing with public policy. Most recently, the club is working on an initiative to simplify and streamline the administration of the federal school lunch program.
AsOne Uganda Trip
The McGovern Center has planned yearly student trips to Uganda. These immersion trips are organized in partnership with a faith-based non-profit, AsOne Africa. AsOne was founded by a 2015 DWU graduate, Andrew DeVaney, and has grown significantly in the last several years. The organization provides high-quality education, business development, medical clinics and farmer education in five communities in Uganda.
If you are interested in supporting this trip financially, please email the McGovern Center.
Livestock for Life
DWU students have partnered with McGovern Center supporters and local leaders around the world to alleviate food security issues through innovative, locally-led and internationally-supported projects. In Uganda, Africa, we are working on food security issues through the gift of livestock. Small livestock, typically a goat, are gifted to a family.
Donations toward this project don’t just support a family in need; they provide them with the tools they need to build their future. A donation of just $50 supports the gift of one goat.
"All That a Moo Can Do/A 'Moo' for You"
Through colorful imagery and playful rhyme, a new children’s book tells the story of how one cow makes a very big difference in the life of a little boy. The true story of Haptamu, a boy in Ethiopia, is told in “A Moo for You/All That a Moo Can Do,” a book written, illustrated and produced by Dakota Wesleyan University students and their professor.
Community-Based Research and Learning
Community-Based Research and Learning (CBRL) is the intersection of students, faculty, and community members who collaborate on the two-fold goal of fostering immersive educational experiences and addressing immediate and long-term community needs. The McGovern Center encourages both faculty and students to pursue CBRL projects, and serves as a resource in design, partnership development and assessment.
We also welcome inquiries from community partners who would like to propose research and learning projects.
For more information on any of the CBRL programs, please email the McGovern Center.
Looking for Volunteers for Your Project?
The McGovern Center may be able to connect you with volunteers for your organization or event. Please email your event to the McGovern Center.
The Challenge of Global Leadership
The McGovern Center was granted faculty approval in April 2021 to organize and provide a new single-credit course for DWU students called “The Challenge of Global Leadership.” The course description is as follows. “This single-credit course examines the challenge, potential and progress in the developing world. How can we best understand and appreciate the difficulties facing developing countries? What avenues of addressing these challenges bear the greatest outcome? How can we be most effectively engaged as leaders? Through podcasts, videos, readings and daily news, we’ll learn to be effective global leaders who live out the DWU motto: Sacrifice or Service.”
About George and Eleanor McGovern
The vision of the George and Eleanor McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service is to improve lives through education and service to others. We actively pursue this vision by offering academic and cocurricular programming that align with the McGovern philosophy of humanitarian outreach, political activism, and leadership. Sen. George McGovern distinguished himself as a pilot during World War II, a former congressman and senator who ran as his party’s nominee for president in 1972, and as a United Nations Ambassador who fought to end world hunger.
Throughout his life, George McGovern earned the respect of countless individuals from all political viewpoints and all walks of life.
From his days as a student at Dakota Wesleyan University, and throughout his long and distinguished career in public service, George McGovern never forgot his roots. He was born in Avon, S.D., on July 19, 1922, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister. The family moved to Mitchell, S.D., in 1928, and George graduated from Mitchell High School in 1940. He was an outstanding student, and his proficiency in debate won him a scholarship at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, where he enrolled in the fall of 1940. There he met fellow student Eleanor Stegeberg of Woonsocket, S.D. George and Eleanor were married on Oct. 31, 1943, and their five children were all born in Mitchell.
As a college student, McGovern was twice elected class president and won the state oratorical contest with the topic "My Brother's Keeper," an avowal of his belief in one's responsibility to humankind.
World War II interrupted McGovern's education in 1943. He flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war he returned to Dakota Wesleyan University, graduating in 1946. McGovern then attended Garrett Seminary for one year before enrolling at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American history and government.
McGovern returned to Dakota Wesleyan University in 1950 as a professor of history and political science, where he became a beloved and respected faculty member. He left the university in 1955 to reorganize and revitalize the South Dakota Democratic Party, from which his illustrious political career was launched. He was elected to Congress in 1956 and reelected in 1958. As a congressman, he was an advocate for the American farmer and represented the nation's heartland with distinction.
After McGovern lost his first bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, President John F. Kennedy named him the first director of the Food for Peace Program and Special Assistant to the President. In this position he oversaw the donation of millions of tons of food to developing nations. McGovern was then elected to the Senate in 1962 and reelected in 1968 and 1974. As a member of the Senate committees on agriculture, nutrition, forestry and foreign relations, and the Joint Economic Committee, he led the way in expanding key nutrition programs.
For more information about the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public service, please contact the director of the McGovern Center.