DWU plans 100th birthday celebration of Sen. George McGovern

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Photo of George McGovern

MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University is planning a day-long celebration to honor the 100th anniversary of Senator George McGovern’s birth.  2022 is also the 50th year since the senator ran his historic presidential campaign in 1972 and the 10th anniversary of his death in 2012.

The event will be held Thursday, Sept. 22 beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding with a banquet at 6:30 pm.  The public is invited to participate in a variety of scheduled events:

  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: McGovern Symposium including two papers written about Sen. McGovern. Also, a photographic essay of the ’72 campaign presented by two campaign photographers who will be present to discuss the campaign.
  • 1 to 2 p.m.: The annual Stark Lecture will be presented by Professor Thomas Knock, author of the celebrated biography George McGovern: The Rise of the Prairie Statesman. Knock’s talk is entitled “A Sense of History: George McGovern’s Legacy and America’s Past and Present.” Knock is a presidential historian of note and the chair of the history department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
  • 2 to 4 p.m.: Facets of McGovern will be a casual dialog featuring a variety of people who knew the senator well and who will speak briefly in a fast-paced retrospective on the McGovern legacy.
  • 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.: A Birthday Party for George will be held in the McGovern Library. Campaign materials will be on display, cake and ice cream will be served and authors will be present to sign books.
  • 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: A banquet will feature two speakers.  Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the World Food Programme for 10 years, worked closely with McGovern who was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.  U.S. Representative Jim McGovern will be the keynote speaker. He is no relation to Sen. McGovern but considers George his personal mentor. In 1972, while in 7th grade, Jim volunteered for the McGovern campaign in the only state McGovern won, Massachusetts. Later, Jim served as an intern for George in the senate. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Nutrition and Oversight. He also serves as chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and is the Democratic co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, both which monitor, investigate and advocate on behalf of international human rights, the rule of law and good governance.

Chair of the event and director of the McGovern Center Dr. Joel Allen spoke about the celebration.  “We hope to welcome roughly 100 people from off campus to celebrate the life and legacy of Sen. George McGovern as we celebrate his 100th, birthday, the 50 years since the ’72 campaign and the ten years since George’s passing. 100/50/10 are important milestones to be recognized all at once.”

All events are free except the banquet which is $50 per person. Guests may attend one or more events throughout the day. To register, visit