Helen J. Van Zante Endowment Collection

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UA 050.08

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Helen J. Van Zante Endowment Collection


  • 1997-2005 (Creation)


0.42 linear feet (1 document case)

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Art has always been taught at South Dakota State University. The earliest courses of study required women students to take drawing and painting, and drawing appeared in all curricula for men. Later more courses in art education, fine arts, and visual arts developed, through the Department of Art.

The Department of Visual Arts courses are designed to provide students with studio and lecture experiences in art regardless of their major. For students wishing to pursue careers as artists, art educators, or designers, the programs offer the background for careers after graduation or further advanced study. Students may pursue a Visual Arts degree with concentrations in art education, graphic design, fine arts and general art.

South Dakota State University established the School of Design July 1st, 2015 by bringing together art, design, and architecture studies formerly housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Human Sciences, and the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.

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Administrative history

South Dakota State College was one of the first five land-grant institutions to have a formal department of Home Economics. Called Domestic Economy at its start in 1885, the four-year curriculum offered scientific training and a liberal and practical education for young women. In addition, the program purported to prepare young women for the important position of caring for the home.

By the late 1920's, many changes had occurred in the department. The name had changed to Home Economics in 1915, shortly after passage of the Smith-Lever Act. This act, along with the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, called for land-grant universities to expand their services to the people of the states. Through programs in extension and education, which developed as a result of these two acts, Home Economics evolved into a much larger program. Enrollment grew as traditional classes in food, nutrition, clothing, and design were augmented by practical work in home management and the nursery school. By the close of the 1920s, many graduates had been placed as teachers in the public-school system, which helped expand the department's influence in the state.

Little change occurred in the division until a new department, Child Development opened in 1945. The following year an additional department, Technical Journalism, was added to the Home Economics Division. Graduate courses were offered beginning in 1952, and in 1962, when South Dakota State College became South Dakota State University, the Home Economics Division became the College of Home Economics.

Over the next two decades, the college continued to evolve. In 1975, a core curriculum was developed for home economics, and in 1981, a specialized program was established to meet the needs of students in their careers in home economics education, extension, family, welfare and interior design. In 1994, the College of Home Economics became the College of Family and Consumer Sciences due to a nation-wide change brought on by a survey conducted by the American Home Economics Association.

The College of Family and Consumer Sciences prepares people for a variety of professional roles, which are interdisciplinary in nature. Some majors within the College are directly related to the family and its traditional functions, such as human development and family studies. With these majors, graduates are primarily prepared for careers in social service, community or government agencies, or business. Other majors are derived from functions that were traditionally performed by the family but now are often carried out by business and industry. Hotel, restaurant and institution management, apparel merchandising and interior design are examples of these majors.

General programs in the College prepare graduates for employment in formal and non-formal education, and community service. All programs in the College focus on the interactions of family and their environment.

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This collection is composed of material related to design forums and visiting artist professorships held at South Dakota State University in relation to the Van Zante Endowment in connection with the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Department of Visual Arts.

This series includes information about design forums, a video featuring three interior designers who were guests at the 1997 Design Forum, biographies and student essays on some of the visiting artists, and a report of the 1998 Van Zante Visiting Professorships in the Visual Arts. Included in the Visiting Professorships in the Visual Arts material is correspondence between the Visual Arts department head and the artists who participated. Also included are five videos featuring visiting artists. One video is the work of Ron Stucki and features footage of winter sports and a torch relay runner for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

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      UA 50.8

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