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Jun. 1—CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. — The South Dakota Hall of Fame announced its 2022 class on June 1, 2022, with a 10-member class that includes a former governor, a former secretary of state and leaders in the fields of science, medicine, education, communications and journalism.
The 2022 South Dakota Hall of Fame inductees are: Randell Beck, Dennis Daugaard, Paul Gnirk, Charles Hart, Shantel Krebs, Grace Martin Highley, Tad Perry, Ronald Reed, Mark Shlanta, Beverly Stabber Warne.
The Class of 2022 will be celebrated during an Honors Ceremony on September 9 and 10 in Chamberlain and Oacoma. The South Dakota Hall of Fame recently honored the 2021 class in May, bringing the organization's list of inductees over 700.
Here's a short look at the class of 2022:
Randell Beck, of Sioux Falls, professional: A native of a small Kansas town and a college dropout, Beck spent several years traveling America, living on the streets, panhandling for food. Finally, he was ready to try again — at the University of Missouri, in journalism, which he parlayed into a successful career. He became nationally recognized for his achievements as South Dakota's Argus Leader executive editor and president/publisher and is a dedicated proponent of justice, truth, education, and diversity. Beck is a voice of wisdom and a man with the determination to make a difference. He demonstrated that access to information can help South Dakota shape its own future and overcome its obstacles so long as the framework for that access is truth.
Dennis Daugaard, of Garretson, political: Throughout his career, Dennis Daugaard has been a "servant leader." He left a successful career in banking to become development director, and then executive director, of the Children's Home Society of South Dakota. His fundraising skills and fiscal management made the Children's Home financially strong enough to expand and serve more people. Daugaard carried that attitude of servant leadership into the South Dakota Legislature, where he was known as a conscientious legislator; reading every bill and withholding judgment until he could hear all sides. Daugaard served as lieutenant governor before running for governor in 2010, serving two terms. When he retired in 2019, he served in the state Capitol for 22 years and left office as a widely admired public figure.
Paul Gnirk, of Rapid City, business: Gnirk was a founding member of RESPEC, Inc. and its president from 1969 to 1991. RESPEC is a global leader in geoscience, engineering, data, and integrated technology solutions for major industry sectors. Starting with two employees, the company now is working on some of South Dakota's most challenging problems, including creating a model for managing flooding along the Big Sioux River from Watertown to Sioux Falls and Sioux City. For the past 13 years, Gnirk has served as a South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources member, where he has used his geological expertise to creatively extend drinking water to communities and ranches. He has provided employment for many Ph.D. engineers and scientists and has advocated scholarship opportunities for students.
Charles Hart, of Rapid City, medical: Dr. Charles Hart practiced family medicine and emergency medicine and later in his career became CEO of Regional Health, now known as Monument Health. Hart was instrumental in developing healthcare systems that address the multiple needs of communities and provided leadership to community, state, and national organizations in the healthcare and business sectors. His impact can best be measured by the breadth of these efforts which focused on the needs of specific disadvantaged populations that in many cases are overlooked, helping to grow Monument Health to become the major healthcare provider for a 300-mile radius.
Shantel Krebs, of Canton, political: Krebs has excelled in many different roles with a positive impact. A former Miss South Dakota who grew up in Arlington, Krebs had successful careers in retail and healthcare before becoming a South Dakota legislator, and later South Dakota Secretary of State from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, she became the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization. In each case, Krebs showed her skills as a proven problem-solver who has used her leadership, innovation, and grit to benefit South Dakota.
Grace Martin Highley, of Hot Springs, professional: Highley was born in 1895 on her family's homestead near Hot Springs. She had no graduate training in welfare services, but instead, gained her training through first-hand experience. In 1939, she became director of South Dakota Child Welfare and for 21 years, she built a program, nationally recognized, based on the needs of children and on goals and professional training which otherwise did not exist. She became a skilled practitioner on social work theory and in 1978, Augustana College awarded Highley an honorary doctorate for her leadership and service in helping those in need. Hihgley, who died in 1985, continued into her 80s to mentor and serve as an unofficial advisor to agencies and individuals, all while "keeping an eye on the child."
Tad Perry, of Fort Pierre, education: At his retirement in 2009 as the executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents, Perry capped a nearly 40-year career in higher education. To this day, his service is the longest of any South Dakota chief executive in the Regents' history. His priorities, whether as a public servant, elected official or community volunteer, were focused on creating new opportunities that keep young people in South Dakota. Evidence of Perry's impact on South Dakota's higher education is found anywhere one turns on a university campus but the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship, which provides up to $6,500 over four years to qualifying high school students who attend college anywhere in the state, will serve as one of his most visible and enduring legacies.
Ronald Reed, of Rapid City, education: Reed's work can be felt all across the state, as he has worked for more than five decades to enrich the lives, not only of individuals with special needs, but of all South Dakotans. Gov. Richard Kneip described Dr. Ron Reed as "a visionary in terms of identifying and dealing with the challenges and problems in education." He served at a pivotal moment in the national fight for disability rights as he advocated for and led the state's implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first disability civil rights law to be enacted in the United States.
Mark Shlanta, of Sioux Falls, business: Shlanta worked for 23 years at SDN Communications, helping to change the technology and communications landscape of South Dakota. During his tenure, the Sioux Falls-based broadband network expanded its fiber optic footprint in South Dakota that also extends into surrounding states of the Northern Plains. Shlanta, who died in 2022 after a battle with cancer, worked at expanding SDN's broadband network and services created the infrastructure for South Dakota to lead on multiple technology fronts, including telehealth, mobile/cellular data coverage, and connecting classrooms — leading South Dakota to become the first state in the nation to ensure every school had internet connectivity.
Beverly Stabber Warne, of Rapid City, medical: Stabber Warne is recognized internationally as a leader in the advancement of the ever-expanding nursing profession. A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, she continues to be an advocate and mentor and is employed at South Dakota State University (SDSU) College of Nursing as an instructor/mentor/coordinator of the Native American Nursing Education Center in Rapid City. The center's goal is to increase and diversify the nursing workforce in South Dakota. She has worked to prepare advanced practice nurses at the professional doctorate level, focused on preventative care in rural, underserved, and Indigenous populations.