The Duane and Barbara Reed Harms family of Brookings was recognized as the 2017 Philanthropic Family of the Year by the SDSU Foundation.
The award, created in 2012, “acknowledges exceptional generosity to diverse causes by a family that serves as an inspiration to others to support South Dakota State University.” It was announced April 27 at the SDSU Foundation’s annual donor celebration in Frost Arena.
The honor was announced by Kevin Roberts, a member of the SDSU Foundation’s council of trustees who served as chair when the Philanthropic Family of the Year was created.
“I admire the passion, commitment and generosity shown by Duane and Barb toward South Dakota State. Beyond that, I am most impressed by their humility,” Roberts said. “For all that they have done and continue to do—from scholarships to athletics to McCrory Gardens to the Performing Arts Center expansion—they prefer the spotlight gets placed on others.”
Roberts then focused on the family’s leadership on the Alumni Green project, which includes a new Alumni Center and home for the SDSU president. “There are many people responsible for the new Alumni Green. But the idea had to come from somewhere. Perhaps more than anyone else, that beautiful new development is the product of Duane Harms’ imagination.”
Roberts recounted a meeting that Duane Harms had with then-President David L. Chicoine in 2007. Harms advocated for a new home for the president in that would help better cultivate new supporters and donors to the university. The project was put on hold, but Harms remained a champion and revisited the idea a half-dozen years later, Roberts said.
“Today, because of that imagination and hard work, and because Duane and Barb have inspired others to be a part of it, we are literally weeks away from a project that will transform the west edge of our campus,” Roberts said.
“This honor tonight includes the Harms Oil family,” Roberts continued, “because that philanthropic spirit demonstrated by Duane and Barb carries through to their business.”
The Harms’ family is the sixth family to receive the award. The first recipient was the Dale and Pat Larson family of Brookings in 2012. Since that time, the Les and Wanda Roberts family of Ashton, the Bob and Pat Fishback, and Van and Barb Fishback families of Brookings, the Larry and Diane Ness family of Yankton, and the Gene and JoAnn Goodale family of Brookings have been honored.
About the SDSU Foundation
The SDSU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that raises and administers funds to benefit SDSU.
The SDSU Foundation has secured more than $450 million in commitments on behalf of SDSU over the past decade. That includes the successful “It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University,” which raising $255.7 million for students, faculty, facilities, athletics and other university programs between 2007 and 2013. The Foundation has more than $190 million in assets.