Don Simmons, head of McGovern Center, resigns from DWUMove comes only a week after resignation of DWU President Bob Duffett
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
MITCHELL — Donald Simmons, professor and director of the Dakota Wesleyan University McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service and dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service, has resigned his position "to seek other opportunities," according to a DWU news release issued Wednesday.
Simmons joined the DWU faculty in 2006 as the first full-time director of the McGovern Center and the founding chairman of the DWU Department of Leadership and Public Service.
“Given the recent passing of Sen. McGovern and the transition of leadership at the university,” Simmons said in a written statement, “I feel it best that I seek other career opportunities that may be available to me.”
Simmons will remain at DWU through the current academic year.
“We so appreciate all of Dr. Simmons’ efforts,” said Ann McGovern, daughter of George McGovern, in her own written statement. “He took the idea of an academic program for leadership and public service and turned it into reality. My father always thought places like Dakota Wesleyan could educate effectively the next generation of public leaders. Don helped do that during his tenure at DWU. We wish him well.”
Bob Duffett, president of DWU, who announced his own resignation just last week to accept a university presidency in Pennsylvania, said Simmons’ work at DWU has helped the institution gain national recognition.
“Don’s contacts and creative ideas have helped put the McGovern Center on the map,” Duffett said. “His leadership in establishing the Tiger Poll to assess the opinions of South Dakotans on a variety of issues filled a void in the state, as well as creating a multidisciplinary, real-world learning experience for our students.”
A native of Mississippi, Simmons received his Ph.D. in history and international studies from the University of Denver. He has published numerous books and journal articles, produced a documentary film, and appeared as a guest on national and international television and radio programs.
Before joining the faculty at Dakota Wesleyan, Simmons served as the executive director of the South Dakota Humanities Council, where he founded the South Dakota Center for the Book and the South Dakota Festival of Books.
Simmons has been active politically over the years at the local, state and national levels. He has been involved in many national political party conventions and has served as a political reporter and analyst for numerous news agencies.
An active participant and supporter of church missions abroad, Simmons worked on malaria control programs in Latin America (Belize and Guatemala) during the 1980s. Since 2009, he has been active in Kenya with collaborative partnerships involving the Center for the Church and Global AIDS.