CHAMBERLAIN — The South Dakota Hall of Fame will digitally break new ground this weekend.
While COVID-19 wiped out the organization’s traditional induction ceremony, which would typically be held this weekend in Chamberlain, the Hall of Fame will hold a virtual medallion ceremony and presentation on Saturday.
The plan in May, when the 2020 class was announced, was to have a traditional event in September. But South Dakota Hall of Fame CEO Greta Chapman said when health concerns would not allow that to take place, the organization’s board of directors, the inductees and their families all felt strongly about having some sort of honorary event in 2020.
“I think it was all parties, including the folks that we want to celebrate,” she said. “We want to honor these individuals and it really came down to how do we navigate for the times that we are involved in.”
Chapman said the plan is for the 10-member 2020 class to still be honored April 16-17, 2021, in a traditional Honors Ceremony event. Traditionally, that event includes a Saturday brunch with the governor, where inductees receive their Hall of Fame medallions, an anniversary reunion at the South Dakota Hall of Fame building and the Honors Ceremony banquet, where inductees give their acceptance speech.
On Saturday, the virtual event will air starting at 4:30 p.m. Central on the organization’s social media channels and through the South Dakota Public Broadcasting website. (The event is free to view, but the Hall of Fame is asking for donations.) An online auction is also part of the events and will be open for bidding through Sunday, Sept. 13 on the Hall of Fame website.
New to the proceedings this year will be congratulatory videos that will go with the presentation of the inductees’ medallions. The Hall of Fame reached out to individuals that are connected with the inductees and had them send in congratulations messages via cell phone. The videos will be two to three minutes for each inductee.
“They are giving remarks regarding their notification into the hall,” she said. “That’s a first that we’ve done and recorded. We’re certainly in challenging times and this event has really stepped up our engagement with the inductees, which has been very rewarding.”
The 10 inductees were selected for their achievements in government, business, education, philanthropy and the arts. They include Mike Carney, Watertown, education; Glenna Fouberg, Aberdeen, education; Delta David Gier, Sioux Falls, arts and entertainment; Bernie Hunhoff, Yankton, arts and entertainment; Kitty Kinsman, Rapid City, political; Bruce Long Fox, Rapid City, education; Jack Marsh, Sioux Falls, business; Walter Panzirer, Pierre, philanthropic; former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler, Washington, D.C., political and the late Mamie Pyle, Huron, political.
Saturday’s event comes after being well rehearsed, involving practice Zoom meetings between the inductees and the individuals who will present the medallions.
“We’ve had a lot of lead-up to this,” Chapman said. “It’s been a real great asset to go through all of this and should benefit us going forward to work and produce something unique that’s all new for us.”
Chapman said because of the changes, the Hall of Fame’s digital content views have increased by as much as 80 percent. She said becoming a more digital-friendly organization “adds a tremendous amount of value to our statewide mission.”
There’s more to be done: Chapman said two-thirds of the South Dakota Hall of Fame’s video collection still needs to be digitized, with video dating back to the 1980s.
“We’re going to be able to engage with more people and with an increased value, with inductees and students that will use this content,” Chapman said. “There’s no going back and we’re only going to go forward. More folks have come to use our digital platform and that will only increase in value as we go forward.”