Spink County natives lead alma mater’s two largest affiliates

Separated by two years and about thirty miles in farming- and pheasant-rich Spink County, Monte Mason and Kevin Roberts were familiar with each other but their paths never seemed to cross.

Spink County natives Kevin Roberts ’78 and Monte Mason ’80 are chairs of the SDSU Foundation and SDSU Alumni Association, respectively, in 2011-12. Roberts is a partner in a Hillsboro, Missouri, law firm; Mason is community banking president at Wells Fargo in Redfield.

Mason was from a farm near Frankfort, wrestled at nearby Doland High School and was active in Future Farmers of America. Roberts grew up on a farm at Ashton and played basketball at Northwestern High School, located then in Mellette.

Both chose South Dakota State University. Mason earned a degree in ag education in 1980; Roberts graduated with political science and history degrees in 1978. Both were active on campus: Mason in Greek Life, Little International, and the power-lifting club; Roberts in Student Senate and the Statesmen.

Their interaction didn’t begin until more than two decades after graduation, as both grew heavily involved in their alma mater.

The Spink County natives now have the distinction of leading SDSU’s two largest affiliate organizations in 2011 and 2012. Roberts is chair of the SDSU Foundation’s Council of Trustees, a 102-member volunteer group that supports the Foundation’s mission. Mason is chair of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, a 22-member body that leads and oversees the association’s activities. Each, by virtue of his position, serves on the other’s board. They acknowledge the organizations’ different missions: the Alumni Association focuses on friend-raising while the Foundation is the University’s fund-raising arm.

“Our common goal is promoting and strengthening SDSU in every way possible,” Mason says. “We consider our organizations the best of partners.”

Today, there are seventy-five undergraduates from Spink County on SDSU’s campus. Briana Troske, a student from Turton in the northeast part of the county, is this year’s Hobo Day Grand Pooba.

“We’re awfully proud of our Spink County roots and of our association with SDSU,” Roberts says. “The fact that two farm kids from Spink County have the honor to serve as chairs of these two separate but complementary organizations during a great period of growth at State is going to make these two years even more special.”

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