Center for Western Studies June Event to Feature 'Adventures of a Private Collector'

The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College will host its 23rd annual June Event, “Adventures of a Private Collector,” featuring a discussion by local art collector Larry Ness, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for First Dakota National Bank and president of First Dakota Financial Corporation. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Center for Western Studies’ annual and endowment funds.

The event will begin with a reception at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, in the Ordal Dining Room in Augustana’s Morrison Commons. Tickets may be reserved by calling 605.274.4007.

A member of the National Advisory Council of the Center for Western Studies for more than three decades, Ness has traveled widely in pursuit of the finest examples of Dakotiana, from paintings and beaded vests to weapons, photographs, rare books and priceless collections of letters.

During his discussion, he will share tales of his adventures in collecting, including his quest for the return of an artifact stolen from the Dakota Territory Museum in Yankton.

As Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of First Dakota National Bank, Dakota Territory’s oldest bank, and President of First Dakota Financial Corporation, Ness has recently overseen the opening in Sioux Falls of three branches of First Dakota National Bank. He has served as President of the South Dakota Bankers Association and has been a member of the Government Relations Council of the American Bankers Association, South Dakota Investment Council, and South Dakota Gaming Commission.

In addition to his service on the Center’s National Advisory Council, Ness has served, or currently serves, with the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation; South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation; South Dakota Art Museum Board of Trustees; National Music Museum Board of Trustees; Mount Marty College Board of Trustees; SDSU Foundation Board of Trustees; and SDSU Economics and Management Task Force. Because of those contributions, the South Dakota Hall of Fame recently selected him as a member of its 2012 class. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Department of Economics at South Dakota State University. In recognition of his philanthropy, the Center presented Ness with its Friend of the Center Award in 1997.

Ness served in the South Dakota National Guard and retired as a Major in the United States Army Reserve, completing 24 years of service. He also graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

The event is sponsored by Gerry Berger Law, a member of the Center for Western Studies' Board of Directors.

About the Center for Western Studies
Founded by Augustana College Professor of English andWriter-in-Residence Herbert Krause, the Center for Western Studies (CWS) preserves and interprets the history and cultures of the Northern Plains.

The Center began in 1970 as a library and archives and has expanded to promote understanding of the region through exhibits, publications, internships, teaching and such public events as the Dakota Conference on History and Literature (held in April), the Artists of the Plains Art Show and Sale (held in February), and the Boe Forum on Public Affairs (held most recently this past November, featuring former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland Mary Robinson).