|Ambitious, active, and dedicated describe this significant person of the South Dakota Hall of Fame. George McGovern’s ambition led him from being a teacher to a World War ll pilot, a U.S. senator, a nomineee for the President of the United States, and finally an ambassador to the United Nations.
George McGovern was born in Avon, South Dakota, on July 19, 1922. He attended public schools of Mitchell, SD, and also Dakota Wesleyan University. In high school, he was an outstanding student, and his proficiency in debate won him a scholarship to that university in Mitchell, SD. There he met his wife, Eleanor Stegeberg. All five of their children were born there. During World War ll McGovern flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war McGovern returned to Dakota Wesleyan University and became a professor of history and political science. He left the university in 1955 and became politically involved in the Democratic party for South Dakota. McGovern was elected as a U.S. Congressman in 1956. He was a strong advocate for the American farmer. As a Congressman he would ask two questions: (1) “In the world of plenty, why must millions of children go to bed hungry?” and (2) “Why should the most productive farmers in world history not receive a fair price for their products and their work?” Maybe those concerns are why President Kennedy appointed him as the first Director of the U. S. Food for Peace Program. In 1998, he became the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies. McGovern served for 22 years in the U.S. Congress. Because of his leadership and involvement in the Democratic party, he became a presidential nomineee. At the age of 50, on November 7, 1972, George McGovern lost the presidential race to Republican nomineee, Richard Nixon. McGovern continued to carry out his leadership qualities as a delegate to the United Nations and as an author and speaker. He lectured at more than 1,000 colleges and universities around the world. In the year 2000, President Clinton awarded him the highest civilian honor, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.The summer of 2012 George McGovern turned 90 years old. He has given well over a half century of public service and has earned the right to offer this advice: “No matter what your career, always plan to give a portion of your time and money to the service of others.”
|Home Town (Mitchell, SD)|