Brookings Register | Diersen named SDSU’s Griffith Chair in Agricultural Finance

BROOKINGS – Lynn Sargeant, dean of South Dakota State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, has named Matthew Diersen the university’s first recipient of the Griffith Chair in Agricultural Finance.

Diersen, a professor and SDSU Extension risk/business management specialist, has been with SDSU’s Ness School of Management and Economics since 1999. An investiture ceremony will be held during the fall 2022 semester.

“Dr. Diersen’s expertise in agricultural economics and finance make him the perfect fit to be the first Griffith Chair, ”Sargeant said. “I am excited about the opportunities this new endowed position will bring to our students, while also creating avenues for outreach to our industry partners. The Griffith Chair will enable Matt to intensify his efforts to build strong collaborative partnerships, conduct high-level research and demonstrate the depths of his expertise. ”

Diersen has taught agricultural finance and trading in commodity futures and options. He has also advised graduate students in various areas of marketing and finance.

“I am excited and honored by the opportunity to be the first Griffith Chair,” Diersen said. “This will allow for more scholarly activity related to agricultural finance, which will improve our offerings in the classroom and enhance our contributions to the lending community.”

Diersen earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota – Morris, a master’s in agricultural economics at North Dakota State University and a doctorate of philosophy in agricultural economics at the University of Illinois.

The Griffith Chair in Agricultural Finance is the second endowed faculty position supported through the generosity of William and Byrne Griffith. Now managed through the William Mibra and Byrne Griffith Foundation, the couple’s generous philanthropy has created a legacy that will span in perpetuity through the support of scholarships, the arts, music, agricultural and other educational programs at SDSU. The Griffith Chair in Agricultural Finance will honor William’s lifetime career at Farmers and Merchants Bank and his deep interest in agriculture.

William Griffith was born in Cresbard. He attended SDSU, graduating in 1923 with a major in agronomy. In 1924, he joined the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Huron. During his time with the bank, he filled all positions and advanced to bank president and chairperson of the board of directors. He retired in 1979 and died in 1995.

Byrne Griffith received two degrees from the MacPhail School of Music, where she taught harp and voice. She was affiliated with many prestigious national organizations and received an honorary doctor of music degree from Huron College. She died in 1990.

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