Vance Goldammer '72
When Vance Goldammer was in fourth grade, his teacher gave the class an assignment. She instructed her students to write an essay about what they wanted to be when they the grew up and why.
Goldammer thought hard and went on to write that he wanted to be “a lawyer because Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer and he was a good guy.”
Goldammer’s mother kept the essay, and he thought about it from time to time as he grew up.
“Nothing ever changed my mind,” he said.
Raised on a farm in Davison County, South Dakota, Goldammer came to Augustana in 1968. He majored in government and international affairs and kept his sights set on law school.
After graduating in 1972, he went on to earn his law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law. He’s been a member of the State Bar of South Dakota since 1975, the same year he entered private practice.
In 2003, he became a founding member of Murphy, Goldammer & Prendergast, LLP., and today specializes in business law and estate planning in Sioux Falls.
Goldammer said his Augustana education influenced his career in two significant ways.
“First, it gave me background to be a successful student in law school. Second, it helped me grow in critical, ethical thinking, which helped me advise clients facing all types of legal issues in my areas of practice.”
Looking back, he says he was fortunate to be taught by many great professors, but called Dr. Al Hotz (government) especially influential.
“He constantly challenged his students to think and rethink their understandings, positions and outlooks.”
He counts his graduation day among his most memorable experiences as a student and said he remains friends with many of his Augustana classmates to this day.
A Life of Service
“Best Lawyers in America” has consistently ranked Goldammer among the best lawyers in the nation and he has routinely been listed in the top tier of business attorneys by “America’s Leading Business Lawyers.”
Accolades aside, Goldammer said for him, professional fulfillment comes from helping people in need.
“For me, it is knowing that I have been able to assist families on legal matters through my entire career, through both good times and bad. And knowing that we have represented many of these clients of almost 40 years, and over one or two, and in a few cases, three generations.”
Goldammer is also an active civic volunteer:
He is a past chair of the Board of Trustees at Augustana and still serves on its Audit Committee. He was a board member and officer of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation and still serves on its Legal Committee. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Sheldon Reese Foundation and serves as its treasurer. And, he is a member of the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary and has served as chairman of the First Lutheran Church Foundation.
He says lessons he learned early on have inspired him to give back to the community he calls home.
“We were raised by our parents to always try to do what is right. For me, that was reinforced by my entire experience at Augie. And that is something I have been able to share with Sherry (Bormann), my wife of 42 years, who is also an Augie grad (class of 1972).”
In between his practice, his community service, and his family commitments (he has two children and four grandchildren), Goldammer has also managed to have some fun.
He was a minority owner of the Sioux Falls Canaries (the area’s minor league baseball team), has completed nine marathons and appeared on the hit TV game show, “Jeopardy!”
In recognition of his commitment to service, Goldammer will receive the Alumni Achievement Award during Viking Days this fall.