In the News: Returning CWS Board Member Recognized for Dakota Conference Presentation

Richard Muller receives award for his 2012 Dakota Conference paper

CWS Executive Director Harry Thompson presents the Ernest Teagarden Award to Board member Richard Muller for his 2012 Dakota Conference paper. Muller wrote about his experiences as a journalist reporting on the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.


The 2012 Dakota Conference observed the upcoming fortieth anniversary of the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, with two days of speakers, an autograph party, and a one-time art exhibition.

The following story about returning CWS Board Member Richard Muller’s experiences at the event appears in the Fall/Winter 2013 edition of Business Connections, a publication of the University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business.

Muller’s Award Demonstrates Business Curriculum Can Cross Disciplines

By Kim Lee, University of South Dakota

Richard Muller, instructor in the Beacom School of Business, was recently presented with an award that demonstrates how different academic disciplines can merge.

Muller, who teachers in Management, Marketing and Business Law, was given the Teagarden Award in April for “best professional presentation” at the Center for Western Studies’ 44th annual Dakota Conference, held in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Muller’s presentation lent a journalist’s perspective to the February 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, where 200 Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement supporters seized and occupied the village of Wounded Knee for 71 days in protest of a recent murder and long-held grievances against the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“I’ve been going to the Dakota History Conference since the early 80s,” Muller explained.  But 2012 was the first time I’ve presented there.  I thought the 40th anniversary of the incident would be a great time to put this project together.”

A reporter for KELO-TV from 1970-74, Muller dug up a few of his archived news pieces to supplement his presentation, lending inside commentary to the situation.  A self-proclaimed “history buff,” Muller shared the back stories, incidents, coincidences and consequences that had only been privy to journalists during those 71 days.

His presentation, which took Muller and a graduate assistant about three months to compile, received many positive peer reviews, which ultimately earned him the award.

When Muller was notified he’d won, he realized the business connections at work.  “Here I am, a marketing professor in a business school, and I received an award named after a man who was dean of a business school,” Muller explained.  “But I was honored because of work I’d done in the journalism field and because of my interest in history.

“This shows that academics crosses paths and has many different connections to make and that educators are always looking at different ways to pull in other disciplines,” he continued.

The Teagarden Award is named for Ernest M. Teagarden, who was dean of business at Dakota State University in the 1970s.  The Dakota Conference is an annual, signature event of the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College, dedicated to examining contemporary issues in their historical and cultural contexts.

Muller received an English degree from Augustana College and a Master of Selected Studies degree from USD and has been teaching in the Beacom School of Business since 2006.