The first inductee to the South Dakota State University Hall of Fame was a 1909 electrical engineering graduate, Charles Coughlin. He starred in football, basketball, track and baseball between 1905 and 1909. Coughlin was honored as an SDSU distinguished alumnus in 1961 and presented an honorary doctor of engineering degree in 1954. Coughlin gave the Coughlin Campanile to SDSU in 1929 and it has become one of the university’s most recognized symbols.
Coughlin also helped make possible the building of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, home of Jackrabbit football. Following his graduation in 1909, Coughlin worked for the telephone company and power plant in Brookings. In 1910, he switched to the Briggs and Stratton Company of Milwaukee before going to Purdue University where he taught mechanical engineering. He was general manager of the Ladish Drop Forge Company in Cudahy, Wis. He returned to Briggs and Stratton Company in 1922, moving through the ranks to become president of the company.