WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will complete a rare presidential run though all 50 states when he delivers the commencement address at a South Dakota community college next month.
Amid much speculation over when he’d finally make it to South Dakota, Obama used an interview Monday with KSFY, the ABC-affiliated TV station in Sioux Falls, to break the news himself.
South Dakota is the only state still waiting for Obama to visit — but only for a few more weeks.
“I can’t let my South Dakota friends feel neglected,” he told station anchor Nancy Naeve.
Obama will travel to Watertown, in the state’s northeastern corner, to deliver the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute on May 8.
The White House says Lake Area Tech is one of the nation’s top community colleges, recognized for rigorously preparing its students and for having a two-year graduation rate that’s more than twice the national average.
Obama has advocated for community colleges during his presidency. Earlier this year he announced a multibillion-dollar proposal to pay community college tuition for eligible students, but the plan has not picked up any traction in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Obama had made it to just 46 states when Jan. 1 rolled in, leaving just Idaho, South Carolina, Utah and South Dakota yearning for a presidential sighting.
Aides quickly scheduled appearances in Idaho the day after his State of the Union speech in January, followed by a stop in South Carolina in March.
He slept in Utah on April 2 before a public appearance at Hill Air Force Base, near Salt Lake City, the next morning.
That left South Dakota with the distinction of being the only state awaiting an Obama visit.
The wait ends in four weeks, and Obama will have completed a rare presidential run through all 50 of the United States.
He will be just the fourth president to do so, according to the White House Historical Association.
Richard Nixon was first, followed by George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Ronald Reagan fell four states short of the goal.
George W. Bush never made it to Vermont.
Obama’s most recent South Dakota visit was in 2008 while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. He spoke last year in North Dakota on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles that state’s border with South Dakota.