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University of South Dakota


University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota
Motto Veritas
Motto in English
Established 1862[1]
Type Public
Endowment $206.98 million[2]
President James W. Abbott
Academic staff
Students 10,284[3]
Undergraduates 7,690[3]
Postgraduates 2,594[3]
Location Vermillion, South Dakota, U.S.
Campus Urban 321 acres (130 ha)
Colors Red and black[4]
Athletics NCAA Division IThe Summit League, MVFC
Sports 15 varsity teams
Nickname Coyotes
Affiliations APLU
Website .edu.usdwww

The University of South Dakota (or informally USD or the U) is a public coeducational research university located in the small town community of Vermillion, South Dakota. USD was established by the Dakota Territory legislature in 1862, 37 years before the establishment of the state of South Dakota (first classes held 1882 in the Clay County Courthouse),[5] USD is the oldest public university in the state.

On a 286-acre (116 ha) campus, USD is situated in the southeastern portion of South Dakota, approximately 63 miles (102 km) southwest of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 39 miles (63 km) northwest of Sioux City, Iowa and north of the Missouri River.

The University of South Dakota is home to South Dakota's only medical school, law school, and accredited business school. It is also home to the National Music Museum, with over 15,000 American, European, and non-western instruments.[6] USD is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, and its current president is Jim Abbott. The university has been accredited by the North Central Association of College and Schools since 1913. Nine alumni have been selected as Rhodes Scholars;[7] Ernest Lawrence, B.A. 1922, received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The athletic teams compete in the NCAA's Division I as members of The Summit League, except football, which competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.


  • History 1
  • Campus 2
    • Campus and academic buildings 2.1
    • Wellness Center & Dakota Dome 2.2
    • Housing 2.3
  • Academics 3
  • Athletics 4
  • Student life 5
    • Greek life 5.1
  • Media 6
    • Student media 6.1
      • Coyote News 6.1.1
      • Coyote Radio 6.1.2
      • The Volante 6.1.3
    • Department media 6.2
    • South Dakota Public Broadcasting 6.3
  • Recognition 7
  • Notable alumni and faculty 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The University of South Dakota was founded in 1862 by the Dakota Territorial Legislature. It authorized the establishment of the University at Vermillion, making it the oldest postsecondary institution in the Dakotas. The authorization was unfunded, however, and classes did not begin until 20 years later under the auspices of the privately incorporated university of Dakota, created with support from the citizens of Clay County. Ephraim Epstein served as the first president and primary faculty member in the institution that opened in loaned space in downtown Vermillion. Before 1883 ended, the university had moved into Old main, and the first public board was appointed to govern the institution.

Enrollment increased to 69 students by the end of 1883, and, by the time South Dakota became the 40th state in 1889, USD boasted an enrollment of 500 students. USD's first academic unit, the College of Arts and Sciences, was established in 1883. The School of Law began offering classes in 1901; the School of Medicine in 1907; Continuing Education in 1916; the Graduate School in 1927; and the College of Fine Arts in 1931.[8]

It is the state's oldest public university, and is one of six universities governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents. USD has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1913 and is a member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. The school houses the state's only law and medical schools and the lone College of Fine Arts.

USD is also home to the state's oldest and largest political science department. Within the program is the Farber Fund, named for storied university professor emeritus Dr. William O. Farber, which provides subsidy to political science and criminal justice majors to attend conferences, participate in study tours, complete internships, and study abroad.

The Sanford School of Medicine, a community-based program, emphasizes family medicine and primary care with the support and participation by practicing physicians and community hospitals throughout the state. Community hospitals and clinics provide teaching sites and the practicing physicians are teachers. The Lee Medical Sciences building houses the basic science education.


The University of South Dakota is based on a 216-acre (87 ha) campus situated along the bluffs near the Missouri River in the southeast corner of the state. The most prominent academic facility on campus, while simultaneously serving as one the school's symbols, is Old Main. Old Main was built in 1883, burned down in 1889, and ultimately restored in 1997. Along with several classrooms, it houses an Oscar Howe Museum, the University Honors Program. Farber Hall, a 190-seat theatre utilized mainly for speaking engagements, is also located within Old Main.

Campus and academic buildings

USD opened the newly constructed Theodore R. and Karen K. Muenster University Center (MUC) for student use on February 17, 2009.[9] The MUC houses the Student Activities Center, a campus dining facility, coffee shop, book store, convenience store and a number of lounge and TV areas for students to relax or study. Due to its popularity, it was expanded to students on January 13, 2014 and includes more food and entertainment options for students.

Al Neuharth Media Center, dedication Al Neuharth

One of the newest additions to the campus is the Al Neuharth Media Center, named for the founder of USA Today. Dedicated in September 2003, the Neuharth Center houses all of the news and media organizations on campus, including the Freedom Forum’s South Dakota operations, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism, campus newspaper The Volante, campus radio station KAOR, and television station KYOT. Formerly an armory and athletic field house, the building was converted into a media center through donations made by Al Neuharth, a 1950 USD graduate.[10]

USD's Beacom School of Business moved into a new building in the fall of 2009. The previous building, Patterson Hall, is currently used as office space.

Beacom School of Business

Wellness Center & Dakota Dome

Student Wellness Center

A $15 million, 61,000-square-foot (5,700 m2) wellness center opened in the spring of 2011. Located just north of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts, the center includes state-of-the-art workout equipment, a multi-story climbing wall, multiple courts for basketball and volleyball, racquetball courts, and a three-lane walking/jogging track.[11]

The DakotaDome serves not only as the home venue for the school's football, softball, swimming, basketball, volleyball, and track and field teams, but also as a recreational center for the student body. It is South Dakota's only domed football stadium, hosting the state's high school football championships in November.[12]


Coyote Village Residence Hall

North Complex consists of four residence halls: Beede, Mickelson, Richardson and Olson. Richardson is the only non-freshmen hall in North Complex. Coed-floors in the North Complex house men and women on the same floor on opposite sides with lounges, laundry and restrooms as a visual barrier.[13]

North Complex residence halls Olson (left) and Micklesen (right)

Burgess/Norton Complex are located just south of North Complex. Burgess and Norton Halls are near Dakota, Noteboom, East Hall, Delzell Education Center, and the Arts and Sciences Building. They consist of 3 floors each with single-sex floors and typically house sophomores.

Other residence halls include McFadden Hall, Coyote Village, and Brookman. McFadden Hall is for non-freshmen, graduate, professional and non-traditional students, outfitted with 25 four-person apartments and furnished individual single bedrooms. Brookman hall is single rooms for upperclassmen, international students and graduate students. Coyote Village, the university's newest residence complex, opened in 2010. Located just south of the DakotaDome, the four-story, 175-unit complex provides suite-style and apartment living for 548 students. Monthly rental rates for Coyote Village range from $453 to $658. All units are fully furnished and have wireless Internet. Coyote Village housing is available to all students. All full scholarship athletes live in Coyote Village.[14]


The University of South Dakota boasts the state's law and medical schools. As of 2015, the university has seven colleges and universities offering 202 undergraduate and 66 graduate programs, among them:

  • College of Arts and Sciences[15]
  • Beacom School of Business[16]
  • School of Education[17]
  • College of Fine Arts[18]
  • School of Health Sciences[19]
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine[20]


DakotaDome, home of USD football and other athletics

The University of South Dakota sponsors six sports for men (football, basketball, swimming & diving, cross country, track & field and golf) and nine sports for women (basketball, swimming & diving, cross country, track & field, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball). The school's athletic teams are called the "Coyotes" (pronounced Ki Yoat) and nicknamed the "Yotes" (Yoats). The school colors are red and white. USD competes at the NCAA Division I level (Football Championship Subdivision in football) and is a member of The Summit League for all sports except football. Its football team is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. A majority of the sporting events at the university are held at the DakotaDome. The school's homecoming, typically held in early October, is known as Dakota Days.

The long-time intrastate rivalry between the Coyotes and South Dakota State Jackrabbits ended in 2003 when SDSU moved to Division I athletics and the Coyotes remained in Division II. USD eventually moved up to Division I and in the 2011–2012 academic year, SDSU and USD resumed regularly scheduled contests in most sports when the Coyotes joined the athletics conferences in which SDSU was a member, the Summit League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Student life

Greek life

Fraternities include the following:[21]

Sororities include the following:


Student media

Coyote News

In fall 2005, USD's Contemporary Media & Journalism Department revived its weekly live 30-minute television newscast, Coyote News. It is entirely produced, directed & reported by USD students. The newscast airs Wednesdays at 5:00 PM with an encore broadcast at 6:00 PM on KYOT-TV, Cable Channel 21. The newscast can be viewed throughout Vermillion as well as numerous other cities in southeast South Dakota. The program was originally entitled "Coyote News" but was renamed in 2007, following the University of South Dakota's adoption of the U. marketing theme. In 2011, it was changed back to "Coyote News." Also in 2007, U. News Radio newscasts began airing Wednesdays at noon on KAOR-FM, 91.1 U. Radio. The 15 minute live radio newscast is entirely produced and reported by USD students. The individual stories and features of U. News Radio and TV can be viewed online on the U. News web pages located at, the website of USD's student newspaper, The Volante. The KYOT-TV & KAOR-FM studios are located in the Al Neuharth Media Center on USD's campus.

Coyote Radio

In 2011 KAOR FM was renamed Coyote Radio, following the University of South Dakota's decision to end the U. Campaign. The central on-campus headquarters for KAOR Radio is the Al Neuharth Media Center while the transmitter lies atop Slagle Hall on USD's campus.

The Volante

The Volante has served as the campus newspaper since 1887. It is published every Wednesday morning during the school year. Managed entirely by students, The Volante prides itself as being editorially independent.

The paper has won numerous awards including a number of Best of Show and Pacemakers. In October 2011 it was awarded its 8th Pacemaker Award, sometimes referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of College Journalism, by the Associated Collegiate Press.[23]

The paper includes news, sports, opinion and verve (arts and entertainment) sections. The paper also has a frequently updated website, which includes campus news, staff blogs and podcasts. The Volante generally maintains a staff of 50 students.

Department media

The Vermillion Literary Project Magazine is a literary journal published by the English Department of the University of South Dakota. The VLP Magazine is staffed by undergraduate and graduate students in the school and advised by faculty. Submissions are received from around the world and evaluated via a blind review. The award-winning publication is annual and in 2012 will celebrate its 30th year of press.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting

The university is home to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, or SDPB for short. It is a network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television and NPR radio stations serving the state of South Dakota. The stations are operated by the South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunication, a state agency. The studios and offices are located at 500 N. Dakota Avenue in the Al Neuharth Media Center on the west edge of campus.


Bronze statue of 'Doc' Farber

For the 2006-07 academic year, the Beacom School of Business boasted graduating seniors who collectively scored in the top five percent in a national exit exam.[24]

The Department of Political Science holds a number of popular speaker forums. The department has produced thirteen Truman Scholars, as well as four Rhodes Scholars.[25]

William O. Farber storied professor of Political Science is attributed with growing in developing the program. Upon his death 'Doc' Farber gifted the University with his house and other assets were established as the Farber Internship and Travel Fund, which funds students of Political Science for experiential learning opportunities.

Notable alumni and faculty

Among the thousands of graduates from the University of South Dakota, notable alumni in the field of journalism include Al Neuharth, founder of the USA Today B.A., 1946; Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools B.A., 1983; Tom Brokaw, American broadcaster and longtime NBC Nightly News anchor B.A., 1964.

The University is notable for its numerous alumni in the field of politics and government including John Thune current U.S. Senator M.B.A., 1984; and recently retired U.S. Senator Tim Johnson B.A., 1969, M.A. 1970, J.D. 1975. James Abourezk was a graduate of of this University


  1. ^ "University of South Dakota". Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  2. ^ "Sortable Table: College and University Endowments, 2013-14". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 
  3. ^ a b c "About USD". Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "USD 150th Anniversary - University of South Dakota". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  6. ^ "University of South Dakota". National Music Museum. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ 
  8. ^ "Our History and Traditions - USD". 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  9. ^ "News". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ "USD dedicates Al Neuharth Media Center". University of South Dakota University Relations News. October 5, 2003. 
  11. ^ "Our Campus - USD". 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  12. ^ "Admissions". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Admissions". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ [3], Coyote Village.
  15. ^ "College of Arts & Sciences". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Beacom School of Business". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  17. ^ "School of Education". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ College of Fine Arts
  19. ^ School of Health Sciences
  20. ^ "Sanford School of Medicine". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Admissions". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Welcome to Pi Beta Phi!". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  23. ^ [4] Archived September 10, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Graduating seniors from Beacom ‘ace’ national exam". 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  25. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2008". US News and World Report. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 

External links

  • Official website
  • University of South Dakota Athletics website
  • The Volante – student newspaper
  •  "University of South Dakota". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914. 
  • University of South Dakota at National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator

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