The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by awarding the association's most accomplished student-athletes. The NCAA awards 126 scholarships across all sports and divisions each year. Awardees must carry a minimum 3.2 GPA, be nominated by the faculty athletics representative and intend to pursue postgraduate studies.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected as a recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in recognition of my academic and athletic achievement, leadership and campus involvement,” said Swanson.

From Mitchell, South Dakota, Swanson graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in sustainability and political science and a minor in biology. He was a member of the Honors program and received distinction for his thesis. Swanson also received a Truman Scholarship in 2023 and is a member of the nationally prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society.

While at USD, Swanson was heavily involved across campus and in the community, serving as Environmental Club president, Student Government Association president and Greening Vermillion board of directors secretary, among involvement in several other organizations.

“The ability to be so involved in the USD and Vermillion communities was immensely valuable,” said Swanson. “I truly felt that I could do nearly anything I wanted at USD, and this ability to get involved, try new things and meet new people was valuable in allowing me to not only clarify my interests and complement my education, but also acquire invaluable professional, leadership, and interpersonal skills.

“I believe these experiences, coupled with the truly unique sustainability degree I was able to acquire and my first-rank political science education, prepared me well for a future of advancing sustainability at the intersection of policy, law, agriculture and the environment,” he continued.

Swanson swam for the USD swimming and diving program for four years. He was a two-time College Sports Communicators Academic All-District selection and a two-time Academic All-Summit League honoree. He competed in three events at the Summit League Championships as a senior and posted five top-20 finishes at the league championships in his career.

“My USD experience is particularly unique because I was able to have all of these experiences and opportunities while also being a Division I swimmer,” said Swanson. “I credit swimming with developing my work ethic, time management and leadership skills that have allowed me to excel in my athletic, academic and extracurricular pursuits while at USD. I truly believe that it is because of my experience as a student-athlete, coupled with my other experiences at USD, that I have had such success with nationally competitive scholarships, internships and other professional opportunities.”

This summer, Swanson is interning with Stewards of Affordable Housing for Future in Washington, D.C., through the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. He plans to take a couple gap years working with the State of California as a legal and agricultural land equity initiative task force analyst and then attend law school.

“I am very grateful to have had so many opportunities at USD and people who encouraged me to pursue these opportunities and supported me along the way,” said Swanson. “I could not have been so involved at USD beyond athletics if it were not for the continued support of my coaches, Jason and Anthony, who truly recognize the value of being a student-athlete, where being a student comes first.

“My advisor, Sarah Wittmuss, was also instrumental in pushing me to become more than I ever thought possible, and I could not have done half of what I did at USD without her support,” said Swanson. “I would also like to acknowledge Eric Jepsen for helping me find my internships and other professional experiences, Melissa Berninger for helping me with all of my nationally competitive scholarship applications, Jessica Messersmith for helping me with the NCAA scholarship, Meghann Jarchow and Shane Nordyke for being remarkable professors and advisors, and, of course, my teammates, friends and family who were always there to support me.”

About the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage graduate education by rewarding the association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership are evaluated.  An equitable approach is employed in reviewing an applicant's nomination form to provide all student-athlete nominees an opportunity to receive the graduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race.  In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through graduate study.

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