Annual Nikki's Fund 5K raises money for USD students in crisis

Author Eric Marcus to present Sept. 7 program on suicide prevention

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota and the community of Vermillion will host Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Prentis Park. This annual event, part of National Suicide Prevention Week on the USD campus, raises suicide prevention awareness and money for USD students in crisis situations.

Registration forms for the Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Awareness are available at the front desk of the Al Neuharth Media Center on the USD campus; at the USD Student Counseling Center, which is located in Julian Hall 336; on-line at; or participants can complete a registration form the day of the event beginning at 8 a.m. Pre-registration is $10 by Sept. 8 while cost is $15 after that date, including the day of the race. All proceeds from the event, including the registration fee and in-kind donations, will go to Nikki’s Fund, which was established in memory of Nicole Vallie Harris, the daughter of Janine Harris, manager of the Al Neuharth Media Center, who died from suicide on June 15, 2005. Nikki’s Fund donations support suicide prevention programs and other mental health needs for USD students.

The 2011 race/walk begins at 9 a.m. at Prentis Park and takes participants on a scenic route through the south section of Vermillion. Prizes from the 5K will be awarded to the first place finishers in the male and female categories of 15 and under, 16 to 25 years old, 26 to 54 years old, and 55 and over. T-shirts and refreshments will also be provided. For more information about Nikki’s Fund or to make a donation, please call (605) 677-5424.

Additionally, Nikki’s Fund, USD and Sanford Vermillion will host author Eric Marcus as part of National Suicide Prevention Week, which is the week of Sept. 4-10. Marcus, a former associate producer for CBS Morning News and Good Morning America, will present, “Surviving Suicide: Living Life in the Aftermath of a Loved One’s Suicide,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at Farber Hall, Old Main. The author of several books for teens and parents, Marcus’ program includes a panel discussion with family members who have lost loved ones to suicide as well as a Q&A with audience members.

Marcus is the author of “Why Suicide? Questions & Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know” and currently serves on the national board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. His presentation is free and open to the public.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 198 undergraduate and 79 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hailie Warren
USD News