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USD announces recipients of diversity, cultural leadership awards

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota recognized students, faculty and staff members who promoted social justice and intercultural awareness, and fostered positive relationships to promote diversity within the campus community at the Celebration of University Leadership awards program on Sunday, April 22.

The Dream Catcher Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals – through their deeds or actions – that represent best the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including social justice, equality and the preservation of Dr. King’s “dream,” was awarded to Cori Bazemore, USD Admissions Counselor and Multicultural Recruiter. A member of the Seneca Nations of Indians, Bazemore is a graduate of the University of South Dakota. In her role at USD, Bazemore is a driving force on campus for bringing awareness to diversity issues and events. She was nominated by Scott Pohlson, Dean of Enrollment, who noted “there isn’t a day that goes by that (Bazemore) isn’t thinking of ways to increase USD’s diversity and move USD forward with campus-based diversity activities.”

A photo of Bazemore is available for download at

The Vive la Difference Award recognizes a Career Services Employee who supports and fosters diversity on the USD campus. Ruth Hessman, senior secretary, Department of Chemistry of the College of Arts and Sciences, was cited for promoting diversity efforts on campus through her professionalism and timeliness in helping others. Nominated by Jan Koehn of Financial Services, Hessman was cited for “always willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of the chemistry department and the university.”

A photograph of Hessman is available for download at

The Rosa Louise Parks Award, given annually to a student who contributes to intercultural awareness, supports diverse activities and demonstrates positive interactions with others, was presented to Dakota Soucie of Fairfield, Neb. Described as “positive and always willing to help others,” Soucie is a member of the USD men’s swimming and diving team. His nomination for the award was based on the inspiration he brings as both an athlete and as a person.

A photo of Soucie is available for download at

Award recipients are presented with a framed certificate and an acrylic trophy. Nominations were provided by members of the university community in recognizing outstanding leadership in diversity and cultural awareness.


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 202 undergraduate and 78 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 nearly 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News