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USD continues historic relationship with Sanford Health

Gift to transform USD campus, support scholarships and faculty

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Two long-time partners announced today their relationship will continue for another 20 years. The University of South Dakota and USD Foundation announced today a $20 million donation from Sanford Health to the University of South Dakota that will launch a transformation of USD athletic facilities as well as support student scholarships and university faculty.

In addition, Sanford Health will continue to serve as the exclusive sports medicine provider of Coyote Athletics for the next 15 years. Sanford Health has had a long-standing relationship with USD and has served as the sports medicine provider for the university since 2005.

“As I see it, the challenge has now been issued to USD alumni and friends to match the Sanford gift and make our vision a reality,” said USD President James W. Abbott.

To date, USD Athletic Director David Sayler has received commitments totaling an additional $9 million for the project with a portion pledged to the new outdoor track project and the remainder directed toward the arena.

Sanford Health’s 20-year gift will be used to help build a 6,000-seat basketball and volleyball arena that serves as the cornerstone for a $70 million project that will change the face of USD. In addition to construction of the arena, plans include a track & field and soccer complex, football and basketball practice facilities and DakotaDome renovations. Sanford’s gift will also support scholarships, faculty and the University’s health services program, including the addition of classrooms and office space for USD’s Kinesiology and Sports Science Department, a weight room, athletic offices and a state-of-the-art sports medicine area to be housed in the building between the Dome and arena.

“It’s been an honor to work with USD for many years, and it’s an honor to continue that relationship. In addition to the obvious orthopedics and sports medicine partnership, there are multiple other connections with USD that support the education of our future employees in programs like physical and occupational therapy, exercise science and athletic training. We are also delighted to support faculty and health service program scholarships with this contribution,” stated Kevin Lampe, Sanford Health corporate vice president, orthopedics & sports medicine practice.

“Sanford Health is making an imprint on our campus with their generous support of the University of South Dakota,” added USD Foundation President and CEO Steve Brown. “This is more than an investment in Coyote Athletics. It is a commitment to our students, the Vermillion community, the region and the state of South Dakota.”

According to Sayler, once the project is completed, the DakotaDome and surrounding area will resemble a true Division I athletic complex and serve as a “front door” venue in welcoming student-athletes and campus guests with the Coyote Athletic Hall of Fame and various fan services and amenities.

“We are very appreciative of this very generous gift from Sanford Health. It is a great day for Coyote Athletics and the University of South Dakota. This transformational gift brings us closer to completing some very critical facility needs that will positively impact our athletes, coaches, fans and staff for years to come,” said Sayler. “We are excited to continue our long-term partnership with Sanford Health and are prepared to take it to the next level.”

An image of the proposed arena’s interior: and an image of the complex upon completion of the project:


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


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.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News