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Becvar leaving USD to become President COO of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota announces that Laurie Becvar, Ed.D, Senior Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, will become President and Chief Operating Officer of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation in July.

Becvar, who joined USD in 2004 as Dean of Statewide Educational Services, served in a variety of capacities integral to the university community. In 2009, she was named Dean of the Graduate School and the Division of Continuing and Distance Education. Under her direction, USD grew its graduate enrollment while serving students more effectively. She and her staff also grew Continuing and Distance Education to an operation that has become central to USD’s mission, serving more than 3,000 off-campus and distance students each semester. In 2011, Becvar became an essential part of the Provost team, assuming the role of Senior Associate Provost and was the University’s Accreditation Liaison Officer to the Higher Learning Commission.

Her work with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation began more than four years ago in planning what is now the Indian University of North America. This program, in collaboration with USD, has served students, especially Native American students, by offering the first semester of college for three years with a fourth year to begin in June. She will serve USD through June 21.

“Although I am proud that Laurie will assume such a critical role with an iconic South Dakota effort, USD is disappointed to see Laurie leave,” stated Chuck Staben, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at USD. “She has helped grow the curriculum and enrollment in the Division of Continuing and Distance Education and the Graduate School, and her ability to develop higher education opportunities for people beyond the classroom makes her a consummate educator. We wish her well in her new venture with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.”

Download a photograph of Becvar.


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