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USD announces major gift as 250 million dollars campaign launches

VERMILLION, S.D. -- As the University of South Dakota Foundation prepares to the launch the public phase of the $250 million Onward: The Campaign for South Dakota this evening (Friday, October 10), comes news of a major gift to the state’s flagship University. According to Steve Brown, president and CEO of the USD Foundation, three distinguished former faculty members of the USD Sanford School of Medicine have created faculty endowments in support of medical student education

The first endowed chair in the history of the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine has been established thanks to a $1 million gift from the estate of Dr. Karl Wegner. The initial recipient is Dr. Keith Hansen of Sioux Falls.

A second faculty chair will be endowed as the result of the generosity of Dr. Charley and Elizabeth Gutch. Their $3.7 million gift will establish the Charley and Elizabeth Gutch Chair. The late Dr. Gutch was associate dean of the Medical School from 1983-88. On retirement, he was named professor emeritus of the medical school.

Dr. John C. Sall committed more than $330,000 to establish the John C. Sall, M.D. Professorship in Medicine. This creates the first professorship in the history of the Sanford School of Medicine.

The announcement comes in advance of Friday evening’s expected release of the total raised during the leadership phase of the campaign at the Onward Red-Tie Launch Event. Nearly 700 University supporters, faculty and students will gather in the Muenster University Center to celebrate. A program will feature Gov. Dennis Daugaard, USD President James W. Abbott, Onward campaign co-chairs Tom and Nancy Gallagher, of Spearfish Canyon, S.D., and recent (2012) USD graduate and former Brandon, S.D. resident Cody Jamison Strand, star of “The Book of Mormon”on Broadway and on tour.

The most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the University, Onward will create scholarships, professorships, educational enrichment opportunities and facilities improvements. The latter includes the USD Sports Performance Enhancement Complex — with a 6,000-seat basketball and volleyball arena and outdoor track — on which construction has begun; expansion of the USD National Music Museum; and renovations to the School of Law and the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts.

The goal for the leadership phase of the campaign was set at $134 million — to exceed the $133,950,064 raised by Campaign South Dakota, which began in 2001 and concluded in 2007. “That’s a challenging goal that we are determined to meet,” Brown said. “Onward: The Campaign for South Dakota is a demonstration of unapologetic pride for our institution and its mission.”

For interviews or additional information, please contact

Betsy Rice, USD Foundation, (605) 929-9969,

Phillip Carter, USD Marketing & University Relations, (605) 677-6258,


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, Knudson 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