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USD Awards First Study Abroad Scholarships Via New International Opportunity Fund

VERMILLION, S.D. – The College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Dakota has chosen the first 14 students to receive scholarships to study abroad through the new International Opportunity Fund.

The fund was established by USD alumni Tom and Nancy Gallagher, who gave approximately $1 million to the USD Foundation to support international travel by students.

“We are so very grateful for a gift that helps open up the world to our students,” said Matthew C. Moen, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “They will learn so much from their immersion in distant lands and different cultures.”

With the help of the scholarship awards, which range from $600 to $2,500 each, students will travel to 11 different locations including Australia, the Galapagos Islands, Spain, Peru, Germany, Italy, Costa Rica and Scotland. The fund awarded nearly $20,000 of travel support. Still more dollars will be allocated through a competitive process in the fall.

“It’s a tremendous help,” said Ashley McKeown, a junior and Sioux Falls native who will go to Costa Rica this summer to take part in a service-learning internship and attend the University of Veritas. “I’m looking forward to improving my language skills and being fully immersed in the culture,” added McKeown, who is majoring in Spanish and international studies.

Martin Munoz, a sophomore political science and international studies major who is originally from Peru, will spend a semester near Budapest, Hungary. Munoz said the scholarship will help with the costs of tuition and travel expenses and will allow him to fulfill a lifetime dream—to study in Europe. “It is time for me to explore more areas of the world,” Munoz said. “The personal and cultural experiences will be great.”

Tom and Nancy Gallagher have long been staunch supporters of USD.  They serve as co-chairs of Onward: The Campaign for South Dakota. Originally from Redfield, Tom graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science in 1976, received his master’s degree from Harvard and spent a career in government and financial services. Nancy grew up in Yankton, earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Business in 1977, and has played a key role in the USD Foundation for many years.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


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.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News