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USD Announces Strategic Alignment Between the Alumni Association and Foundation

VERMILLION, S.D. – Following more than a year of discussion, the University of South Dakota Alumni Association and the University of South Dakota Foundation are moving forward to more closely align alumni engagement efforts. This action reflects a desire to enhance the lifetime relationships between nearly 70,000 alumni and friends of USD through a unified pathway for their continued involvement with the university.

“Our goal is simple. We want to nurture the bond between alumni, donors and friends – young and old – to this great university,” said USD President James W. Abbott. “The university, its alumni association and the foundation have a shared commitment to do just that. This alignment will increase our coordination and expand our outreach capabilities.”

“This is the right move for USD,” said Staci Stern `92, USD Alumni Association board chair. “We plan to give graduates and donors even more meaningful opportunities to stay connected, online and in person, whether they are in Vermillion or throughout the world.” Kersten Johnson, executive director of the alumni association agrees and said, “This is a positive change that will increase the number of loyal ambassadors and advocates for USD.”

“National trends have led to this type of integration of annual giving, development, marketing and communications,” said USD Foundation CEO Steve Brown. “We can increase our collective impact by coming together to build a sustaining culture of Coyote pride and commitment to USD.”

Abbott, Stern and Lorraine Hart, USD Foundation chair, will appoint a volunteer and staff leadership team to lead the integration. Based on the feedback and ideas gathered in these discussions, the alumni association and foundation will together consider and implement new or enhanced avenues of constituent engagement.

“We’re committed to asking our alumni for their guidance to find out what’s meaningful to them. And by taking action on those ideas, we can move USD onward,” Abbott said.

The alumni magazine, The South Dakotan, will continue to be a signature vehicle for alumni engagement and will regularly report on the progress of the integration.

Established in 1889, the USD Alumni Association aims to maintain lifelong connections between the university, alumni and friends of USD. The association publishes The South Dakotan alumni magazine biannually, which informs alumni, parents and friends of the university about the latest events and happenings at USD.

The USD Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, aims to inspire the alumni and friends and secure support for the development of the University of South Dakota, including campus improvements, faculty support and scholarship support for the university’s students. Onward, The Campaign for South Dakota, is the foundation’s current campaign that will advance four key priorities for the university: educational opportunities for students, faculty support, student and faculty enrichment, and the renovation and expansion of numerous facilities on campus.


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 84 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News