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USD Celebrates Founder's Day

Picture of coyote statue. The University of South Dakota celebrates “Founder’s Day” on Friday, April 21.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota celebrates “Founder’s Day” on Friday, April 21, marking the 155th anniversary of its establishment by the first Dakota Territory Legislature in 1862.

This year’s event features a breakfast, Greek open houses, a birthday party with appearances by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, USD President James W. Abbott and SGA President Teagan McNary, along with athletic and arts events to celebrate the university’s beginnings.

USD was founded by Gov. William Jayne and the territorial legislature 17 years before South Dakota became a state. USD started out as the University of Dakota. At that time fewer than 1,000 settlers lived in the territory that stretched from Vermillion to Canada and included parts of Wyoming and Montana.

Full Schedule
7:30 a.m. - Founder’s Day Breakfast - MUC - join faculty, students and staff
12:30 p.m. - USD Birthday Party - MUC - Remarks by Gov. Daugaard, President Abbott, SGA McNary
2-4 p.m.- Greek Open House - all Greek chapter facilities
4-6 p.m.- USD Heritage Club Launch Event for retired staff and faculty, Red Steakhouse
6:30 p.m.- Spring Volleyball - Sanford Coyote Sports Center
7 p.m. - Spring Football Game - DakotaDome - tailgating prior to game
7:30 p.m. - Symphony Orchestra and Choral Concert, Aalfs Auditorium, Slagle Hall


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