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The University of South Dakota Names Franken New General Counsel

AJ Franken is named USD A.J. Franken, a USD School of Law alumnus, is USD's new general counsel.

VERMILLION, S.D. - The University of South Dakota has named A.J. Franken its new general counsel.

Franken, a Watertown native, graduated first in his class from the USD School of Law in 2013. Most recently, he served as general counsel to South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard. Prior to joining the Daugaard administration in 2015, he worked as a private practice attorney in Pierre.

As general counsel, Franken will provide legal advice and assistance to the president, administrators, faculty and staff of the university. He will also serve as a liaison between the university and the South Dakota Board of Regents on legal matters.

"We are excited to have A.J. Franken fill this critical position at USD," said USD President Sheila Gestring. "A.J. has experience navigating complex legal issues through his work in the governor's office, and has been active in encouraging the state of South Dakota to think proactively about legal risks. He has a passion for lifelong learning that was developed at USD, and we look forward to welcoming him home."

Franken said he is thrilled at the opportunity to return to his alma mater.

"It is an honor to be joining such a first-rate team at South Dakota's flagship university," Franken said. "I have always had a love for education, and I look forward to working with members of the campus community to address legal needs and move the University of South Dakota's educational mission forward."

Download a high-resolution photo of AJ Franken.


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