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Center for Disabilities' Kendra Gottsleben Honored with Governor's Award

Kendra Gottsleben headshot Kendra Gottsleben received South Dakota's 2020 Governor's Award for Outstanding Individual with a Disability.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Kendra Gottsleben, marketing and communications specialist at the University of South Dakota’s Center for Disabilities, has received South Dakota’s 2020 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Individual with a Disability.

Gottsleben is a state, national and international advocate for individuals with disabilities and rare disorders. She has authored three books and served as a keynote speaker at numerous events.

"Kendra may be a person with a disability, but she has never let this define her. She has always focused on her strengths and abilities, and she does the same with the people around her," said Eric Kurtz, Ph.D., executive director for the Center of Disabilities. "She shines with positivity."

The Center for Disabilities serves disabled people and their families throughout South Dakota with education, training, research and advocacy. It is a program of USD’s Sanford School of Medicine, and it is housed in the university’s Health Science Center in Sioux Falls.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


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