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Steve Brown to Retire as President and CEO of the USD Foundation

University of South Dakota Foundation logo

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Foundation announced today that President and CEO Steve Brown will retire from the organization following nearly a decade of service that reshaped USD philanthropy and alumni engagement. Brown, who joined the foundation in January 2012, will remain in his role while a national search is conducted to identify his successor.

Under Brown’s leadership, the foundation has raised more than $350 million in support of the university, including through the successful completion of the largest comprehensive campaign in USD’s history – "Onward: The Campaign for South Dakota" – which raised over $270 million. Brown’s tenure is also marked by remarkable growth in the value of the foundation’s endowment, which now exceeds $325 million, more than double its value when he first assumed his leadership post.

“By any measure, Steve has been an outstanding leader of the USD Foundation. His strategic thinking and valuable counsel and leadership to the board and staff drove a decade of tremendous growth,” said Gary Begeman, chair of the USD Foundation Board of Directors. “The strong relationships and connections that Steve built between alumni and friends and the university will leave a lasting impact on the foundation and its support of USD. The board is incredibly grateful to Steve for his service and dedication.”

“I am proud of what our staff, campus partners, donors and volunteers have accomplished over the past decade,” said Brown. “I will always cherish the memories of the individuals who call USD their home. Together we have elevated philanthropy and positioned USD for great successes in the future.”

USD President Sheila Gestring acknowledged Brown’s impact on the landscape of USD philanthropy and alumni engagement. “Under Steve Brown’s leadership, the USD Foundation has played a pivotal role in expanding support for USD and its students and faculty, modernizing campus facilities and contributing to the advancement of scholarship and research while creating a culture of collaboration and partnership that has strengthened the connection with our growing alumni community of more than 70,000. Steve has been a wonderful colleague and will be greatly missed,” said Gestring.

Brown will continue to reside in Vermillion with his wife, Anna, and their daughter, Daisy.


The University of South Dakota Foundation, an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, has inspired philanthropy and managed charitable gifts for the benefit of the University of South Dakota since 1922.


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