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USD Earns Honorable Mention in National Digital Awards Program

Drone photo of Old Main with a sunset in the background. USD has been named honorable mention in the PRNEWS Digital + Social Media Awards in the Crisis Management category.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota has been named honorable mention in the PRNEWS Digital + Social Media Awards in the Crisis Management Campaign category.

The Digital + Social Media Awards program honors the most innovative and industry-altering digital communicators and campaigns. USD was recognized for its efforts in communicating with internal and external audiences during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the state’s only school of medicine, USD quickly became a resource not only to our students and staff, but to the entire region,” said Michelle Cwach, marketing communications and university relations assistant vice president. “With many layers, changes and complications, we knew that having a strategic and robust communication plan was crucial as we helped to lead the community through this major health crisis.”

Through partnerships with South Dakota and Vermillion community leadership, USD determined the best tactics to provide efficient and effective communication through email, social media, video content, informational webinars, virtual events and campus visits, and more. USD President Sheila K. Gestring also designated a strategic task force consisting of the university’s top researchers and leaders and medical professionals to monitor the pandemic and oversee decisions regarding university operations and protocols.

“We are honored to be among such well-known national brands in this awards program,” said President Gestring. “I’m incredibly proud of our faculty and staff who stepped up during the most unprecedented times to keep our community informed, inspired and safe.”


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