This is the first year USD will host a single commencement ceremony to honor all graduates of the academic year. Winter commencement was eliminated in December 2017. And it’s the first commencement to be held in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center instead of the DakotaDome.

It’s also the first time undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will be held separately – the undergraduate ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and the graduate ceremony at 3 p.m..

The speaker for the undergraduate ceremony is Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who serves the Texas 8th congressional district north of Houston and chairs the House Ways and Means Committee. He is a distinguished alumnus of USD who was born in Vermillion, raised in Rapid City, and received a mass communications degree from USD.

The graduate ceremony speaker is David Pearce, Ph.D., executive vice president of innovation and research at Sanford Health. In addition to leading a lab researching Juvenile Batten disease, he is responsible for overseeing the development of research programs across Sanford’s nine-state footprint, including more than 450 researchers, eight research centers and more than 300 ongoing clinical trials. He also oversees a national registry for rare diseases and is currently a member of the executive committee for the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium.

Commencement Map and Parking


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