$12.5 million gift from T. Denny Sanford to go to USD law school


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VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – University of South Dakota law school now has a new name – the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law. The new name is a result of $12.5 million gift from T. Denny Sanford.

“Very impactful for the law school, transformational for the law school but as the state’s only law school and professional school within the USD, it has a wonderful impact in terms of students knowing that there is enormous support out there,” USD president, Sheila Gestring.

As part of this gift, the law school will now have the name of USD Knudson School of Law, to honor the legacy Dave Knudson.

“He is just a great example of what you should be as a lawyer, the second thing is Dave’s willingness to serve in public service, both serving as chief of staff for Governor Janklow and in the legislature and majority leader himself,” dean USD Knudson School of Law, Neil Fulton said.

Knudson has spent many years working with Sanford and says he is humbled by the renaming.

“It’s one of those feelings that is very hard to put into words and it’s something that you don’t work toward or aspire to, it just comes out of the blue in this case and I think does for everybody that gets an institution named for them,” senior vice president at United National Corporation, Dave Knudson said.

It will double the size of the school’s current endowment.

Fulton says the donation will help fund up to 10 student scholarships for every incoming class.

“We are able to package that in anyway we want so we can pursue need based, merit based, we can combine with other funds,” Fulton said.”The reality is that we are just changing the future for many, many law students for generations to come.”

Fulton says this is not only an investment in the school, but also the state, as many of those graduates can end up working in South Dakota.

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