A Proud Heritage, An Exciting Future
We're USD - the state's flagship university. Founded in 1862 by the first Dakota Territorial Legislature, USD was the first university in the Dakotas. The University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 66 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, 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 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level. We're memorable mentors and lifelong friends. We're world-class academics and out-of-class opportunities. We're innovative technology and long-standing tradition. We are South Dakota. Learn more.
At the heart of the USD campus, historic Old Main is the University's oldest building. Originally built in 1883 as University Hall, a fire destroyed Old Main in 1893, but it was immediately rebuilt. While an assortment of materials and adornments from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair were used in the rebuilding, the iconic spires that folklore often suggests were part of the rebuilding were not hewn from this material.The building was completely renovated from 1993-1997 and now serves as the home to classrooms, USD's honors program, the Center for Academic Engagement, Farber Hall and the Oscar Howe Gallery.
The University's annual homecoming celebration, Dakota Days—or D-Days—attracts spirited alumni back to campus while allowing current students to display their creativity in planning and promoting the week-long festivities. The celebration dates back to 1914 when President Robert L. Slagle encouraged an event to "promote campus spirit and harmony." The result was "South Dakota Day" (later shortened to "Dakota Day" and now the week-long celebration "Dakota Days") as students elected royalty, built floats, paraded through the streets of Vermillion and cheered on the University's football team—in much the same way they do today. D-Days is also the time when the USD Alumni Association presents its highest honors, the USD Alumni Achievement Awards.
"Legacy" Coyote Statue
Legacy is a bronze statue designed by alumnus sculptor Cameron Stalheim BFA '10 prominantly located at the intersection of University and Cherry St. near the Muenster University Center. The work, commissioned and chosen by the student body, was dedicated during Dakota Days weekend in 2012 in celebration of the University's 150th anniversary. Bronze replicas are available for sale through the USD Alumni Association. Please call to inquire.
The Coyotes stay warm, dry and virtually unbeatable inside one of the region's most recognizable structures, the DakotaDome. Opened in 1979, the Dome provides an electric atmosphere for students and an unparalleled home-field advantage for Coyote Athletics. The storied structure also plays a key role in the matriculation of students as the venue for both the welcoming Convocation Ceremony and the degree-completing Commencement Exercises.
In addition, the Dome provides the entire USD student body with fitness and recreational opportunities and annually welcomes more than 480,000 fans and athletes—and a few Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons—through its gates.
Visit the official website of Coyote Athletics.
It's only fitting that the official animal of the state of South Dakota is also the mascot of the state's flagship university. However, long before the Coyote (always pronounced "Ki-YOTE" around here) was honored by the state in 1949, it became a symbol for the University's athletic teams. Intercollegiate athletics began at USD in 1889, and when the school's first yearbook was published in 1902, the editors had already dubbed its teams "the Coyotes." The name stuck, and USD has since been represented by a variety of versions of the coyote from real, live coyotes to today's costumed mascot, Charlie Coyote. The rallying cry, "Go 'Yotes" can be heard whenever red-clad USD alumni, friends and fans get together.
The University of South Dakota has not one, but three fight songs: Hail South Dakota, South Dakota Victory and Get Along Coyotes, and all are used to rally and unite the Coyotes on the playing field or anywhere alumni gather.
Most commonly, back-to-back renditions of Hail South Dakota and South Dakota Victory are played as one "official" song at fan and alumni functions. On game day, listen for South Dakota Victory following a touchdown, Hail South Dakota after the extra point and fan-favorite Get Along Coyotes after a big play or at any time the crowd feels inspired.
USD Fight Song Lyrics
South Dakota Victory Author and composer unknown
Fight, South Dakota,
You're the pride of the Western plain
As we cheer each victory
Ever loyal will our love remain to you, South Dakota
You're a great university
So, Yipeeo, here we go forward today,
South Dakota victory!
Hail South Dakota by Oliver Johnson
Hail, South Dakota, Pride of the West,
Old alma mater, Noblest and best,
We rally 'round thee, Marching abreast,
Hail thee! Hail thee!
Riding the crest.
Thy sons and daughters ever will be
Loyal and true to thee.
Varsity, varsity, Hail varsity! U. S. D.
Get Along Coyotes by Fred Waring, Roy Ringwald and Pat Balard 1941
Get along, you Coyotes, get along.
Sing a song, you Coyotes, sing a song.
For Vermillion and White
You gotta fight, fight, fight.
Get along, you Coyotes, get along.
Raise the dust, you Coyotes, raise the dust.
Win you must, you Coyotes, win you must.
Chase 'em on till they drop
Don't ever stop, stop, stop
South Dakota raise the dust, you Coyotes, raise the dust.
Cheer for the Coyotes,
We're for the Coyotes,
Cheer! We're here for vitory today.
Oh South Dakota, Go South Dakota,
Go! Go! Go! Dakota, win today!
Doc Farber Statue
USD professor emeritus of political science, mentor to students and stalwart of South Dakota political history William O. "Doc" Farber passed away in 2007 at the age of 96. But the iconic USD professor's legacy and spirit lives on under the watchful eye and insightful expression of the Doc Farber statue located in front of historic East Hall on the USD campus. Good grades are said to "rub off" on those who stop to wish Doc's statue well:
"The keys to a happy, acceptable, and productive life are participation, involvement and concern for others. I have hoped, by example, to inspire you to be change agents. Often your intellect, I know, has been superior to my own; only my experience has been greater and that I have tried to permit by association 'to rub off on you.'" —Doc Farber, 1976