Alumni Achievement Awards

Recognizing Outstanding Alumni

A cornerstone Dakota Days event, the Unleash Your Legacy Alumni Achievement Awards celebrates outstanding alumni for their personal and professional achievements, service within their communities, and loyalty to USD. Honorees are recognized in the following four categories: Service to the University, Public Service, Professional Achievement and Emerging Leader.

Nominations for the 2021 Alumni Achievement Awards are now closed.

Note: Nominations closed on May 31.

A Tradition of Honoring Alumni

The Alumni Achievement Awards have honored outstanding alumni for decades. Check out the list below to see if you recognize any familiar Coyotes!

Past Recipients

Meet the 2019 Recipients

Award recipients were recognized at the Unleash Your Legacy reception and Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony, which took place on Friday, October 4, 2019.

Dave Hultgren '79

Residing in Spirit Lake, Iowa, Dave Hultgren is a 1979 graduate of USD where he earned a degree in business administration. Dave was a member of the Coyote Football team where he played defensive end. In 2001, Dave was inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame. Dave and his wife Paula have remained active supporters of Coyote Athletics over the years, with the new weight room in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center being named the David and Paula Hultgren Family Weight Room. In addition, Dave has served on the Howling Pack board and is an active member of the Coyote Brotherhood football alumni group.

Dave Hultgren

Alissia Canady '10 - Public Serivce

Alissia Canady is an attorney in private practice. She was elected in 2015 to the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, to represent the Fifth Council District. Prior to being elected, she was an assistant prosecuting attorney for Jackson County. Recently, she was a candidate in the 2019 mayoral primary and the first African American woman to receive the Kansas City Star’s endorsement for mayor. She graduated from USD School of Law in 2010. While at USD, she was president of the Black Law Student Association and participated in the law school mentor program and has since traveled internationally.

Alissia Canaday

Bob Sutton '90, '95 - Professional Achievement

Bob Sutton graduated from USD in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and in 1995 with a Master of Public Administration. Bob has held several positions within Avera Health System, including executive vice president of human resources, regional president and CEO of Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre and senior vice president of community relations. Most recently, he was named president and CEO of Avera Health System. Outside of Avera, Bob has years of professional and executive experience, including but not limited to president of the South Dakota Board of Regents and president of the South Dakota Community Foundation.

Bob Sutton

Laura McNaughton '11 - Emerging Leader

Laura McNaughton, M.D., graduated from the USD Sanford School of Medicine in 2011 at the top of her class. She is the first medical student in the history of USD to be accepted directly into a highly competitive plastic surgery residency, where she was rigorously trained in breast and skin cancer reconstruction, surgery of the hand and cosmetic surgery of the face and body. Today, she is a plastic surgeon at McNaughton Plastic Surgery. Laura is the recipient of academic and professional awards, including “Best Emerging Author Paper” in plastic and reconstructive surgery and earned the title of “Best Plastic Surgeon” in the Sioux City Journal Reader’s Choice Awards.

Dr Mc Naughton