Notice: In an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, several upcoming alumni events have been canceled or postponed. Please refer to the events calendar for the latest information.

For many incoming freshmen, the journey to becoming a Coyote began long before they became a student. It began with a parent or grandparent that attended USD and instilled in them a love and appreciation for their collegiate experience. University of South Dakota traditions run deep, from the antics of Charlie Coyote to the annual Dakota Days parade and football game. Seeing the importance of the USD traditions carried on within families is an honor. They deserve recognition of the Coyote pride they pass on to the next generation and the loyalty they possess for their alma mater. Recently, the Alumni Association board of directors found a way to recognize those making a multi-generational commitment to USD and to assist those families as their children embark on their own Coyote journey.

The board of directors for the USD Alumni Association, in collaboration with the USD Office of Admissions and USD Foundation, has put together an initial plan for the Coyote Legacy Scholarship Program, which will provide fifty, South Dakota “legacy” students of the 2018 freshmen class with $1,000 scholarships: $500 for the fall semester and $500 for the spring semester.

Torrey Sundall, chair of the alumni association board, feels the alumni association will be integral in promoting the Coyote Legacy Scholarship Program to fellow alumni. The hope is alumni view the scholarship as a benefit to not only students and the university, but to themselves as well. The Coyote Legacy Scholarship aims to inspire a life-long connection to the beloved university.

“It’s about supporting family; it’s supporting our own,” Sundall said. “This is our way of giving back to our alumni.”

Currently, the Board of Regents offers out-of-state “legacy” students in-state tuition, so the alumni association board wants to first focus on in-state students, but the goal is to grow the initiative so eventually all “legacy” students will be impacted, whether in-state or out-of-state.

Sundall also believes the scholarship will allow alumni to stay engaged with USD and begin their philanthropy to their alma mater, if they wish to do so.

“Giving back to your alma mater lets you impact students the same way you were impacted while attending USD,” Sundall said. “Students seeing past Coyotes giving back can affect them so when they graduate, they choose to give back as well, and the cycle of philanthropy continues.”

Scott Pohlson, vice president of enrollment, marketing, and university relations, thinks the Coyote Legacy Scholarship Program will provide insight into how many children of alumni attend USD and will positively impact both students and alumni.

“Knowing how many ‘legacy’ students attend USD will allow us to evaluate how we can improve on recognizing these students,” Pohlson said. “The Legacy Scholarship gives us the opportunity to pay it forward to these families and students for their commitment to USD.”

The Coyote Legacy Scholarship Program aims to bring the Coyote family together to recognize and support those who encourage attending USD and see it as the obvious choice. The hope is that this scholarship will impact generations of Coyotes to come.