Every fall, USD prepares to welcome the incoming freshmen class to campus. It’s another chance to usher in the newest Coyotes and get them excited about the community and family they’ve just joined. For some students, they are continuing the family tradition of attending USD. To honor those making a multi-generational commitment to USD, the board of directors for the USD Alumni Association, in collaboration with the USD Office of Admissions and USD Foundation, initiated the Coyote Legacy Scholarship Program, which provided 59 South Dakota “legacy” students of the 2018 freshmen class with $1,000 scholarships.

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.”

Riley Johnson recently started his freshman year at USD and will be studying history education. His mother and father both attended USD. Riley’s grandfather was also a Coyote. Riley said he would attend football and basketball games growing up, instilling a strong connection to USD.

“Some of my better memories from childhood are going to USD events,” Riley said.

Riley’s parents and grandfather were excited when they found out he received the Legacy Scholarship and would be continuing the family legacy at USD.

“It means a lot to me. The Legacy Scholarship is special since I qualified for it because of my parents,” Riley said.

Both of Brady Cameron’s parents also attended USD, along with a couple uncles and an aunt. Brady will be pursuing a degree in business and hopes to get involved in a few marketing clubs. He found out about the Legacy Scholarship while at the state track meet and immediately filled out the application.

“It’s an honor to continue on my family’s tradition and be part of this town and community,” Brady said.

Carrying on the family tradition was also important to Piper Schulz who will study nursing. Her mother, aunts, grandfather and grandmother all attended USD. Her mother earned degrees in biology (botany) and physical therapy while her grandmother earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry. Piper is ecstatic to be the next woman in her family to study science and medicine at USD.

“I didn’t tour many places because after I toured USD, I knew I wanted to go here,” Piper said. “It’s comforting to know that my family has been here.”

Rachel Eggers is studying health sciences at USD. She also has a long line of family members that attended the university. Her father, mother, brother, grandfather, three uncles and two aunts are all part of the Coyote family. She attended basketball games growing up so when she toured, she was already quite familiar with Vermillion.

“I toured other places, but I felt the most comfortable and at home here,” Rachel said. “I’m excited to be part of the legacy.”

Logan Johnson is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who both attended USD. Logan plans to study finance and pre-law. His grandfather, who passed away a few years ago, always bought football season tickets and Logan says his father will likely carry on that family tradition. His grandfather was also active in Farber Fund and was passionate about supporting USD.

“We were very excited for the generous scholarship and the opportunity to take advantage of it,” Logan said.

Logan looked around before choosing USD, but it was always a top choice in his mind because of the value for the education, the connections he had already made with staff, and the family traditions. Logan and his father were grateful for the scholarship because it served as a testament to the time and support his grandfather gave to USD.

“It meant a lot to see the university give back to our family,” Logan said.

Sydney Payne grew up attending the Dakota Days parade which was the highlight of the fall season for her. She played trumpet in her high school’s marching band and was able to march in the Dakota Days parade herself. She loved being a part of the excitement at USD before she became a student.

“I knew I wanted to go to USD since I was a freshman in high school,” Sydney said. “It was always my top choice and actually the only school I looked at.”

Sydney’s mother attended USD for physician assistant studies and Sydney is majoring in medical biology. Both Sydney and her mother were excited to hear USD was giving back to alumni and that Sydney would be receiving the Legacy Scholarship.

“USD is very open to the community and to families,” Sydney said. “They make it very easy to feel a part of the Coyote family.”

Riley, Brady, Piper, Rachel, Logan and Sydney are just a few of the students who were impacted by receiving the scholarship. The Coyote Legacy Scholarship Program aims to bring the Coyote family together to recognize and support families who make multi-generation commitments to USD. The hope is that this scholarship will impact generations of Coyotes in the years to come.