University of South Dakota receives $12.5 million to rename law school

University of South Dakota receives $12.5 million to rename law school

The University of South Dakota has announced a $12.5 million gift from Giving Pledge signatory T. Denny Sanford in support of its school of law.

Made in honor of David Knudson, a USD alumnus who has known Sanford for decades, the gift will rename the school the Knudson School of Law. Born and raised in Yankton, South Dakota, Knudson earned a BA from Harvard University and a law degree from New York University before receiving his MBA from USD in 1981. While working for Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP, Knudson met Sanford and offered him legal advice, initiating a friendship that continues to this day. Knudson also served as a state senator from 2003 to 2011, served as Senate majority leader from 2007 to 2011, and is now a senior vice president at United National Corporation.

"This gift is tremendous because it more than doubles the size of our current endowment at the law school, and it will fund up to ten full-tuition student scholarships for every incoming class," said Neil Fulton, dean of the law school. "It literally changes the lives of ten students every year, and it gives us the opportunity to help ten students begin their careers right here in South Dakota."

"It's quite meaningful to see an investment of this size and to see the vision Mr. Sanford and Mr. Knudson have for securing the future of law in the state of South Dakota," said USD president Sheila K. Gestring. "The USD Knudson School of Law is the only law school in the state, and most of our graduates practice in the state and regionally. This gift is very important to continuing law in South Dakota."

(Photo credit: University of South Dakota)

"USD Law School receives historic gift, honors David Knudson with renaming." University of South Dakota press release 08/03/2020.