Abbott to retire at USD

From staff reports

President Jim Abbott will retire next June after a 20-year career at the University of South Dakota.

“This has been both the most rewarding – and the most demanding – job of my life,” Abbott said. “USD is positioned well for the future. We have a strong and growing enrollment, academic programs that are second to none and Division I athletics.”

Jim Abbott

Abbott is the school’s 17th president, the only alumnus to serve as president and the second longest-serving president in the university’s 155-year history. The 69-year-old  became president of USD in 1997.

“I’m proud of my alma mater and all the progress we’ve made,” he said. “Now, it is time for new leadership to take USD to the next level.”

Abbott entered the president’s office with a budget of $90 million. Today, the university’s budget is $215 million. Enrollment has grown from 7,448 to 10,261 students. The number of full-time faculty has increased from 393 to 436, while the staff has stayed the same at about 1,400.

Scholarships and financial awards to students have almost tripled from $6.5 million in 1997 to $24 million last year. The USD endowment is six times larger, growing from $45 million to $258 million.

During the past 20 years, Abbott has led a vigorous building campaign to repair and refurbish historical structures on campus and upgrade laboratories while adding these new buildings:

  • Lee Medical Building, 2008.
  • Muenster University Center, 2008.
  • Beacom School of Business, 2010.
  • Coyote Village residence hall, 2010.
  • Wellness Center, 2011.
  • Sanford Coyote Sports Center and Track-Soccer Complex, 2016.

In addition, the USD Discovery District, now under construction near University Center in Sioux Falls, will build on Abbott’s vision of turning university research into viable, commercial products, boosting the economy and providing research opportunities for USD students.

The district will expand on the success of the Graduate Education & Applied Research Center also located next to University Center. GEAR, built in 2009, supports applied research by the public universities in the state and is home to USD’s biomedical engineering doctoral program.


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Abbott to retire at USD

President Jim Abbott will retire next June after a 20-year career at the University of South Dakota. 

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