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University of Sioux Falls
University of Sioux Falls logo.svg
Former names
Dakota Collegiate Institute (1883–1885)
Sioux Falls University (1885–1931)
Sioux Falls College (1931–1995)
MottoCulture for Service
TypePrivate university
Established1883; 139 years ago (1883)
Religious affiliation
American Baptist Churches USA
Endowment$30.3 million (2019)[1]
PresidentBrett Bradfield
Academic staff

43°31′50.8″N 96°44′19.3″W / 43.530778°N 96.738694°W / 43.530778; -96.738694Coordinates: 43°31′50.8″N 96°44′19.3″W / 43.530778°N 96.738694°W / 43.530778; -96.738694
Purple & White
Sporting affiliations
Division IINSIC

The University of Sioux Falls (USF) is a private Christian university in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was founded in 1883. In fall 2014, the university enrolled a total of 1,142 undergraduate students and 311 graduate students.[2]


Founding and early history

On June 5, 1872, pastors and delegates of nine Baptist churches in the Dakota Territory gathered in Vermillion, South Dakota, at the first meeting of the Baptist Association. They adopted the following resolution: "Be it resolved that we take immediate steps for the establishment of an institution among us and that we devote a suitable portion of time at each annual meeting of the consideration of this important subject and give our individual associated influence to encourage a more general and complete education of our youth under distinctly Christian influence."

Under the name of Dakota Collegiate Institute, secondary and collegiate programs began on September 8, 1883. The institution's name changed to Sioux Falls University in 1885, with the secondary program called the academy and the collegiate department branded Sioux Falls College. Although the college grew, the academy's enrollment declined, forcing it to close in 1925.

Between 1929 and 1931, Sioux Falls College acquired four Baptist schools that had ceased to operate: Des Moines University, Des Moines, Iowa; Grand Island College, Grand Island, Nebraska; Cedar Valley Seminary, Osage, Iowa; and Parker College, Winnebago, Minnesota. With the 1931 merger of Grand Island College with what was still legally Sioux Falls University, the institution's official name became Sioux Falls College.

During the Second World War, the college lost its accreditation and offered 200 students, mainly women, two-year degrees. Enrollment surged when the veterans returned home, only to lapse to meager numbers two years later. Financially, the school was in dire straits.


Reuben P. Jeschke (1953–1970) helped regain full, regional accreditation in 1958, and under his leadership enrollment grew from 378 in 1958 to 1,006 in 1968 – a 166 percent increase. The institution's endowment, although modest, also grew, and what Jeschke described as a "near miracle" happened – a history of balanced budgets.

The most-visible change during this time was the campus. Jeschke oversaw the building of Mears Library, Salsbury Student Union, Salsbury Science Center, Jeschke Fine Arts Center and three residence halls. In fact, Time magazine featured the college's growth in 1967. The caption read: "Seven Buildings in Seven Years." The subtitle added: "But our stature comes from people." By the end of Jeschke's tenure, Sioux Falls College was well-positioned for the steady success of the 1970s and 1980s.

The 1980s saw the addition of a Degree Completion Program and graduate studies. Today, USF offers four graduate programs: Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Education Specialist (Ed.S.), and a joint doctoral degree in leadership with the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. USF also offers adult education programs: accelerated nursing and RN-to-BSN.

"Naming the future"

To better reflect the board of trustees' desire to "name the future", one with growth in student body, expansion of academic programs, improvement in facilities, and enhancement of the institution's reputation, Sioux Falls College became the University of Sioux Falls in 1995.

Dr. Mark Benedetto became the 22nd president in 1997.

In 2008, USF received a $2 million Title III grant from the Department of Education to start a nursing program. This grant provided funds for two simulation labs and the renovation of existing science lab facilities. The nursing program offers a 15-month accelerated program, an RN-to-BSN program and a traditional undergraduate program.

In 2011, the university added the USF Sculpture Walk to its campus and publicly kicked off its fundraising campaign titled the Uncampaign that ran through 2020.

In 2012, USF built a new Media Studies Center, created a new Music Technology lab for Music majors and added an IdeaLab for Entrepreneurial Studies majors.[3]


The University of Sioux Falls is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[4] The undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs in the Fredrikson School of Education are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation and approved by the South Dakota Division of Education. The university's social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and the university's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education. The undergraduate and graduate programs in the Vucurevich School of Business are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

The university also maintains membership in the South Dakota Association of Independent Colleges, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of South Dakota Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.[3]

Academic offerings

USF offers undergraduate programs, pre-professional programs, and graduate and adult-learning programs.

USF's study-abroad partner institutions include: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa; The American University of Greece, DEREE in Athens, Greece; Handong Global University in Pohang, Korea; and Universidad del Este in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Students may also apply for international study in one of USF's 10 CCCU semester-abroad programs.[3]

The university is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA, and welcomes students of any faith or denomination.[5]

Student life

USF offers more than 100 clubs, organizations and activities to join, 16 NCAA Division II Varsity sports and a wide variety of service opportunities. In addition, USF has weekly activities on campus such as Winter and Summer Olympics, monster golf, Pac Man competitions, speed dating and more. Campus growth has been paramount since 1997, with the addition of new programs, the increase in enrollment and the expansion of USF's physical footprint.[citation needed]

Student media

Buildings and facilities

Residence halls

The Bill and Marian Sullivan Faith and Living Center is USF's largest residence hall, housing up to 180 sophomore, junior and senior students. Named in honor of Sioux Falls entrepreneur Marian Sullivan, a 1950 Sioux Falls College graduate, and her husband Bill, it was completed in 2005 and is a three-floor residence hall that offers contemporary suite-style living.

Built in 1963, Grand Island Memorial Hall is a residence hall for 122 women.

John W. Kroske Hall is USF's oldest dormitory, built in 1959. It houses 78 men and women.

Mary Collier Baker Hall was finished in 2001 and is an apartment-style residence hall that provides housing for both men and women. Each furnished two-bedroom apartment is equipped for four people and comes complete with a kitchenette and bathroom/shower.

Patterson Hall features 23 one and two bedroom apartment-style living units that are designed for married students and upperclassmen. These units offer independent living with an on-campus location.

Warren W. Burgess Residence Hall was built in 1966 and is a residence hall for 116 men.

Campus buildings

The Cleveland Professional Development Center is the home of the Vucurevich School of Business. It was completed in 2001 and includes a large auditorium, classrooms, seminar rooms, computer labs, the IDEALab, faculty offices and boardroom. It also houses the Tom and Cindy Lillibridge Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation.

Glidden-Martin Memorial Hall houses the Roger and Ruth Fredrikson School of Education and Center for Christian Thought. It contains classrooms and faculty offices for the Education, Theology and Philosophy, Social Work and Spanish departments. It is also home to the American Baptist Churches of the Dakotas' office. It was completed in 1929 and remodeled in 2002.

Jorden Hall was built in 1908 and is a historic landmark in Sioux Falls. It houses administrative offices, classrooms and faculty offices. Major remodeling projects were completed in 1980 and 1994.

The Joseph E. Salsbury Science Center was completed in 1967 and contains scientific equipment, laboratories and classrooms for instructional programs in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and nursing. In 2007, a $3.3 million capital campaign in partnership with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce launched a $5 million renovation project. Completed in 2009, the upgrades and new addition added 14,000 square feet of classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices.

Completed in 2007, the McDonald Center houses services at the heart of student life. Named in honor of Barbara McDonald McMurchie and her late husband, Art McDonald, the center connects historic Pierce Hall (1923) and the Salsbury Student Union (1963). The McDonald Center includes a welcome center, Academic Success Center, bookstore, mailroom, cafeteria, Java City, Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Development, Residence Life, coaching staff and Student Association/Activities. A television studio and two radio stations are also housed in the McDonald Center as part of the Media Studies program.

The Norman B. Mears Library was completed in 1965 and contains approximately 89,000 items. The library houses campus audiovisual equipment, a computer lab, a curriculum lab, an art gallery and the archives.

The Reuben P. Jeschke Fine Arts Center was finished in February 1971 and was (at that time) the largest auditorium in South Dakota. It includes the Bright Music Halls, Abbott Hall of Art, Bernice Stier Jones Studio Theatre and E. B. Meredith Auditorium. It houses studios, classrooms and rehearsal areas for art, music, speech and drama.

The Stewart Center is the university's physical education, wellness and athletic facility, which opened in the fall of 1987. A 15,000- square-foot expansion was completed in 2000. The area contains offices, additional classrooms and workout facilities. Contained in the 41,000-square-foot building are a 160-meter running track; two volleyball courts; a full-size court and two smaller courts for basketball; four sets of locker rooms; areas for aerobic exercise and fitness machines; a whirlpool; and offices for faculty and coaches. Recent upgrades include: chair-back seating on the south side, a student section on the west side that features purple and refurbished floors.

The USF Sports Complex opened in 2007 and is home to Lillibridge Track and Bob Young Field. The complex includes a 93,000 square foot fully lit, synthetic turf field with foam underlayment – used predominately for football and an Olympic-sized 10-lane track. In 2009, a soccer field with Mondo turf was added, equipped with lights, a scoreboard and bleacher seating for 300. This field was the first FIFA sanctioned artificial turf installed in the United States. In 2012, USF purchased the Sanford POWER Center, a training facility for athletes, which is located at the complex. USF gained legal title to the building, its contents and 3.4 acres of land. In addition, USF gained naming rights to their sports complex at this time, which was originally the Sanford USF Sports Complex when Sanford Health became USF's exclusive naming rights sponsor in 2006.[3]


The Sioux Falls (USF) athletic teams are called the Cougars. The university is a member of the NCAA Division II ranks,[6] primarily competing the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) since the 2012–13 academic year.[7] Prior to joining the NCAA, the Cougars previously competed in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 2000–01 to 2010–11; and in the defunct South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference (SDIC) from 1977–78 to 1999–2000.

USF competes in 16 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

Move to NCAA Division II

On April 28, 2009, the university board of trustees voted to leave the NAIA and apply to join the NCAA Division II ranks.[8] After successful completion of two candidacy years and a provisional year in 2011–12, USF gained full membership into the NCAA.[6]

Former sports included wrestling and men's tennis, as both were dropped once USF moved to NCAA Division II in 2011. In the spring of 2013 USF dropped Men's Soccer after one year in DII [9] The tennis team had made five trips to the NAIA Championships in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010.



  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Download: USF Fast Facts". Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Course Offerings". Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "Mission and Vision". Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "New members for 2012-13 could include Association's first Canadian school". NCAA. July 13, 2012. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  7. ^ "It's Official; USF Cougars are NCAA D-II Members". University of Sioux Falls. July 12, 2012. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Sioux Falls cutting wrestling, men's tennis - townnews-aberdeennews". March 11, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  10. ^ "A Hawarden hero". Sioux City Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  11. ^ "Trey Pipkins - Football". Retrieved August 30, 2012.