Regents reject firm’s names for USDSU

Tara Halbritter

Tara Halbritter

In October, USDSU of Sioux Falls will officially become South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center (SDPURC).

“The name ‘USDSU’ no longer fits,” said assistant executive dean Ann Thompson.

The South Dakota Board of Regents paid Lawrence and Schiller, Sioux Falls, $5,000 to help with the renaming, but the firm’s suggestions were not used.

“Lawrence and Schiller was hired to give suggestions for the new name, but the South Dakota Board of Regents actually made the decision,” Thompson said.

School officials wouldn’t say what other names were considered, but various combinations of the words “universities,” “public,” “Sioux Falls,” “South Dakota,” “center” and “institute” were tossed on the table.

The mid-semester change was proposed to minimize confusion for enrolling students.

Expansion of the institution sparked the name change.

Prior to this year, programs were offered by SDSU, University of South Dakota and Dakota State University. Northern State University is now offering courses in Sioux Falls.

Next year, Black Hills State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are expected to jump on the SDPURC bandwagon.

“[SDPURC] is a place where multiple institutions come together to deliver their programs,” said Mark Lee, the center’s executive dean. “More programs will come to Sioux Falls as the

community grown.”

In a March 2006 USDSU newsletter, the public was encouraged to submit ideas on naming the center.

Lee said he feels the growth is good for all state colleges. The move gives them access to the Sioux Falls market.

Students currently have the opportunity to earn 50 different degrees through the center, 42 of which can be attained entirely on the Sioux Falls campus.

Savannah Zins is a senior in SDSU’s nursing program at USDSU. She recently moved to Sioux Falls after three years at SDSU.

“It provides for more local internships, job opportunities and entertainment options,” she said.

Zins doesn’t feel the new name will affect enrollment or clear up misconceptions about the center’s purpose.

“Many people did not understand what USDSU was or what it encompassed before the name change,” she said.

Robert T. Tad Perry, executive director of the BOR, said the expansion is an excellent opportunity for the public universities in the state, as well as for the people.

“It’s wonderful. It’s where the people are,” he said.

“SDPURC is going to grow.”

However, it will not offer its own degrees. By state law, the center is limited to merely housing the universities.

Plans for a more than $6 million research center and an $8 million classroom building are in also progress. The structures will be built near Career Avenue and 60th Street North.

USDSU currently leases a building from Southeast Technical Institute. Perry said leasing will probably continue until Southeast needs the classroom space.

Throughout the 2005-2006 academic year, the school had approximately 3,300 students, including part-time and full-time students. This year’s enrollment numbers have not yet been released.

Perry said the center’s target population is going to grow significantly over the next several years. He said in 20 years the population of people ages 20 to 24 is estimated to increase by 43 percent. The “working adults” population, ages 25 to 44, could show 48 percent growth.

“We’re serving the largest city in the state and the largest group of non-traditional students,” Thompson said. “The student group lives here. They don’t want to travel, and in many cases they can’t travel.”

She said more than 70 percent of students have had some college education, and they come to the Sioux Falls location to “finish what they started.”