Nursing Press Release
 Video of News Conference - July 23, 2008  


July 23, 2008

Sioux Falls, S.D. – University of Sioux Falls (USF) President Mark Benedetto today announced that the school will be receiving a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for the creation of a school of nursing. The gift represents the largest grant that USF has ever received. The University will submit a formal application with the South Dakota Board of Nursing in September with the hope of enrolling its first students in fall 2009. USF will begin an immediate search for a nursing program director.

“We’re grateful the DOE recognized our past success and commitment to increasing access to faith-based postsecondary education,” said Chairman of the USF Board of Trustees Bob Veninga of St. Paul, Minn. “The leadership of USF is committed to students’ intellectual growth, but we’re equally interested in their spiritual formation and character development. This is a formula that will prove successful in preparing top-quality nurses for the 21st Century and beyond.”

The five-year, $2 million award under the department’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program serves as an enhancement to the University’s recently completed Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce-approved “Science for Success” campaign. The DOE funds will be used to recruit and employ highly qualified nursing faculty, develop curricula, acquire supportive instructional resources, purchase state-of-the-art equipment and fund the renovation of new science classrooms and teaching labs within the Salsbury Science Center. Additionally, a portion of the grant will provide seed money for an endowment that will be used to provide student scholarships in the future.

The proposed nursing program aligns well with the expressed mission of the University and would eventually translate into increased student enrollment,” said Benedetto. “Additionally, it would compliment similar programs offered throughout South Dakota that focus on providing quality healthcare for the state’s population.”

USF has experienced unparalleled growth since Benedetto began his tenure in 1997. Total enrollment has more than doubled, annual giving has increased by over 600 percent per year and the University’s endowment has grown from $5 million to more than $21 million. Within the past decade, USF has been involved in 14 building projects and has added roughly $32 million of institutional assets at two campus locations. New academic programs and adult learning programs in education and business administration have also been added. In May 2008 the University graduated more students, 420, than any other private college in South Dakota.

Since 2000 USF has seen a significant increase – 63 percent – in the number of students who declare science majors.

“Each year the University admissions office fields numerous inquiries from students interested in pursuing a nursing degree,” said Brett Bradfield, vice president and dean for academic affairs. Marketing research conducted for USF by an external agency indicated strong regional interest in a nursing program at the University. Given the statistical data forecasting a continuing shortage of qualified nurses for the state and region, USF is hopeful that this initiative will forge the way for collaborative and cooperative relationships across the state with a common goal to increase the pool of nurses serving in healthcare roles.

Founded in 1883, USF offers 33 major areas of study, 2 degree completion programs, 7 pre-professional programs, master’s degrees in business administration and education and a collaborative doctorate in education with the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Total enrollment for fall 2009 is expected to approach 1,700 students. USF draws 66 percent of undergraduates from South Dakota, and the neighboring states of Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming and Nebraska make up the majority of the remaining student body.

For all additional information please contact:

School of Nursing
University of Sioux Falls
1-605-331-6624 or 1-800-888-1047
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