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Majors & Degrees

Denny Sanford gift will benefit DSU students

January 28, 2018

Future Dakota State University students will benefit from a recent donation made by well-known philanthropist Denny Sanford.

On January 29, 2018, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., announced receipt of a $30 million endowment gift from Sanford, who is a member of the association. Through this extraordinary gift, the Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Program has been established.

This new program will provide $3 million per year in scholarships for the next 10 years at 12 universities selected by Sanford; each will receive a scholarship allocation of either $250,000 or $150,000 per year based on current enrollment served. Dakota State is one of the seven South Dakota institutions selected, and will receive $150,000 per year.

“The cost of higher education can deter many bright, ambitious and determined high school students from entering college,” said José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University, “and yet the nation has a great need for such students in the workforce, particularly in cyber security and other highly technical fields. The Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Program will make it possible for deserving young people to earn a state-of-the-art degree at Dakota State, giving them the opportunity to transform their lives for the better.”

Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., is a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education. Alger was a 19th-century American author, best known for stories in which children overcame adversity through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. Sanford’s gift is the largest single donation ever received by the association since its inception in 1947.

“I have always measured success by how much I can do for others to improve their lives,” said Sanford, who is chairman of the board for United National Corporation, the holding company for First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard, headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“The mission of Horatio Alger Association is rooted in that philosophy and I am proud to support our Scholars in this important way. I have every confidence that the Horatio Alger Scholars who choose to attend any of these 12 universities will have their lives transformed for the better,” Sanford noted.

“Denny Sanford’s commitment to higher education and helping young men and women achieve success is storied in American philanthropy,” said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient.

“We are deeply grateful to Denny for making the decision to support the name is a reminder that through hard work, perseverance and a belief in one’s self, all things are possible,” Rose stated.

The Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Program will benefit Horatio Alger Scholars beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year. Eligibility for this special scholarship is two-fold. Students selected through the established application process for the Horatio Alger National and State Scholarship Programs who then matriculate into one of the 12 selected universities are eligible for this award. In addition, students who apply to any of the 12 selected universities and are then identified by admissions counselors as meeting the Horatio Alger Scholar criteria are also eligible.

Other universities receiving support from the Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Program are:

  • University of South Dakota ($250,000/year)
  • South Dakota State University ($250,000/year)
  • Augustana University ($150,000/year)
  • University of Sioux Falls ($150,000/year)
  • South Dakota School of Mines ($150,000/year)
  • Black Hills State University ($150,000/year)
  • University of Minnesota ($250,000/year)
  • University of California San Diego ($250,000/year)
  • National University ($250,000/year)
  • Long Island University ($250,000/year)
  • Arizona State University ($250,000/year)

It is a goal of the HAA to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system, and awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like association members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced great adversity and have displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming them. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need. Scholarships are funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.

For more information regarding this landmark gift to the Horatio Alger Association, please visit www.horatioalger.org.