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Sanford Gift to Benefit USD Medical School

Residents of South Dakota have many blessings to count as they look forward to the new year. Today hometown philanthropist T. Denny Sanford gave them 20 million more.

Governor Michael Rounds announced a gift of $20 million from Mr. Sanford earmarked for The University of South Dakota School of Medicine to ultimately improve the state of healthcare for all South Dakotans.

"I want to personally thank Denny for this most generous gift to The University of South Dakota and for sharing the vision of our 2010 Initiative," said the Governor. "His support will provide more opportunities for our best and brightest medical students to stay right here in the state; retainour bestmedical school teachers and provide enhanced medical teaching techniques; as well as create research opportunities for both the teaching staff and our students. This truly is a great day for healthcare in South Dakota."

The South Dakota Board of Regents also announced the name of the University’s School of Medicine will be changed, effective immediately, to the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota in recognition of the magnitude of Mr. Sanford’s gift and its positive consequences for the institution and the state.

"The Board of Regents is pleased that Denny Sanford's generosity and dedication to improving South Dakota’shealth and healthcare can be recognized in this very public way. Many schools of medicine across the country carry the name of benefactors who have unselfishly invested in helping others," said Harvey Jewett, President of the Board of Regents, in making the re-naming announcement. "It is now time for South Dakota's School of Medicine to join that elite group. The Board will therefore take official action today to establishthe Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota."

The general goals of the gift are to enhance the scope, reputation, resources and quality of medical education. In keeping with Mr. Sanford’s long established commitment, he has indicated special interest in fostering the further growth and development of the USDSM Pediatrics Department. Sioux Valley Hospital and Sioux Valley Health System have a long history of supporting the USD School of Medicine through financial contributions, physician recruitment and program development. The Sioux Valley Hospital campus serves as a unique and successful teaching location for the education of USD medical students.

"The best investment I can make in the future is bringing to life the vision I share with Governor Rounds, the state Board of Regents, the leadership of Sioux Valley and The University of South Dakota," said Mr. Sanford. "Our common vision is that South Dakota residents enjoy the best health, the finest healthcare and the most outstanding quality of life in the nation."

"I am making this gift to Sioux Valley Hospital, an institution with which I enjoy a strong relationship," he continued. "I have the utmost confidence that in collaboration with Sioux Valley Hospital, the Sanford Medical School will quickly become one of our country’s premiere academic medical centers to the benefit of millions of individuals, thousands of families and scores of South Dakota communities in the decades ahead. I am particularly excited at what the School will be able to achieve for the state’s youngest citizens, who have a special place in my heart."

 Sioux Valley will provide the pledged funds to the University, starting with a donation of $4 million in 2006, followed by $2 million annually for 8 years. "While the state provides a critical base of support for the Medical School, this gift will allow us to do more with what the state contributes," added Mr. Jewett. "It is not a replacement, but an enhancement that will further strengthen the breadth and depth of the Medical School's programs."

Mr. Sanford has been a major benefactor of Sioux Valley Hospital in the recent past, donating $16 million for the construction of a new Sanford Children’s Hospital, and very recently making a generous gift to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota which creates collaboration between Sioux Valley Hospital’s pediatric specialists with those of the Mayo Clinic.

"This is a momentous day for South Dakota medical education, and for South Dakota public higher education. We are tremendously grateful for Mr. Sanford’s generous support," said University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott. "I also want to express our gratitude to Sioux Valley Hospital for its continued commitment to quality healthcare in South Dakota. This gift will help the new Sanford School of Medicine rise to even greater prominence and will help fund our ever-growing research efforts."

According to Rod Parry, M.D., Dean of the USD School of Medicine, the $20 million will create an endowment fund to provide long-term support to the School’s faculty, training programs and development. Parry noted the gift is a timely one, given developments in medical education nationwide which are responding to population growth, demographic trends, changes in medical technologies and the looming retirement of a large number of practicing physicians.

"The future at Sanford School of Medicine will be focused on the further development of training programs and research initiatives," said Dr. Parry. "The impact on South Dakotans will be significant because we do exceptionally well in educating our students and residents and a great number of them practice in South Dakota after they complete their medical training."

According to University and Medical School records, some 48 percent of the state’s 1,276 current physicians are USD School of Medicine graduates. The School was recently ranked 13th among the nation’s 125 medical schools for achievements in Rural Medicine and 27th in the nation for Family Medicine.

Sioux Valley and USD enjoy a close working relationship that has resulted in the creation and growth of a superb academic medical center," said Becky Nelson, President of Sioux Valley Hospital USD Medical Center. "Today’s gift is yet another way of commemorating the unique and successful relationship between USD and Sioux Valley and between Sioux Valley and Denny Sanford. We are excited that he has now challenged us to reach higher and dream bigger about how we can enhance these relationships to benefit more people in an even more profound and lasting way."

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Tell us more about the reasons for the donations and the donor’s philanthropic interest.
Mr. Sanford’s contribution is a special way for him to say thank you to the people of South Dakota and help further develop the great institutions of learning and healing that will serve them in years ahead. The institutions he is supporting - The University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Sioux Valley - will ensure that the accessibility to physicians and quality health care is accomplished for all South Dakotans.

He has always believed it is critical to help the youngest members of our society, whether in health care or education. Our future depends on how we nurture our children. He is gratified that this gift will be used to help educate the best and brightest South Dakota young people so that they may serve our communities in years ahead. He believes this gift will strengthen medical education as well as research and patient care involving the School of Medicine and Sioux Valley which will benefit all South Dakotans.”

Mr. Sanford’s philanthropic interests significantly relate to children and are exemplified in his $16 million contribution for the construction of the Sanford Children’s Hospital at Sioux Valley and the recently announced $15 million Mayo Clinic-Sioux Valley T. Denny Sanford Pediatric Collaboration Program and the new pediatric center at Mayo Clinic.

2. Why and how is Sioux Valley involved in the contribution?
Mr. Sanford has an established relationship with Sioux Valley and knows they will help make sure the gift can be used to support programs and initiatives that make a difference in strengthening the School of Medicine. He recognizes the integral role Sioux Valley Hospital University of South Dakota Medical Center plays in supporting future success of the school including faculty and leadership development and research. Sioux Valley will be contributing a total of $20 million over a nine year period for these purposes.

3. What will the gift be used for?
The gift will be used to develop an endowment fund for long-term support to the School of Medicine’s Training Program and to develop future growth in the years ahead. Sioux Valley will provide assistance in the meantime with costs associated with leadership and faculty to develop as needed by the School in pursuing its plans for the future.

4. What goals are there for the gift?
The gift will be used to enhance the scope, reputation, resources and quality of medical education at the School of Medicine through program development and coordination between Sioux Valley and the School of Medicine with a specific goal of further development of the School of Medicine’s Pediatrics Department.

5. How will the gift benefit South Dakotans?
Improvements in medical education in South Dakota will help train and retain the best doctors for the State. As a result, South Dakotans will have better access to more and better health care services in the future. Enhancing the Medical Schools’s overall program will also help facilitate initiatives and contribute to economic development and quality of life throughout communities in the State. This includes the education, research and patient care missions to be supported through the gift and the relationship of the School of Medicine and Sioux Valley.

6. How was it decided to change the name of the Medical School?
The School of Medicine will be renamed Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota in honor of Mr. Sanford’s gift. As is the case at other Universities throughout the country, gifts of this magnitude deserve the honor of naming the school after the donor. It is an expression of gratitude and the State is pleased that Mr. Sanford is allowing his name to be used.

7. How does the gift relate to State funding for the Medical School?
State funds underwrite a portion of the School of Medicine’s budget and need to remain in place to continue the basic mission of the school. Mr. Sanford’s gift will enhance these programs and complement and further develop their ability to achieve best possible medical education programs and service to the State. State funding is essential for this reason.

8. How does the gift support other priorities for South Dakota?
Included in the Governor’s 2010 Initiative are key objectives related to research and development. A stronger medical school will help create more capacity for research and development in the State which benefits and supports these important priorities. Success has already been seen in the investment in such programs by increased funding received from outside funding sources. This relates to employment and economic development throughout the State.

9. Tell us more about the relationship between the Medical School and Sioux Valley.
Over the years, Sioux Valley has provided significant support to the buildings, programs and research development associated with the School of Medicine. In keeping with the goals of the gift to enhance the scope, reputation, resources and quality of medical education at the School of Medicine through program development and coordination between Sioux Valley and the school, there will be further opportunities to support the overall goal of these developments.

10. Will other hospitals continue to be involved with the Medical School?
Yes, School of Medicine programming and relationships with other hospitals and providers will not be affected by this gift. The relationships established with Rapid City Regional, Avera, and the VA will not change. Nothing about this donation changes the relationship with Sioux Valley nor the other relationships that the School of Medicine has established and in place with other hospitals in the state.

11. Will other buildings or other developments be part of the gift?
No new facilities are contemplated in association with this gift. The School of Medicine will be completing the construction of the new Medical Building in Vermillion in the near future. Exciting opportunities lie ahead in association with the continued development of infrastructure at the University through the gift’s ability to enhance that in areas of training, research and patient care.

12. Mr. Jewett made reference to another $20 million gift. Where is that money coming from ?
In keeping with the spirit and vision of Mr. Sanford's gift, Sioux Valley will continue its ongoing commitment to the South Dakota Health Research Foundation with an additional 20 million dollar capital contribution over the next decade. The South Dakota Health Research Foundation is a successful research partnership established by Sioux Valley and the School of Medicine in 1998".