Scholarship honors USD Indian Studies major

Scholarship honors USD Indian Studies major An endowed scholarship has been established with The University of South Dakota Foundation in honor of Melanie Urich, the first American Indian student to graduate with USD's new American Indian Studies major.

The Prairie Island Mdewakanton Community of Minnesota has provided the funding for the scholarship at the request of Urich. She cited her appreciation of the American Indian Studies program, the Political Science Department, USD Student Support Services, and the Vermillion Wase Wakpa Community for their support during her tenure.

The "Prairie Island Mdewakanton Dakota Community Scholarship" is for students majoring in American Indian Studies at USD. Preference will be given to federally recognized tribal members.

Urich, who graduated Cum Laude from USD this spring, is now in Washington, D.C.,

on a congressional internship through the Morris K. Udall Foundation. She is working with Minnesota Congressman Martin Sabo and the House Appropriations Committee. She was one of 10 persons nationwide selected for the internship.

The active grandmother graduated with a double major in political science and Indian studies. Urich, who spent 15 years in the U. S. Forest Service, has juggled parenthood, academics, mentorship, and organizational activities.

On campus, she served as secretary of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society; was elected to the Golden Key Honor Society; and was the first president of the USD chapter of AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society).

The USD Foundation mission is to provide private financial resources for the university. The USD Foundation's total assets have grown from $2.5 million in 1982 to over $50 million today with the help from friends and alumni of USD. Last year, the USD Foundation granted over $1.3 million in scholarships, $1.1 million for support of the academic departments of the university, and nearly $1.5 million for capital projects and equipment. In addition, the USD Foundation has helped support the renovation of Old Main, the century-old landmark building on the campus of The University of South Dakota.

New endowments for scholarships or other purposes that benefit the University may be created with the USD Foundation for as little as $5,000, contributed over two years.

For more information, contact the USD Foundation, (605) 677-6703, or

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