Scholarships honor political leaders Two new scholarship programs have been established at The University of South Dakota in honor of two of South Dakota's most distinguished political leaders � former Republican U.S. Senator Jim Abdnor and U.S. Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
Starting in the fall of 2000, the scholarships will provide tuition, fees, room and board. The scholarships are intended for the most academically gifted South Dakota high school graduates.
Both scholarships are renewable, as long as the recipient maintains satisfactory performance. Both also give preference to candidates who have the intention of remaining in South Dakota after graduation.
"South Dakota has a long tradition of producing dedicated, outstanding leaders in both political parties who are committed to public service and to the best interests of their state," said USD President James W. Abbott. "These scholarships honor two great statesmen who have exhibited outstanding leadership on behalf of South Dakota. They serve as examples of how South Dakota students can make a difference while providing important service to this state. These scholarships will help develop strong leaders for South Dakota's future."
The James Abdnor Scholarship is for incoming South Dakota students who plan to major in political science or economics, with an interest in public service.
Abdnor, a Kennebec native, served as U.S. Senator from 1981-87 after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1973. A farmer-rancher, teacher and coach, Abdnor also served in the State Legislature (1956-68) and he was the lieutenant governor in 1969-70.
After leaving the U.S. Senate he served as the administrator of the Small Business Administration.
The Tom Daschle Scholarship is for students who are interested in a career in public service, regardless of their major.
Daschle, an Aberdeen native, began his career in public service in 1973 as a legislative aide to then-Senator James Abourezk. In 1978, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served four terms and was quickly made part of the Democratic leadership.
He was elected to the U.S. House in 1978 and to the U.S. Senate in 1986. In 1988, then-Senate Democratic Leader George Mitchell named Daschle the first-ever co-chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, making him the first South Dakotan ever to hold a Senate leadership position.
In 1992 and 1998, South Dakotans re-elected Daschle to the U.S. Senate by overwhelming margins. In 1994, he was chosen by his colleagues to succeed the retiring Senator George Mitchell as Democratic Leader. In the history of the Senate, only Lyndon Johnson had served fewer years before being elected to lead his party.
In addition to the Leader's post, Daschle also serves as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Senator Daschle is married to Linda Hall Daschle and is the father of three children: Kelly, Nathan and Lindsay.
The endowments supporting the two endowments are managed by The University of South Dakota Foundation.