Abbott earns prestigious national leadership honor At its 2003 annual conference Saturday in Chicago, The National Collegiate Honors Council will honor University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott with its prestigious Presidential Leadership Award.
Singled out among college and university presidents throughout the country, Abbott is recognized this year for developing his Honors Program as part of a visionary plan "to make The University of South Dakota the best small, public university in the country."
Over and above his commitment of economic resources, including expanded merit-based scholarships, Abbott's involvement in Honors has a very personal touch. He welcomes freshman Honors students at a reception in his home and hosts a banquet for graduating seniors and their thesis advisors to culminate their academic achievements. Abbott has also been a book group leader in the Honors Program's popular series.
Associate director of the Honors Program Susan Hackemer said "President Abbott believes that The University of South Dakota can become the best small public university in the country. This conviction has advanced honors education."
"The Honors Program helps us recruit the students that make us one of the best small, public universities in the country," Abbott said. "I am proud to receive this award on behalf of The University of South Dakota, the staff of the Honors Program, the faculty who volunteer to teach honors courses and especially the outstanding students in the program."
USD recently welcomed one of the more academically accomplished first-year classes in its illustrious history, with more than 40 percent of the students scoring 24 or higher on their ACT and more than 90 enrollees in the Honors Program. Admission to the Honors program at USD generally requires an ACT score of 27 or higher.