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The University of South Dakota (USD) was established as the first university in the Dakota Territory, when the Legislature authorized its existence in Vermillion in 1862. It was not until 1882, with the added support of the citizens of Clay County, that the first classes were held in the Clay County Court House and construction began on University Hall (Old Main). Construction was completed on Old Main in 1883, and the University moved into its new building. Ephriam Epstein was the first president of the University and the first public board governing it was appointed in 1883.
USD has grown into a major University with both undergraduate and graduate programs, including South Dakota’s only Law and Medical Schools. The University began its 1882-1883 school year with 69 students, and enrollment had increased to 7,000 by the 1990s. The first academic unit at USD, the College of Arts and Sciences, was established in 1883. Academic areas were added over the course of the next several years: the School of Law was established in 1901, the School of Medicine in 1907; Continuing Education in 1916; the Schools of Education and Business in 1927; the Graduate School in 1927; and the College of Fine Arts, 1931.
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