James W. Abbott

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For other people with the same name, see James Abbott (disambiguation).
Jim Abbott
President of the University of South Dakota
Assumed office
July 1, 1997
Preceded by Betty Asher
Personal details
Born (1948-06-12) June 12, 1948 (age 68)
Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Colette Pugh (m. 1987; her death 2016)[1]
Alma mater University of South Dakota
Website University website

James W. "Jim" Abbott (born June 12, 1948) is the current president of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota. He became president of his alma mater on July 1, 1997.

Career and politics[edit]

Abbott is a businessman and former politician. He represented Yankton County in the South Dakota State Legislature from 1991 to 1993. In 1994, Abbott was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with gubernatorial candidate Jim Beddow, a former president of Dakota Wesleyan University.[2] The ticket was defeated by Republicans Bill Janklow and Carole Hillard. He was the Democratic nominee for Governor of South Dakota in 2002, but lost to Republican Mike Rounds. Abbott also mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, losing the nomination to Rick Weiland.


Abbott was named president of his alma mater, the University of South Dakota, in 1997. Abbott received his bachelor's degree in 1970 and his Juris Doctor in 1974 from University of South Dakota School of Law.[3] In 2002, Abbott took a leave of absence from the presidency to seek to Democratic nomination for Governor of South Dakota. He won the Democratic primary against State Senators Ron J. Volesky and James Hutmacher.[4] He was defeated in the general election by Republican Mike Rounds. After the election, Abbott returned to the presidency of the University of South Dakota.

In June 2007, Abbott took a leave of absence to donate a kidney to USD Chief diversity officer Bruce King at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The surgery was successful and Abbott returned to work two weeks later. He is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Walker, Carson (May 4, 2016). "USD Grieves Death of First Lady Colette Abbott". USD News. University of South Dakota. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Berke, Richard (1994-06-08). "A Governor Is Ousted, but Others Prevail". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-08. 
  3. ^ http://www.usd.edu/about-usd/president/index.cfm
  4. ^ Greco-Lawson, Stephanie (August 8, 2005). "Newspaper Coverage of Native American Candidates and Politicians". Media & Minorities: The Politics of Race in News and Entertainment. Spectrum Series: Race and Ethnicity in National and Global Politics. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (published 2005-08-08). pp. 225–228. ISBN 978-0847694532. Retrieved 2015-02-08. 
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bernie Hunhoff
Democratic nominee for Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Jack Billion