Buy Photo

Students live and work on campus on Wednesday, October 7, at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. (Photo: Erin Bormett / Argus Leader)

Augustana University has received a $1 million pledge for student-athlete scholarships, thanks to a South Dakota basketball standout. 

The endowed gift comes from Bob and Trish Swanhorst, of Sioux Falls, the university announced Tuesday. The gift will support all athletes, regardless of sport, to help the university meet its strategic plan, Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030.

That plan focuses on the following goals for the next decade: 

  • develop and deliver new and bold academic offerings to more students
  • enhance intercultural awareness and understanding
  • amplify excellence through the arts and athletics
  • adapt physical campus and IT infrastructure to inspire and support generations of Augustana students to come,

As members of the Viking Bold Steering Committee, the Swanhorsts have been tremendous advocates in the university’s transition to NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics, according to Augustana.

More: ‘We have to do it’: Inside Augustana’s daunting drive to Division I

Bob and Trish Swanhorst (Photo: Augustana University/Submitted)

“Being a student-athlete at Augustana can be a life-changing experience and scholarships provide that opportunity,” said Viking Athletic Director Josh Morton in the release. “We are so grateful for Bob and Trish’s support of our goals and our champion student-athletes. With this gift, they are showing they are leaders willing to invest in the transformation of Augustana athletics.”

Bob, a star athlete from Cresbard, South Dakota, chose Augustana as his place to further his education in 1957, and went on to be named to the all-North Central Conference first team twice, setting several school scoring and rebound records during his 60-game career, according to the university.

Bob went on to become a teacher in Bellevue, Nebraska, after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, while Trish, a Huron College and University of St. Thomas graduate, volunteered and raised their two sons

Eventually, they made made their way back to South Dakota, and later moved to Minnesota. Trish spent 25 years teaching in Huron Public Schools from 1972-77, and in Burnsville from 1977-97, according to the university.

More: Local family gives $2 million to Augustana for new school of education

Bob coached in Webster from 1965-68, at Huron High School from 1968-69 and Huron College from 1969-77. He then taught and coached at Burnsville High School from 1977-98. He retired in 1998, and the couple moved to Sioux Falls in 2001, dedicating much of their time volunteering in the community, according to the university.

Bob was also selected to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader’s High School Centennial Team in 1989. He was inducted into the Augustana Hall of Fame in 1981, and the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also inducted into the South Dakota High School Girls and Boys Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 to which he was elected president in 2013.

More: How Augustana is using tech to track students’ COVID-19 exposure

“I was fortunate to have gotten a full scholarship for basketball at Augie. It’s something I’ve never forgotten, and it’s time for us to pay it forward,” Bob said. “Augustana can and will be the best in the Midwest. It’s time to start moving mountains.”

The pair are members of the Heritage Club and supporters of Augustana Athletics A-Club. Bob has been on the board of the Augustana Academy for Seniors for most of its existence and Trish has dedicated many years on the board of the Augustana Library Associates.

“We were so fortunate to go to college. For that reason, I want to repay and make sure other young people can financially afford it,” Trish said. 

Read or Share this story: