USD does not have an official monument honoring its veterans, but after years of planning and fundraising, that will soon change as the construction of the Patriot’s Plaza begins this summer.
Located near the Business School, the Law School and the Al Neuharth Media Center, the Patriot’s Plaza memorial will honor USD’s three Medal of Honor recipients—Joe Foss, Arlo Olson and Bud Day—as well as all USD veterans past, present and future, Jaedon Foreman, Vice President of the Veteran’s Club, said.
The plaza will be over 3,500 square feet and will contain a bronze bust of each Medal of Honor recipient. Each branch of the military will have a flag, and the plaza will contain a courtyard for students to relax and reflect. The project will cost just under a quarter of a million dollars, Foreman said.
The Patriots Plaza committee is currently in the final stages of planning the memorial. The committee has yet to select a construction firm to build the plaza, but Foreman said construction will begin soon, and the pandemic has not altered the committees’ plans in any way.
“The idea was to have construction start as soon as possible, so construction will hopefully start in the beginning of June,” Foreman said. “We’re hoping to get it done by mid-September.”
Foreman has been part of the project since 2017 and was involved in planning how to get USD’s administration — then headed by previous USD president James Abbott — to approve the project. Once the project became established, the committee began planning the specifics of the project.
“It’s been a discussion on campus since my freshman year,” Foreman said. “The committee was formed by alumni and from the spring of 2017 and on, it’s been awesome to see all of their hard work and all of their ideas come to fruition. To see it become a reality is really awesome.”
Foreman said campus support for the project is meaningful to the planning committee and USD’s veterans alike.
“It means a lot that USD and the administration is getting behind it because we have a pretty big service member population on campus,” Foreman said. “I think it’s great that we’re recognizing those who served from USD and honoring the ones that deserve it.”
The plaza will be dedicated on Veterans Day, 2020.