USD Remembers Colette Abbott

Students Described Abbott As "Mom" Of USD

Colette Abbott, the wife of University of South Dakota President Jim Abbott, passed away suddenly on Wednesday at the age of 59.

University officials said in a statement she was diagnosed with cancer last week and was awaiting surgery.

Vice President and Dean of Students, Kimberly Grieve, said the news of her death shocked members of the USD community.

“Colette Abbott was a role model to everyone. She loved her family dearly. She loved this university. She loved being a Coyote,” said Grieve.

President Abbott spoke at a ceremony on campus in Colette’s memory Wednesday night.

Grieve said students and staff joined Abbott’s family to pay their respects.

“It was just a really sad time but important for all of us to come together as a community,” said Grieve.

Former Student Body President, Sami Zoss, said students on campus will miss the woman who instantly loved anyone wearing a Coyotes T-Shirt.

“She would always come up to you and say “hi” and “how are you?” and very genuine and very interesting in what you were up to,” said Zoss.

She also said they’ll be without the loudest cheerleader at their events.

“You saw her at the Dakota Days homecoming parade, all the dinners, all of the games she was in town for she was going to be at. She was going to be the one jumping up and down, cheering on the Yotes the loudest,” Zoss said.

Students and staff, alike, said she was a shimmering example of USD pride.

“She just served as like the spirit. It’s so sad not to have that anymore,” Zoss said.

A memorial service for Colette Abbott is scheduled for Monday at 11 am. on USD campus at Alf’s Auditorium.