Petition Circulating To Name USD Basketball Arena For Colette Abbott

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Hundreds of people are signing an online petition to name the new University of South Dakota basketball arena in Colette Abbott’s honor.

Abbott toured the facility in a wheelchair just hours before her sudden death Wednesday.

Jim Abbott says Colette was diagnosed with kidney cancer last week and was awaiting an open-heart surgery to get at the cancer, when she suddenly died.

Organizers say they plan to pass the petition onto Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

“The Governor knew Colette for 25 years and is very saddened by her loss,” said Kelsey Pritchard, Daguaard’s communcation director. “Decisions about university building names are made by the Board of Regents, not the Governor, and our office has made the Regents aware of this petition.”

The Board of Regents communication director Janelle Toman said they are aware of the petition.

“But, (we) have no response at this time,” Toman said.

Tonight on KELOLAND News at 10 p.m., Jim Abbott reflects upon how Colette not only influenced him, but also students at USD.

Be sure to watch tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND for a very emotional and in-depth look back on the life of USD’s First Lady at 10.