Our History

img Mines History

SD Mines History

Explore Mines history in a timeline prepared for our 125th Anniversary celebration in 2010
History Timeline
Past Mines Presidents


The Past in Pictures

Historic photos of the university archived by the Devereaux Library

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology was originally established in 1885 by the Dakota Territorial Legislature as the Dakota School of Mines to provide instruction in mining engineering at a location where mining was the primary industry. The School of Mines opened for instruction on February 17, 1887. Dr. Franklin R. Carpenter, a graduate of Ohio University, was appointed president and dean of the faculty. Degrees were initially offered in mining engineering and metallurgical engineering. When North and South Dakota were granted statehood in 1889, the school was re-designated as the South Dakota School of Mines.

During the presidency of Dr. Robert Slagle (1896-1905), field geology was introduced, and a large collection of Badlands fossils and minerals was added to the geological museum. During that period, the third building was constructed on campus, and the first School of Mines magazine was published. Faculty size and student enrollment reached a peak in 1905 that was not to be exceeded until 1920.

The university's reputation as a diversified science and engineering school was established following World War I with the rapid increase of engineering students and the termination of college preparatory courses. In 1943, the state legislature changed the name of the institution to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, in recognition of the school's expanded role in new areas of science and technology. Since that time, the university has expanded its curriculum to increase the number of science and engineering baccalaureate degrees and graduate programs leading to the master of science and masters and doctorate degrees (see current list).

As the bounds of technology continue to expand, the university continues to meet the challenge of preparing students for highly technical careers in engineering and science.