News Releases

Roberts returns to lead SDSM&T’s mining department
Release Date Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Alumnus Lance Roberts, Ph.D., returns to the School of Mines from a top industry position with RESPEC to lead the Department of Mining Engineering & Management.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (July 8, 2014) – Lance Roberts, Ph.D., has been named to lead the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s Department of Mining Engineering & Management.

Roberts returns to the university after having served as senior vice president at RESPEC, a mining and civil engineering consulting firm with operations in 11 locations and over 200 employees. He previously was an assistant professor of civil engineering at Mines.

Before leaving RESPEC, Roberts worked with Mines faculty to launch the Shale Research Initiative that is being funded by the State of South Dakota and the Department of Energy. The newly established effort will fund drilling and sampling of various shale units, conduct advanced laboratory testing of shale and perform geo-mechanical analyses to investigate initial design concepts for an underground shale laboratory. This initiative will focus on a range of experiments important to energy and the environment, including enhanced energy production, carbon dioxide sequestration, underground hydrocarbon storage and waste disposal in shale. 

“I am very excited to be named the new department head for Mining Engineering & Management. We have a great group of faculty, staff and students, and I look forward to working with them all. I will continue to build the program with new faculty and students, renovate labs and develop new industry relationships while maintaining strong ties to our existing industry partners,” Roberts said.

Mines President Heather Wilson, who appointed Roberts, said, “The South Dakota School of Mines is now one of the five largest mining engineering programs in the United States. We are very happy that Dr. Roberts has decided to return to Mines and be one of our key leaders to continue to strengthen our program and lead it forward.”

Roberts received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the School of Mines in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He also completed a Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering/geoscience from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2006.


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at