Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, May 2, 2023

South Dakota Mines Celebrates 187th Commencement

South Dakota Mines will hold its 187th commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at in the Ice Arena at The Monument in Rapid City.

South Dakota Mines 187th commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in the Ice Arena at The Monument in Rapid City. Those who wish to view the ceremony online can find information here.

Honorary Doctorates

Tom Jones

Tom Jones is the corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s Aeronautics Systems sector, a premier provider of military aircraft, autonomous systems, aerospace structures and next-generation solutions with major operations throughout the United States. Jones will deliver the commencement address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service at the event. 

Previously, Jones was sector vice president and general manager of Airborne Sensors & Networks division for Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector; sector vice president and general manager for Advanced Concepts and Technologies, also at Mission Systems; sector vice president and general manager for Advanced Concepts and Technologies for the former Electronic Systems sector; and vice president of the company’s Undersea Systems business unit in Annapolis, Md. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman in 2011, Jones served as director of the Boeing Company’s Marine Systems department in Anaheim, Calif., and in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility at Rockwell International and Boeing.

Jones earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Kansas State University and took additional doctoral-level coursework at the University of Southern California. He has been active in a variety of community organizations, including church, parochial schools, YMCA and youth soccer coaching. Jones served as the chairman of the Corporate Program Management Council from 2013 through 2015. 

Lorin Brass

Mines alumnus Lorin Brass will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service at the event. Brass graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering. He received a master’s degree in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He spent 30 years with Shell Oil Company, progressing through a variety of technical and business assignments. In 1997, he relocated to The Hague, the Netherlands, where he became chief executive officer of Shell Services International, a global information technology and services company. Most recently, he served as senior advisor of business development for all Shell-related activities with particular emphasis on corporate acquisitions and divestments globally. Before that, he served as director of global business development for Shell International Exploration & Production, where he was responsible for oil and gas property acquisitions and divestments around the world. He also previously held positions in corporate planning and was vice president of operations for Shell Services Company.

Brass served on the board of the South Dakota Mines Foundation, Alumni Association, and the South Dakota Investment Council and is currently on the board of Bristow Group Inc. and several non-profit organizations. He and his wife, Mary (CE 77), make their home near Lennox, S.D.

Senior Class Representative

Chamaka Senarath

Mines computer science major and physics alumnus Chamaka Senarath will deliver the senior class address. Senarath came to South Dakota Mines from Kandy, Sri Lanka. His parents are Upula Senarath and Geethanjalee Rajapaksa, and he has one brother, Sarith Senarath.

Senarath has been involved in various clubs and activities while at South Dakota Mines. He co-founded the Application Development Club in 2022 and currently serves as its president; he also co-founded Effective Engineers and Scientists in Leadership in 2018, which merged with the Professional Development Institute. He has been a member of the orchestra, choir and Master Chorale. He served as Lambda Chi Alpha's internal value educator. He was also a resident advisor and an international student ambassador. He received the Caring, Helping, Aspiring, and Development (C.H.A.D) award in 2020 and was inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame in 2023. He has received several music scholarships and the Joseph Nelson Fellowship for demonstrating a high level of initiative in research and leadership. He placed third in the 2020 Engineers Make Great Entrepreneurs competition and is currently working on a business startup project, called Score-Score, which will elevate the career experience for music educators. He has worked in various software engineering, product management and research capacities. Score-Score received fifth place in the 2023 Governor’s Giant Vision Contest. Senarath received a master’s degree in physics from Mines in May 2021.

After graduating with his bachelor of science degree in computer science, Senarath will be working at Property Meld in Rapid City as a software engineer. 

Mines will also recognize the 50-year graduates from the class of 1973, a number of whom will be in attendance at the commencement ceremony. A list of Mines spring 2023 graduating class can be found in the commencement program

No tickets are needed for commencement and there is not a limit on the number of guests per graduate. Mines’ fall commencement is planned for December 16, 2023.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2023
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
King Center
Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2023
7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Campus Wide
Saturday, Sep. 30, 2023
7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Stadium Parking Lot and Rocker Trails
Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023
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Crazy Horse