Mines News

Release Date Friday, December 16, 2022

South Dakota Mines Celebrates 186th Commencement


South Dakota Mines 186th commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in the Fine Arts Theater at The Monument in Rapid City.


South Dakota Mines 186th commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in the Fine Arts Theater at The Monument in Rapid City. Those who wish to view the ceremony online can find information here.

The event includes a total of 135 graduates. This includes one associate, 83 baccalaureates, 42 master’s, and nine doctoral degrees. The names of all graduates and more detailed biographies for our honored guests can be found in the commencement program.

Those fall 2022 graduates who cannot attend this commencement due to recent severe weather are welcome to join the spring 2023 ceremony planned for Saturday, May 6.

Emily NixThis year’s senior class representative speaker is Emily Nix. Nix came to South Dakota Mines after graduating from Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls. 

Nix has been involved in various clubs and activities while at South Dakota Mines. She served on the Student Association Senate in various committees for two years, as a tri-chair of the Rocker Days Committee, as recruitment chair of the Alpha Omega Epsilon professional sorority and as a member of Beta Delta Mu, a newly established sorority. She played several intramural sports and is on the Hardrocker Cheer team. She was a residential advisor, a tutor at the Slide Rule math help center, and a part of the campus move-in crew. She served as a commencement usher and a substitute teacher for Rapid City Area Schools. She has worked at Cold Stone Creamery and volunteered for Circle K and Study Dakota. After graduating with her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, Nix plans to attend graduate school for secondary education at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD.

Mines will award two honorary doctorates during the ceremony to Randy Parcel and Pete Lein. 

Randy Parcel

Randy Parcel graduated with honors from South Dakota Mines in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering. During his time at Mines, he was a member of the debate team, tennis team, Singing Engineers, and Delta Sigma Phi. He was student body president his senior year.

He received a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University in 1970 and spent 34 years in private law practice, representing U.S. and Canadian clients in mining matters in Alaska, the western U.S., and South America. He completed his career as vice president and general counsel of the Denver-based precious metals royalty company Royal Gold, Inc., retiring in 2007. He then served as special counsel to two Alaska Native Corporations and worked as a volunteer attorney for Disability Law Colorado, for which he received the Luis D. Rovira award in 2015.

Throughout his career, he maintained close contact with Mines, serving as a trustee and officer of the Foundation for 18 years and as national co-chair of its Vision 2000 capital campaign. He also served on search committees for the university president and Foundation executive director. In 2002, he was awarded the Guy E. March Medal.

Parcel and his wife, Dr. Tracy Kovach, reside in Westminster, Colo. They have a son and three grandchildren. He will also serve as the commencement speaker. 

Pete Lien

Rapid City local Pete Lien graduated from Arizona State University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He worked in the oil and gas exploration and production industry in Colorado and Wyoming for five years before joining his family’s Rapid City-based mining, mineral processing, and ready-mix concrete business.

Pete Lien and Sons was founded in 1944, beginning with a limestone quarry supporting the Rapid City Army Air Force Base (now Ellsworth Air Force Base) and the new interstate highway system. Since then, the company has expanded into iron ore, sand and gravel, lime, calcium carbonate, and gypsum.

Lien currently serves as president and a board member of Pete Lien and Sons as well as an Elevate Rapid City executive committee member and a trustee of the United States Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation. He previously served as the Rocky Mountain Chapter chairman of the Young Presidents Organization and on the Bishop’s Advisory Board for the Diocese of Rapid City. In 2004, he received the Environmental Steward of the Year award from the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association.

Lien and his wife, Nancy, have three daughters and seven grandchildren.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the ceremony and interview graduates and university officials after the event. 


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: Gray Hughes, 443-783-6841, Gray.Hughes@sdsmt.edu