Mines News

Release Date Friday, September 9, 2016

Geologist Sawyer Honored with Prestigious National Award

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Sept. 9, 2016) – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology geologist Foster Sawyer will be honored with a national award for his leadership and contributions to the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

Sawyer, Ph.D., will be honored with the 2016 AIPG Martin Van Couvering Memorial Award at the organization’s national conference in Santa Fe, N.M., on Monday.

Last year, Sawyer served as national president of the AIPG, which has more than 7,000 members. From 2009-2016 he was a member of the organization’s National Executive Committee and has also served in other capacities at the national level. In 2012, Sawyer chaired the AIPG National Annual Conference held in Rapid City and has also served as president of the AIPG South Dakota section.

Since joining the South Dakota Mines faculty in 2008, Sawyer has strengthened the university’s petroleum-related curricula, recently adding a new petroleum field camp and securing major donations of petroleum industry software and digital datasets for research and teaching. Another of his significant accomplishments at Mines has been the development and supervision of two STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs for Native American students in collaboration with tribal colleges in western South Dakota.

Additionally, Sawyer has traveled and worked frequently in Mongolia and participated in two paleontological expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula.

The early years of his career were devoted to geological and hydrological projects as a geologist and hydrologist with the South Dakota Geological Survey in the Black Hills region. Notable projects on which he worked included serving as co-author for the Geologic Map of South Dakota, performing source water assessments and vulnerability mapping for over 500 public water supply systems in the Black Hills area, and supervising and participating in numerous hydrologic and geologic investigations in western South Dakota.

During his time at SD Mines and the South Dakota Geological Survey he has authored and co-authored more than 50 articles, maps and abstracts on a variety of geologic and hydrologic topics. He has also served on the board of directors of the West Dakota Water Development District for 12 years.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award. Mr. Van Couvering was renowned for his personal and professional integrity and his high standards of professional competence,” Sawyer said. “The AIPG has provided me with opportunities to represent American geoscientists on an international stage, as well as opportunities to give something back and to make a difference for future generations of geoscientists.”

Other awards Sawyer has received during his career include the 2016 Virginia Simpson Award for community service from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, 2016 Honorary Awardee from the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies, 2005 Antarctic Service Medal from the United States of America and the 2004 Geologist of the Year Award from the AIPG South Dakota section.

“Dr. Foster is an exceptional faculty member and has been a leader in his profession. It’s a pleasure to see him recognized in this way,” said SD Mines President Heather Wilson.


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: Fran LeFort, (605) 394-6082, Fran.LeFort@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
7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Crazy Horse