Mines News

Release Date Friday, August 11, 2017

In Memory of Benjamin Authier; Service Arrangements

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of Benjamin Authier, who lost his life on August 7th as a result of a scuba diving accident at Hippie Hole located in the Black Hills. Benjamin was a senior chemical engineering major from Vivian, SD. 

Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Todd Menkhaus had been meeting with Ben on a weekly basis all summer. Professor Menkhaus writes, “Ben had a passionate interest in a brewing science and an engineering project.  During the last year, he was President of the Fermentation Club on campus and was very active in making connections and bringing new ideas forward. 

As a person, he had a contagious positive attitude.  He never let anything get him down and always looked for the best in everyone and every situation. He always had a big smile on his face.  You could tell he was a very caring individual.  Very adventurous, innovative, creative, hands-on and ambitious – always looking for new challenges and new experiences, and he didn’t let someone say he couldn’t do it.  In my advanced separations lab last spring, we had a filtration system that hadn’t been working for years (even I looked at it and said it was not recoverable).  Ben took it as a challenge to fix it, and sure enough, within a week he had it running like new.  He had so many ideas. He wanted to invent new technologies, new approaches, and better ways of doing things. He didn’t just dream; he made them a reality.  He was smart and very capable from a technical standpoint, and did well academically, earning recognition on the spring 2017 Dean’s List.  Even after extended hours of working on a new controls system for his coffee maker, or finding new ways to design an artificial kidney, I would see him driving across campus in his signature golf cart.  It always made me chuckle.

I’m personally very sad.  I’m speechless.  I was really looking forward to working with him this semester on more brewing developments and helping him pursue some of his many goals.  He just didn’t have enough time.”

Ben and other members of the Fermentation Club were in the process of determining what beer the club should brew for an upcoming home brew competition. The club still plans on entering in Ben’s memory.  

As a proud member and recent house manager of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, Ben actively donated time to highway clean-up, the animal shelter, canned food collections, the Rapid City Club for Boys and numerous blood drives.

Ben was also a fantastic musician playing bass clarinet with the SD Mines Symphonic Band. In the band he was a quiet leader, positively influencing the students and community members in his section with his musical talent and creative sense of humor. Director of Bands, Dr. Haley Armstrong commented, “he always had a knowing smile on his face. I would look down from the podium and his eyes wouldn’t miss a thing. You could tell that performing music kept him centered.”

Benjamin Authier will be sorely missed as a member of the SD Mines family. A memorial scholarship has been established in his name. 

Services will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church, 409 Fir Avenue, Presho, SD 57568.

Sunday August 13            Visitation, 4:00p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (CDT); Mass of Sharing / Rosary, 6:00 p.m. (CDT)

Monday August 14          Funeral, 3:00 p.m. (CDT)

Benjamin Authier's Obituary


About SD Mines  

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 2,654 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $61,300. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat