Mines News

Release Date Monday, May 3, 2021

South Dakota Mines Plans In-Person Spring Commencement

South Dakota Mines will hold an in-person commencement ceremony starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, 2021 in the Barnett Arena of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

South Dakota Mines will hold an in-person commencement ceremony starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, 2021 in the Barnett Arena of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

This is the university’s first in-person commencement since the start of the pandemic. Participants are encouraged to wear masks and to social distance. Those who wish to view the ceremony online can register here and join via Zoom.

The event includes a total of 375 graduates. This includes four associate’s, 290 baccalaureates, 67 master’s, and 14 doctoral degrees. Forty-three of those taking part in the ceremony are 2020 graduates who were invited to join any in-person commencement following the cancelation of such events due to the pandemic. The names of all graduates and more detailed biographies for our honored guests can be found in the commencement program

This year’s student speaker is Rosalia Dawley, an industrial engineering and engineering management major from Marshalltown, IA. Dawley served as the Student Association (SA) Senate vice president during the 2020-2021 school year. During her time at Mines she also served as an orientation leader, vice president of the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers student group, and a student leader on the “Not Here, Not Anywhere” sexual assault awareness campaign. Dawley was a crucial student voice on the South Dakota Mines COVID task force where she represented the students' interests and safety. In addition, she helped facilitate the creation of a hygiene bank in conjunction with the campus food bank and worked with others to broaden the conversation of student mental health issues on campus, and other projects to support campus life. During her college career she completed internships with Stover Controls, in Marshalltown, IA, and Union Pacific Railroad in North Little Rock, AR.

The university will award three honorary doctorates during the ceremony: Tony Jensen, who retired in 2020 as president and chief executive officer of Royal Gold, Inc., the leading publicly traded precious metals royalty company; Rapid City native Becky Hammon, who is in her seventh season as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, and previously served as the head coach of the Spurs Las Vegas Summer League; and Pat Burchill, who retired from US Bank in July of 2020 after a 43-year career in Rapid City.

Two students will be awarded posthumous degrees. Houston Wagner will receive a master’s degree in geology and geological engineering. Grayson Young will receive a bachelor’s in industrial engineering and engineering management.

Dr. Patricia Mahon, vice president for student development and dean of students, will be awarded emeritus status. Mahon retires this summer following 21 years at the university.

Mines will also award both the 2020 and 2021 Guy E. March Medals. The annual medal is given to a graduate who exemplifies the spirit of Dr. March through positive interaction with students, the institution, and Mines alumni. The 2020 March Medal award winner is Dr. Scott Kenner and the 2021 March Medal award winners are Cliff and Debra Bienert.

Mines will also celebrate the 50-year graduates for both 1970 and 1971. Each spring, graduates celebrating their 50th reunion are invited back to take part in the commencement ceremony.

Those who wish to view the graduation ceremony online can register to view the virtual event live here.


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, 605-721-7865, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu

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