Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, April 29, 2020

James Stone Installed as New Department Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at South Dakota Mines

Professor James Stone, Ph.D., has been named the new head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.  

Stone earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at Virginia Tech before working for five years in industry designing environmental remediation systems. Following completion of his Ph.D. and post-doctoral studies at Penn State University, he began his work at South Dakota Mines in 2003.

As a professor, Stone’s research focused on a variety of collaborative and interdisciplinary projects dealing with sustainability and the environment. His work delved into issues around agriculture and the environment, uranium mining, water quality and bioenergy production. As a teacher Stone worked with environmental-focused students on relevant, real-world case studies and assignments to better prepare them to handle tomorrow’s complex environmental problems.

“I am looking forward to the challenges of leading this department and continuing the high level of both teaching and research established by our faculty,” says Stone. “I’m also looking forward to helping inspire the next generation of engineers.” Stone hopes to increase departmental focus on sustainability during his time as department head. “As we look at the grand challenges facing future scientists and engineers, the ability to integrate sustainable infrastructure solutions alongside environmental stewardship will be very important going forward,” he says. 

Stone takes the reigns of the department at an opportune time. In late 2019, the CEE department received the largest estate gift in university history - a $3.6 million donation from the estate of Willard and Billie Kaye Goodman. CEE department faculty are also seeing broad success in a wide range of interdisciplinary research projects, including faculty who are playing lead roles in the $24 million NSF grant titled Building on the 2020 Vision: Expanding Research, Education and Innovation in South Dakota.”  In 2018, the department graduated its first Ph.D., Namita Shrestha, who recently accepted a tenure track faculty position at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, teaching environmental engineering. This all comes alongside various rankings that place CEE department degree offerings among the best in the nation.

When Stone is not on campus you may find him snowboarding, trail running or mountain biking on nearby M-Hill or one of the many miles of trails and gravel roads in the adjacent Black Hills and Badlands.  

Stone was selected for the position following the retirement of department head Scott Kenner, Ph.D., P.E. Kenner’s distinguished career includes 28 years at the university as a celebrated professor and leader. An article planned for the next edition of the Hardrock magazine will profile Kenner’s accomplishments, while also highlighting the career of administrative assistant Ellen Haffner who is also retiring following her 18 years of service in the CEE department.


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