Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, December 17, 2019

South Dakota Mines Receives Largest Estate Gift in University History

Students in the civil and environmental engineering program at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, shown here working on a steel bridge, will be among the main beneficiaries of this gift.

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has received a $3.6 million donation, the largest gift in school history, for the Department of Civil Engineering. The endowed gift comes from the estate of Willard and Billie Kaye Goodman.

The Goodmans' gift doubles the department’s annual operating budget and provides opportunities for scholarships, graduate student stipends, faculty endowments, student activities and lab facilities.

“This generous donation to civil and environmental engineering will have a huge impact on the faculty, staff and students in that department. We are so pleased when alumni value their School of Mines education so much that they want to aid future scientists and engineers for decades to come. We’re very grateful to the Goodmans for this endowment,” says South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin.

Willard, who passed away in 2013, was a 1969 civil engineering graduate. He was past owner of Plant and Flanged Equipment Company in Minneapolis and an avid golfer. He often touted the experiences and mentoring he received at South Dakota Mines as instrumental in his successful business achievements.

Goodman was from Phillip and expressed how appreciative he was for the great education South Dakota Mines provided to him. One of Goodman’s key reasons for donating to the civil engineering department is the support he received as a student from department head Bill Coyle. Coyle’s tenure with the university spanned 40 years, both as a faculty member and department head. Many alumni remember Coyle for his interest and interactions with students that expanded beyond the classroom. His concern for students and their well-being made them seek him out for guidance on academics, career planning, personal challenges and financial difficulties. 

“When he would talk about his professor Bill Coyle, he would start by saying, ‘I’m probably going to start to cry when I tell you this.’  He was very open about how South Dakota Mines changed his life — and thanks to the Goodmans', this gift is going to allow the university to become even better at changing the lives of the students for many more generations,” says Brad Johnson, vice president for development of the South Dakota Mines Foundation.

“Bill Coyle’s reputation has been the long-term, standing foundation of the department. His enduring legacy proves that a teacher and a mentor can have a true impact on a person’s life,” said Scott Kenner, the current civil engineering department head. “The Goodman’s gift will continue that legacy and tradition of supporting the next generation of SD Mines graduates.”

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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 2,529 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, Mike.Ray@sdsmt.edu

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