Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, December 15, 2021

South Dakota Mines Celebrates 184th Commencement

South Dakota Mines 184th commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in the Fine Arts Theater at The Monument in Rapid City.

South Dakota Mines 184th commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in the Fine Arts Theater at The Monument in Rapid City. Those who wish to view the ceremony online can register here and join via Zoom.

The event includes a total of 152 graduates. This includes ­­­one associate’s, 85 baccalaureate’s, 53 master’s and 13 doctoral degrees. The names of all graduates and more detailed biographies for our honored guests can be found in the commencement program.

This year’s senior class representative speaker is Shelby Guthrie. She graduated from T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre, SD, in 2017 and majored in chemical engineering at Mines. Guthrie has been involved in various clubs and activities during her time at Mines. She served on the Student Association Senate as the governmental relations committee chair and president in the 2020-21 academic year; as a tri-chair of the Rocker Days Committee; and as treasurer of the Alpha Omega Epsilon professional sorority. She is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Order of Omega honor societies. She has worked as an undergraduate research assistant at South Dakota Mines and has completed two internships: one in surface water quality engineering and one in environmental engineering. She will serve as a legislative intern for the 2022 session in Pierre and plans to attend graduate school.

Mines will award one honorary doctorate during the ceremony to alumnus James Scull, who graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He became a partner in a small local construction firm and started Scull Construction seven years later. Today, Scull Construction is one of the largest construction companies in South Dakota. It includes an office in Dickinson, ND, works in a five-state region and employs over 300 people. The success of Scull Construction led to the startup of many construction-related businesses and a score of commercial and residential development ventures. The company previously received the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Granite Award. Scull was named the South Dakota Philanthropist of the Year in 2010 and he is a Rapid City Chamber of Commerce George Award winner. He has served as vice chairman and one of the founders of Rapid City Collective Impact - One Heart Campus, founder and president of South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures, past president of the South Dakota Associated General Contractors and an ongoing contributor to the Nature Conservancy, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pheasants Forever, the Safari Club International, the Mule Deer Foundation and Black Hills Sportsmen. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2019. He and his wife, Mary, have two children and six grandchildren.

Mines will also recognize 10 distinguished alumni award winners from both 2020 and 2021. These alumni have excelled in their careers and exhibited excellence in giving back to their communities as leaders in the fields of science and engineering. Read about each of their accomplishments in detail in the commencement program

2020 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners:

  • David Hammond, geological engineering, 1969
  • Kurt Kost, mining engineering, 1978
  • Todd Kenner, civil engineering, 1983
  • Renita Mollman, civil engineering,1988
  • John Henderson, civil engineering, 1994

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners:

  • Steve Vanderboom, civil engineering, 1974 
  • George “Rusty” Gray, metallurgical engineering, 1976
  • William Betten, physics and electrical engineering, 1977
  • Lisa Zacher, chemistry, 1985
  • Timothy Klaus, chemical engineering, 1987 

The media is welcome to attend the commencement ceremony and individual interviews can be arranged following the event. 


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