Mines News

Release Date Friday, September 28, 2018

Public Invited to Inauguration of SD Mines President

Jim Rankin, Ph.D. will be inaugurated as the 19th president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology on Oct. 4. 


RAPID CITY, SD (, 2018) – Jim Rankin, Ph.D., will be inaugurated as the 19th president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The public is invited to attend. 

Dignitaries representing state and local offices will participate in the inauguration, as will members of the South Dakota Board of Regents, and Mines students, faculty and alumni. 

Rankin assumed the presidency on Jan. 8, 2018, succeeding Jan A. Puszynski, who served in an interim capacity after former SD Mines President Heather Wilson left the university to become United States Air Force Secretary in mid-2017.  

Rankin, a native of Draper and Fort Pierre, graduated from Mines in 1978 with a degree in electrical engineering. He earned his masters and doctorate in electrical engineering from Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa, in 1982 and 1986, respectively.  

Prior to becoming president of SD Mines, Rankin served as vice-provost for research and economic development at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., leading the movement to generate more than 50 start-up companies and significantly increasing annual external funding to $103 million. He led efforts to develop the institution’s first strategic plan in research and economic development, instituted several faculty recognition programs, and developed an expedited industry contracting process.

Previously at Ohio University, Rankin served as interim vice president for research, associate dean, professor of electrical engineering, and director of the Avionics Engineering Center. He has also been a professor at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., and an engineer at Rockwell-Collins, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Rankin holds multiple pilot licenses and ratings and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His current research revolves around avionics requirements for on-demand mobility (flying cars). 

Rankin is married to Wendy Rankin, who holds a Ph.D. in counselor education from Ohio University. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. 

A livestream of the inauguration will be available during the ceremony and a reception will be held immediately following the ceremony in the Civic Center’s LaCroix Hall. To access the live stream or for more information, go to https://www.sdsmt.edu/inauguration/

Two focuses of Rankin’s presidency include increasing enrollment and raising more scholarship dollars. One way scholarship dollars will be raised is through the annual President’s Dinner, scheduled for Oct. 19, at Arrowhead Country Club. More information about this event can be found 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: Lynn Taylor Rick, (605) 394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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