Inauguration President Rankin

The Inauguration of James Rankin

Nineteenth President of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

The YouTube livestream will be available prior to the 3pm ceremony.

>>> Click to view livestream as full screen


Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.

Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theatre

444 N. Mt. Rushmore Road

Rapid City, South Dakota


A reception will be held immediately following the ceremony in the Civic Center’s LaCroix Hall.

If you wish to participate in the ceremony as a delegate from another university, please email president@sdsmt.edu or call (605) 394-2411.

Delegate RSVP

If you wish to send a gift to the SD Mines Foundation in honor of Dr. Rankin’s inauguration, please visit this page:  https://foundation.sdsmt.edu/giving/donate-now

Send Gift

About President Rankin: 

James (Jim) Rankin, PhD, returned to his alma mater as the 19th president of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. A South Dakota native from Draper and Fort Pierre, Rankin graduated from SD Mines in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He earned Master of Science and PhD degrees in electrical engineering at Iowa State University.

Prior to returning to SD Mines, Dr. Rankin’s leadership as vice-provost for research and economic development at the University of Arkansas generated more than 50 start-up companies and significantly increased 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 was 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 and an engineer at Rockwell-Collins.

Rankin’s spouse, Wendy, holds a PhD in counselor education from Ohio University and is active in student engagement and philanthropy. They have three adult children, Kara, Anna, and Daniel.  Kara, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and her husband, Caleb, live in North Carolina. Anna, an assistant professor at Ohio University, and her husband, A.J., live in Ohio. Daniel is an aeronautical engineer working in industry in Los Angeles. The Rankins have two grandchildren.

In addition to family and travel, Rankin has numerous interests including aviation. He holds multiple pilot licenses and ratings, and he is a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Rankin’s personal research has been funded by numerous NASA and FAA grants. His current research area is on avionics requirements for on-demand mobility (flying cars), focusing on how to incorporate flying cars into the FAA’s air traffic control system. These flying cars will self-depart, self-navigate, self-separate from other traffic, and auto-land at their designated destination.