South Dakota Mines
Former names
Dakota School of Mines (1885–1889)
South Dakota School of Mines (1889–1943)
MottoAdvancing the Frontier of Innovation[1]
TypePublic university
Established1885; 139 years ago (1885)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$65.1 million (2019)[2]
PresidentVacant as of June 22, 2024[3]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

44°4′26″N 103°12′22″W / 44.07389°N 103.20611°W / 44.07389; -103.20611
CampusUrban, 120 acres (49 ha)
ColorsBlue & Old Gold[6]
Sporting affiliations
MascotGrubby the Miner
Geology Museum, SDSMT

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (South Dakota Mines, SD Mines, or SDSM&T) is a public university in Rapid City, South Dakota. It is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents and was founded in 1885.[7] South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.[8]


The cornerstone of the first School of Mines (then known as the Dakota School of Mines) building was dedicated on August 19, 1885, with the first classes being held February 21, 1887. John W. Hancher received the first bachelor of science degree at the first commencement on May 31, 1888.[9] The school became known as the South Dakota School of Mines in 1889 after admission of South Dakota as a state to the United States.[10]

The School of Mines presented exhibits during the 1904 World's Fair[11] and the first licensed radio station in the state of South Dakota was established on campus in December 1911, a full decade before WCAT (the precursor the current campus station KTEQ-FM). The first "M-Day" homecoming celebration occurred on October 5, 1912 with the construction of the "M" on M-Hill, the school's mountain monogram.[12] The school's ROTC battalion was formed in 1918 in response to World War I. The football stadium began construction in 1931, and was completed as "O'Harra Field" in 1938.[13]

The school formally became the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in February 1943.[14]

In September 2012, South Dakota Mines made national news when Bloomberg announced that it had passed Harvard in the category of starting salaries for graduates.[15] On September 19, Tech President Robert A. Wharton died due to complications of cancer treatments. During the presidential search, Duane C. Hrncir was the interim president.[16]

On April 25, 2013, the School of Mines announced that Heather Wilson would become the first female president in the school's 128-year history, starting in June 2013.[17] She resigned in 2017 after being appointed to the office of Secretary of the United States Air Force.[18]

In October 2017, the School of Mines announced that the next president would be James (Jim) Rankin, Ph.D.[19]


South Dakota Mines offers degrees in 20 engineering and science fields, as well as 18 master's degree programs and 9 Doctorate programs.[20] Its most popular undergraduate majors, based on 2021 graduates, were:[21]

The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates with a bachelor’s degree is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $66,500.[22]


The campus is located in the center of Rapid City, on the northern slope of small foothills of the Black Hills.

The APEX Gallery is located in Classroom Building 211, and hosts a new exhibit every four to six weeks.[23] The gallery hosts contemporary works of artists and scientists, many of whom are nationally and internationally recognized.

Museum of Geology

See also: Dinosaur "Sue" and Dinosaur "Stan"

Digenite-pyrite ore sample, Butte Mining District, Montana. On display at the Museum, 2010

Opening the same year as the school, the Museum of Geology collects, conserves, curates, interprets, and exhibits paleontologically, mineralogically, and geologically significant objects and serves as the repository for such objects from South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains. The public exhibits of the museum have been housed since 1944 in the second floor of the then newly completed O'Harra Building, while the preparation laboratories and collections are held in the James E. Martin Paleontology Center, constructed in 2009.

Student organizations

Active fraternities on campus include Alpha Chi Sigma, Delta Sigma Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Chi Psi, Theta Tau, and Triangle. Sororities include Alpha Delta Pi and Beta Delta Mu. Student government organizations include the Student Association Senate.

Student media organizations include KTEQ-FM (the campus radio station) and "the Aurum" (the campus newspaper, formerly known as "the Tech" and then "the Raver"). "The Aurum" is the original name of the school newspaper, first published in November 1901. The newspaper changed its name back to "The Aurum" in January 2010. The campus radio station, KTEQ, was started in 1922 as a low-powered AM station, left the air in 1955, and returned as the FM-station KTEQ in 1971 and airs a freeform programming format.[24]

Amplify College Ministries, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Lutheran Campus Ministry, the Newman Center, and United Campus Ministries are some of the many Christian and religious groups operating on campus. Service organizations on campus include Circle K and Gamers for Service.


Main article: South Dakota Mines Hardrockers

See also: South Dakota Mines Hardrockers football

South Dakota Mines athletic teams are called the Hardrockers, coming from its mining background. The history of the athletic programs stretch back to 1895 when the first school football team formed, originally named the "Longhairs".[25] The school host a variety of college sports which include: football, basketball, volleyball, track, cross country, golf, and men's soccer. The athletic mascot name is Grubby the Miner. The school is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes at the Division II level.[26] The school joined the Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in January 2014 for the majority of its sports (effective beginning the 2014–15 school year), except for men's soccer which joined the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) for men's soccer in 2013 and football beginning in 2014.[27]

The Hardrockers formerly competed as members of the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 2000–01 to 2010–11, and were former members of the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference (SDIC) (also from the NAIA) until after the 1999–2000 school year. South Dakota Mines completed the transition from the NAIA to the NCAA in July 2013.[28]

Notable staff

Prior to 1897, the head of SDSM&T held the title of Dean rather than President.[29] Earl D. Dake served as acting president from 1947–1948 and 1953–1954.[30] Duane C. Hrncir served as acting president from 2012–2013 following the death of Robert A. Wharton.[31]


  1. Franklin R. Carpenter (1886–1889)
  2. George F. Duck (1889–1890)
  3. Samuel Cushman (1890–1891)
  4. William P. Headden (1891–1893)
  5. Walter P. Jenney (1893)
  6. Valentine T. McGillycuddy (1893–1897)


  1. Robert L. Slagle (1898–1905)
  2. Charles H. Fulton (1905–1911)
  3. Cleophas C. O'Harra (1911–1935)
  4. Joseph P. Connolly (1935–1947)
  5. Warren E. Wilson (1948–1953)
  6. Fay L. Partlo (1954–1966)
  7. Harvey R. Fraser (1966–1975)
  8. Richard A. Schleusener (1975–1987)
  9. Richard J. Gowen (1987–2003)[32]
  10. Charles P. Ruch (2003–2008)
  11. Robert A. Wharton (2008–2012)
  12. Heather A. Wilson (2013–2017)[33]
  13. James M. Rankin (2017–present)

Other notable staff

Notable alumni

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this message)


  1. ^ "Verbal Brand – South Dakota Mines Brand Guidelines".[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "South Dakota School of Mines and Technology".
  4. ^ "Fast Facts 2011–12". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "South Dakota School of Mines and Technology".
  6. ^ "Graphic Standards" (PDF). South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "Museum of Geology History". South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  8. ^ View the SD Mines Virtual Tour and the Online Viewbook.
  9. ^ "1880s". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  10. ^ "University History". Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "1900s". Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  12. ^ "1910s". Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  13. ^ "1930s". Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  14. ^ "1940s". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Crotty, James (September 19, 2012). "Dig This: South Dakota Mining Grads Crush Harvard On Pay". Forbes.
  16. ^ "School of Mines loses its leader". September 20, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "Ex-congresswoman to lead School of Mines". April 26, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  18. ^ Losey, Stephen (August 7, 2017). "Trump picks academy grad and former Rep. Heather Wilson to be Air Force secretary". Air Force Times. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  19. ^ "Alumnus James Rankin Selected as New SD Mines' President". South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. November 7, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "All SD Mines Degrees". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  21. ^ "South Dakota School of Mines and Technology". U.S. Dept of Education. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  22. ^ "South Dakota School of Mines and Technology".
  23. ^ "APEX Gallery". South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  24. ^ "History of KTEQ". Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  25. ^ "1890s". Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  26. ^ Looney, Josh (July 15, 2013). "Division II adds new conference, members" (Press release). NCAA. Archived from the original on July 18, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  27. ^ "Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology approved as 15th member of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference". January 20, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  28. ^ "'Rockers enter final year to becoming NCAA member". Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  29. ^ "History of the Presidency". South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
  30. ^ "Roster of the presidents :: Campus Archives – SDSMT". Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  31. ^ "Duane Hrncir, PhD". Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  32. ^ "Dakota State University". Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  33. ^ "Senate approves Heather Wilson to be Trump's Air Force secretary". Washington Examiner. May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  34. ^ "Marty J. Jackley's Biography". South Dakota Office of the Attorney General.
  35. ^ "Tony Jensen". Archived from the original on March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  36. ^ "Kurt D. Kost". Retrieved January 31, 2011.[dead link]
  37. ^ "South Dakota Governor Walter D. Miller". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  38. ^ "Rapid City Journal Story on Ajmal Shams". August 18, 2009.
  39. ^ "Gary Veurink, Dow Chemical Co/The: Profile & Biography". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  40. ^ Kautz, Richard L.; Sullivan, Donald B. (July 2000). "Obituary Physics Today". Physics Today. 53 (7): 70–71. doi:10.1063/1.1292491.