South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

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This article is about South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. For other uses of the term South Dakota, please see South Dakota (disambiguation).


The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T), also known as “Tech” was founded in Rapid City, South Dakota and opened its doors on February 17, 1887, to teach mining and metallurgy in the Dakota Territory. Originally known as Dakota School of Mines, the school later became South Dakota School of Mines after territory was split into North Dakota and South Dakota in 1889.

Dr. Franklin R. Carpenter served as the first president and dean of the faculty.

During the tenure of Dr. Robert Slagle, who served between 1896 to 1905, SDSM&T introduced field geology and a significant collection of Badlands fossils and minerals were added to the school's geological museum. The geology museum is still in operation and features a wide range of regional geology.

During the presidency of Dr. Robert Slagle (1896-1905), field geology was introduced, and a large collection of Badlands fossils and minerals was added to the geological museum. During that period, the third building was constructed on campus, and the first School of Mines magazine was published. Faculty size and student enrollment reached a peak in 1905 that was not to be exceeded until 1920.

The first graduate was John W. Hancher who received his bachelor of science degree on May 31, 1888. By 1890 three unnamed graduates received their bachelor of science degrees. Of note two of the graduates were women.

In 1912, the painting of the “M” on M Hill in Rapid City started and the first licensed radio station in South Dakota went on air at the School of Mines. The school's mascot was called Mucker the Cat. The current mascot is Grubby the Miner.

By the 1920s the geology museum was opened to summer visitors.

In the 1930s the Hardrock alumini magazine entered publication and Dr. Joseph Connolly was selected as the school president.

In 1942, the school's physics program was approved. In 1943, degrees in chemistry and geological engineering were offered. This was also the year the School of Mines became the School of Mines and Technology. The degree in mechanical engineering was offered in 1944.

By the 1950s the school continued to grow with the construction of the chemistry/chemical engineering building. The March/Dake residence halls were also built to house students. School President Fay Partlo assumed his duties in 1954. The Singing Engineers started in 1956.

The 1970s was a time of construction and growth at SDSM&T. The Devereaux Library completed construction and astronaut Frank Borman spoke at the groundbreaking. The electrical engineering and physics building finished construction too. Rounding out the campus' building development was the completion of the physical plant. It was also during this time period the largest class to date graduated from SDSM&T as 240 students received their bachelor of science degrees in 1970. President Richard Schleusener was selected as president of the school. A computer science program, a cooperative doctoral program in meteorology and the South Dakota Mining and Mineral Resources Research Institute was established during the 1970s.

In 1985, SDSM&T celebrated its 100th anniversary. Dr. Richard J. Gowen was selected as school president in 1987. A masters degree program in computer technology management was approved and the South Dakota Library Network computerized catalog was added to Devereaux Library.

By the 1990s, The Internet arrived at SDSM&T and the Rural Development Telecommunications Network starts in South Dakota. TheAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter wins the concrete canoe competition.

During the last 10 years SDSM&T robotics team won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers regional robotics competition. Themining engineering and management bachelor degree program is established. Dr. Charles P. Ruch is selected to serve as the 17th president. [1]

To view historic photos and other data you can visit the Gateway to the Past link: [1]


South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, 501 East Saint Joseph Street, Rapid City, South Dakota, 57701, United States of America. [1]

Degrees offered

Bachelor Degrees

Chemical engineering, Chemistry, Civil engineering, Computer engineering, Computer Science, Electrical engineering, Environmental engineering, Geological engineering, Geology that includes applied geology, earth science and paleontology; Industrial engineering, Interdisciplinary sciences including atmospheric, pre-professional health and science technology and society; applied and computational mathematics, Mechanical engineering, Metallurgical engineering, Mining engineering, Physics.

Master of science programs

Atmospheric sciences, Biomedical engineering, Chemical engineering, Chemistry, Civil engineering, Construction Management Electrical engineering, Engineering Management, Geology and Geological engineering, Materials Engineering and Science, Mechanical engineering, Metallurgical engineering, Paleontology, Physics, Robotics and Intelligent Autonomous Systems (RIAS).

Doctoral Programs

Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Biomedical engineering, Chemical and Biological engineering, Geology and Geological engineering, Materials Engineering and Science, Mechanical engineering Nanoscience andNanoengineering Physics.[1]

Competition awards

In 2009, a group of SDSM&T students, advised by SDSM&T Mechanical Engineering Instructor Jason Ash, received first place during the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) build contest award for the District C Student Professional Development Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri. The students built a materials sorter named the Cognitive Recyclables APparatus Sorter.[2]

Museum of Geology

The museum opened in 1885 and is located at the school campus. Admission is free. Visitors can see skeletons of dinosaurs, mammals and reptiles. Crystals, rocks and fossils are available for viewing.

Construction for the museum started on June 23, 1885. The Bailey Collection called the "Cabinet" was shipped from Cheyenne to Rapid City. The collection contained 5,000 specimens and was the first collection received by the museum. The collection's identity is now lost but G.E. Bailey made the first contribution.

In 1923, the serious collection of fossils ensued. Student Glenn L. Jepsen spent the summer collecting fossils in western Nebraska. The Agate Springs rhino slab was discovered by Jepsen and prepared by students James D. Bump and LeMoyne Cook for display at the museum.

In 1924, Jepsen along with Almyr Bump and Hugo Schalaiker began concentrated efforts to collect specimens from the White River Badlands. During this collection effort, a "virtually complete" alligator skeleton was found in the Chadron Fromation. This specimen is displayed in the Whit River habitat group.

By 1925 a cast skull of a Tyrannosaurus and Xiphactinus skeleton was added to the collection. The skull casting was made from the American Museum. The Xipthactinus (fish) was from Hot Springs, South Dakota.

In 1927, a Triceratops skull found near Camp Crook was added to the collection.

During the 1940s a Whitneyan fossils were discovered and added to the collection. The research effort was done under the auspices of the National Geographic Society.

During the 1950s camel fossils found in Nebraska were were collected by museum staff members.

Other significant events for the museum include:

  • The Lange/Ferguson mammoth that is a Clovis kill mammoth found.
  • Tyrannosaurus skull was collected from the Hell Creek Formation in Butte and Harding counties.
  • Baby plesiosaur and baby mosasaur displayed at the museum.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 125th Anniversary page. Retrieved on 2010-10-18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "South Dakota School of Mines and Technology" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "South Dakota School of Mines and Technology" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 Multidisciplinary Team Takes First Place at ASME Competition. Retrieved on 2010-10-18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "South Dakota School of Mines & Technology" defined multiple times with different content