Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( May 6, 1998)
SDSM& T TO HOLD 137TH COMMENCEMENT THIS SATURDAY, MAY 9 /
CATERPILLAR EXECUTIVE TO DELIVER COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology ( SDSM& T) will hold its 137th commencement this Saturday, May 9. The ceremony begins at 10: 00 a. m. in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena. Approximately 195 undergraduate and 38 graduate students are candidates for degrees, including Michael J. Moran of Sioux Falls, a Ph. D. degree candidate in Geological Engineering.
Jim Lang, a Metallurgical Engineering major from Sioux Falls, will give the senior class message. He is the son of Jim and Kathy Lang. His campus activities have included Student Senate, Singing Engineers, Master Chorale, Triangle Fraternity, M- Week Committee, United Campus Ministries, and Head Start volunteer.
Mr. James E. Despain, Vice President of Caterpillar, Inc.’ s Track- Type Tractors Division, Peoria, Illinois, will deliver the commencement address. An Honorary Doctorate of Industrial Management degree will be conferred on Mr. Despain during the ceremony.
Despain’s career with Caterpillar spans four decades, from the 1950’ s to the 1990’ s.
Joining the company as a machine operator and later becoming machine shop foreman, Despain has served the company in a variety of management positions. He also has had extensive international business experience as director of Caterpillar’s joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan and as president of a Caterpillar subsidiary in Mexico.
As a member of SDSM& T’s Academic Advisory Council, Despain offers guidance on how the institution can best provide its students with the skills and knowledge to compete in today’s global economy. His management style emphasizes values and people. He describes the achievement of business objectives as “ the result of an empowered, values- driven work force that is motivated to succeed.”
“ People are our competitive advantage,” says Despain. “ We work together as a single world- class team, where each has a strong desire to contribute and where decisions and behavior consistent with our Common Values are recognized and rewarded.” These Common Values include trust, mutual respect, teamwork, empowerment, risk taking, sense of urgency, continuous improvement, commitment and customer satisfaction.
The 1998 Guy E. March Silver Medal, SDSM& T’s highest alumni award that recognizes outstanding professional achievement, will be presented to Dr. Maurice Fuerstenau. After graduating from SDSM& T in 1955 with a B. S. degree in Geological Engineering, he earned M. S. and Ph. D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT).
-- 2-- In 1970 Dr. Fuerstenau was named Professor and Head of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, a position he held for the next seventeen years. One of his most notable achievements in education was the revitalization of SDSM& T’s Department of Metallurgical Engineering into one of the best undergraduate departments in that discipline in the nation. In 1988 he accepted a position at the University of Nevada, Reno as Echo Bay Mines Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, a position that he currently holds.
Dr. Fuerstenau is an internationally known scientist for his research accomplishments in the area of froth flotation, the technique by which 90 percent of the world’s low- grade ores are processed. He has published several books and over one hundred articles and also holds two patents. He has received numerous professional awards and honors, including being named the first recipient of SDSM& T’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Professor and one of SDSM& T’s 100 Outstanding Alumni in 1985. In 1996 he was honored with a Foundation Professorship, the highest research honor bestowed by the University of Nevada, Reno.
During the ceremony, Dr. Gowen also will present 50- Year Graduate Certificates to the following returning members of the Class of 1948: Frank Aplan, Metallurgical Engineering, State College PA; Wesley Burr, Physics, Rapid City; Warren Finch, Geological Engineering, Lakewood CO; Clifford Flittie, Mining Engineering, San Francisco, CA; Roland Grosz, General Engineering, Washington DC; Marvin Heck, Civil Engineering, Sioux Falls; James Lee, Civil Engineering, Boulder CO; Jack Meeker, Electrical Engineering ’ 47, Mechanical Engineering ’ 48, Seattle WA; Marvin Peterson, Physics, Sun City Center FL; Byron Strandell, Electrical Engineering, Rapid City; Verl Wilmarth, Geology, Amarillo TX; Chris Woods, Civil Engineering, Edina MN; and George Schmid, Metallurgical Engineering, Rapid City.
On Friday, May 8, SDSM& T President and Mrs. Richard Gowen will host a reception for the graduates and their families from 3: 00 to 4: 30 p. m. in the Surbeck Center Ballroom.
( fs1/ programs/ dept/ univrel/ pressrele/ 0598/ Commencement Speaker fax/ stwd)
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.