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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( December 17, 1998)
MINING HISTORY SPECIALIST AND LEAD NATIVE TO BE SDSM& T’S WINTER COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19
Lead native Eleanor Swent, who is an oral historian specializing in mining history at the University of California- Berkeley, will give the address at SDSM& T’s winter commencement. Tech’s 138th commencement will be held this Saturday, December 19, at 10: 00 a. m., in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theater.
Chemistry major Dawn Recker of Gillette will give the senior class representative’s message. Regent David R. Gienapp will present the message from the South Dakota Board of Regents. SDSM& T President Dr. Richard J. Gowen also will present Ms. Swent with an honorary degree as Doctor of Letters and Literature.
Eleanor Swent is senior editor and specialist in mining history at the Regional Oral History Office, a division of the Bancroft Library, foremost repository of western American history, at the University of California at Berkeley. She is project director and research interviewer for the oral history series on Western Mining in the 20th Century which documents the lives of leaders in mining, metallurgy, geology, education in the earth and materials sciences, mining law, and the pertinent government bodies.
The series includes the oral history of the late A. I. Johnson, distinguished SDSM& T alumnus and mine operator in the southern Black Hills. The volume on three Homestake mine workers, Clarence Kravig, Wayne Harford and Kenneth Kinghorn, documents various aspects of work in that mine.
Eleanor Swent was born in Lead. Her mother, a geology major, and her father, a metallurgist and mining engineer, met through a college geology field trip in the Black Hills. Her father, Nathaniel Herz, became chief metallurgist for Homestake Mining Company and lived in Lead until he died just before his 90th birthday. Her mother continued to live in Lead, renewed her driver’s license at the age of 94 and drove her Jeep Wagoneer until shortly before her death.
She is currently working on the history of the McLaughlin gold mine in the Knoxville mining district of California and the resulting changes in the surrounding communities. This project comprises interviews with more than forty people and is a monumental documentation of the life, from start to closure, of a major mine located in an environmentally sensitive area.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.