501 E. Saint Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701-3995
Phone: (605) 394-6082/2554 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2003
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
Tech Holds 147th Commencement
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will hold its 147th Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10, in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center arena. Nearly 250 undergraduate and graduate students are candidates for degrees. Tech expects 19 alumni who graduated 50 years ago to attend the ceremony. The 50-year graduates will receive certificates commemorating their graduation.
Matt Goeden (Computer Engineering, Yankton) and Abe Kean (Computer Engineering, Pierre) are the student speakers.
Goeden plans to attend law school to study intellectual property and technology law. During his time at Tech, he worked as a student researcher for the South Dakota Board of Regents, a software developer with Innovative Systems in Mitchell and an Information Technology Specialist for Mount Marty College.
He has been very involved in a variety of campus organizations. He is a member of Triangle fraternity, where he served as vice president. He also served as an Orientation Leader, and was a member of TONITE, the student programming board, where he served as chair of the Special Events Committee.
He served as Freshman Class President, Sophomore Class President, Finance Committee Chair and Student Association Vice President, and recently completed his tenure as the Student Association President. For the past two years, Matt has been a member of the statewide Student Federation.
Kean has been very involved with campus organizations. He served in many positions with Student Association, including a term as President. He served as an Orientation Leader, and on many panels, including the Parking Committee, Commencement Committee, and the Surbeck and King Center Renovation Committee. He has been a member of Triangle Fraternity, Computer Engineering Honor Society, Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, and other organizations and clubs.
He completed internships with Motorola, South Dakota Department of Transportation, and South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Dr. Larry Simonson, a professor in Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will receive the March Medal. Simonson has been very active in his association with Tech for the past 38 years, beginning in 1965 when he was a freshman. After completing his undergraduate and graduate studies at Tech, he worked for Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas for 2½ years before joining the Electrical Engineering faculty at Tech in 1976. He currently is the Hoffert Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and served as chairman of the department for 4½ years. During his tenure on the faculty, he has been influential in positive interactions with the students, the department, the institution, the community and the alumni association.
Simonson has been very active in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department’s efforts to recruit students. He has participated in College Career Day activities for many years and has given many department tours to prospective students. He has served as advisor to many campus organizations.
Simonson has been very active in his work with campus committees. He has served on the Faculty Advisory Council and as Chairman of the Faculty. His recent efforts have been associated with the University Scholarship Committee and the Engineering Assessment Committee. He has also assisted the Athletic Department as scorebook keeper for basketball games, scoreboard operator for football, and PA announcer for football, basketball, and track for many of the past 27 years.
U.S. Navy Commander John Herrington, a NASA astronaut, is the commencement speaker. Commander Herrington was born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, but grew up in a long list of places. After high school in Plano, Texas, he received a bachelor’s of science degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1983. He joined the U.S. Navy, and began a career that would make any servicemember proud.
Commander Herrington received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1984 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1985. He reported to Patrol Squadron 31 at the Moffett Field Naval Air Station for initial training in the P-3C Orion. His first operational assignment was with Patrol Squadron 48 where he made three operational deployments, two to the Northern Pacific and one to the Western Pacific.
While assigned to Patrol Squadron 48, Herrington was designated a Patrol Plane Commander, Mission Commander, and Patrol Plane Instructor Pilot. Following completion of his first operational tour, Herrington returned to Patrol Squadron 31 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor Pilot. While assigned there, he was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1990. After graduation, he reported to the Force Warfare Aircraft Test Directorate as a project test pilot for the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System. He conducted additional flight test assignments flying numerous variations of the P-3 Orion as well as the T-34C and the DeHavilland Dash 7.
Following his selection as an Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer, Commander Herrington reported to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School where he completed a master’s of science degree in aeronautical engineering in June 1995. He was then assigned as a special projects officer to the Bureau of Naval Personnel Sea Duty Component when he was selected for the astronaut program. During his Naval career, Commander Herrington was a Distinguished Naval Graduate from Aviation Officer Candidate School. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, National Defense Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and various other service awards.
In 1996, Commander Herrington reported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center to complete two years of training and evaluation, and to become qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Commander Herrington was assigned to the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office where he served as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team that was responsible for Shuttle launch preparations and post-landing operations.
In November 2002, Commander Herrington became the first Native American to fly into space. During the mission, the space shuttle Endeavour became the sixteenth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Mission accomplishments included the delivery of the Expedition-Six crew, the delivery, installation and activation of the P1 Truss, and the transfer of cargo from Shuttle to the Station. During the mission, Commander Herrington performed space walks totaling 19 hours and 55 minutes.
Commander Herrington is continuing his career at NASA, and has been selected to serve as part of the investigative team looking into the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy.
Tech also will award an honorary doctorate to Keith Zell. A native of South Dakota, Keith Zell earned his bachelor’s of science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1965 from South Dakota Tech. His professional career included two years at Control Data Corporation and 34 years at MTS Systems Corporation. Both companies are located in Minnesota.
Zell recently retired as Executive Vice President of MTS Systems Corporation. With the company, he held positions of increasing responsibility across the business, including marketing, product development, sales, design engineering, international management, manufacturing, field service and finally executive responsibility for more than 70 percent of the company’s $390 million business.
Zell and MTS Systems Corporation have been great friends of South Dakota Tech. During the past few years, the company and university have worked together to create the Advanced Materials Processing Center on campus. The center, which will conduct research on the cutting-edge of materials technology, is outfitted with the only Friction Stir Processor of its kind in the world. MTS built that piece of equipment, and the Laser Powder Deposition technology in the center. The center will allow Tech to investigate how industry, the military, and government agencies can use the technology produce stronger, longer-lasting, and less expensive products.
Zell currently serves as co-chairman of the Academic Advisory Board to Tech. He also serves as President Elect of the university’s International Alumni Association. He has held academic advisory positions for engineering departments at Tech, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In these positions, Zell has directly influenced corporate contributions and government contracts leading to major engineering laboratory expansions.
For the past year, Zell has held the position of 3M Fellow and Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in the University of Saint Thomas Engineering and Technology Management Program. He also serves as a board member and consultant to a number of small high-technology companies and is a part-time cattle rancher in eastern South Dakota.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.