PIERRE, SD – The South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) announces the retirement of South Dakota Mines (SDM) President Dr. Jim Rankin, effective June 21. After six years of dedicated leadership, Rankin leaves a legacy of achievement and impact on the institution, solidifying its position as a premier engineering institution nationwide.


“South Dakota Mines is a university with distinctive needs and opportunities,” said BOR Executive Director Nathan Lukkes. “President Rankin was able to impact student success, strategically outline institutional objectives, and strengthen relationships with industry partners locally and nationally.”


Originally from South Dakota, Rankin attended and graduated from SDM with an electrical engineering degree. He later went on to earn a master’s and a doctoral degree from Iowa State University. Before joining the SDM team, he was the vice provost for research and economic development at the University of Arkansas. Rankin also previously served in leadership roles at Ohio University, as a professor at St. Cloud State University, and as an engineer at Rockwell-Collins.


Since returning to his alma mater as the nineteenth president, Rankin has spearheaded initiatives that have increased student retention and graduation rates, expanded research opportunities, and led with an eye on the future through planning and philanthropy.


His efforts on campus will be evident for years to come. SDM acquired funding to construct the state-of-the-art Nucor Mineral Industries Building, the renovation of the Devereaux Library was completed, and the purchase of the former Ascent Innovation building expanded research space and fostered collaboration among interdisciplinary teams, nearly doubling the externally funded research. Rankin also helped secure gifts that will create lasting impacts on the university, including the largest individual donation and the largest corporate gift to the university. His fundraising efforts helped double the funds raised by the Center for Alumni Relations & Advancement, further strengthening SDM’s financial foundation.


“It has been a privilege to serve as president of South Dakota Mines,” said Rankin. “I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am confident that the university will continue to thrive and be a leader in the state and the nation for years to come.”


The Board of Regents and the South Dakota education community express their appreciation for President Rankin’s dedication, leadership, and transformative impact he’s had on the state’s public university system.


Dr. Lance Roberts, the current provost and vice president of academic affairs, will serve as interim president. A search for the next president will commence late this summer.