For Immediate Release: Saturday, May 10, 2003
Retiring SDSMT President Receives Honorary Doctorate
RAPID CITY - Richard Gowen, retiring president of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service Saturday for his outstanding record of public service to South Dakota.
The honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, was awarded to Gowen by the South Dakota Board of Regents for his "visionary leadership and service to the people of South Dakota." The degree was conferred at South Dakota Tech's commencement exercises Saturday in Rapid City.
Gowen, who has been SDSMT's president since 1987, will retire from the public higher education system June 30. He also served as president of Dakota State University in Madison from 1984-87. Before coming to Madison, he was a vice president on the Tech campus.
"Dick Gowen's life and career have been dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge and discoveries," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett. "He is equally devoted to educating our students so they are prepared for the workforce, helping children embrace the wonders of math and science, and using the university's capabilities to improve its community."
Gowen was singled out for his leadership in many areas, including his work with Gov. Mike Rounds and previous governors to enhance the state's economic development profile. Currently, he chairs a committee working to convert the former Homestake Gold Mine into a world-class underground science and engineering laboratory. Gowen crafted the Homestake proposal, which is currently under review by the National Science Foundation.
He led SDSMT through several major building and renovation efforts, as well as a first-ever capital campaign that raised more than $20 million in five years. During his tenure, Tech received national academic recognition, including the prestigious Boeing Educator of the Year Award in 2000.
More recently, Gowen spearheaded efforts to create the Advanced Materials Processing Center on the Rapid City campus. "This center combines two unique technologies found together nowhere else in the world," Jewett said. "Laser and welding technology are used in defense-related projects to benefit the U.S. Army and Department of Defense. This research center at Tech features cutting-edge equipment and scientific expertise."
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