South Dakota Mines receives $150,000 for new scholarship, avionics upgrade

News StaffOctober 20, 2021Business
courtesy photoSouth Dakota Mines’ Department of Electrical Engineering has received $150,000 from Raven Industries (NASDAQ:RAVN) to support the university’s new minor in avionics.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Department of Electrical Engineering at South Dakota Mines is receiving $150,000 from Raven Industries to support the university’s new minor in avionics.

Raven Industries specializes in engineering, manufacturing and technological innovation, as well as being a leader in precision agriculture, high performance films, and aerospace and defense solutions. The Aerostar division of Raven Industries is the global leader in stratospheric balloon technology, and its platforms are used for near-space applications in aerospace, defense and scientific research.

With this donation, a Raven Aerostar scholarship will be endowed to support students in the avionics program.

“We are grateful for the ongoing partnership the university has had with Raven Industries,” says Mines President Jim Rankin, Ph.D. “This significant investment in avionics will help our program excel.”

The donation also allows for spending on equipment for improved design, test and prototyping capabilities for high-speed electronic circuits needed in aircraft and space avionics applications.

“For decades, Raven has enjoyed a rewarding relationship with South Dakota Mines, and we know first-hand the value of their education, learning experiences and programs,” said Dan Rykhus, President & CEO of Raven Industries. “We believe strongly in the value of university partnerships, for both Raven and for our industries, and this gift reflects Raven Aerostar’s continued commitment to strengthening the next-generation of aerospace engineers and leaders.”

Raven Aerostar has provided technical help to develop the new avionics and aerospace engineering minors at Mines, and this donation expands on the company’s connection to the university.

“Raven’s gift will enable us to widely deploy these advanced toolsets and tools to all of our students, giving them valuable practical experience. In addition, we anticipate sharing our upgraded facilities with other departments on campus, especially the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, says Tom Montoya, Ph.D., interim electrical engineering department head.

Raven gave $25,000 to the university earlier this year for the Aerospace Engineering Lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

“We are proud to support the continued expansion of the University’s avionics and aerospace programs,” said Jim Nelson, Division Manager of Raven Aerostar. “The talent that comes from South Dakota Mines matches the high-caliber needs of our team. As we continue to see a high demand for top talent in aerospace engineering and related fields, Raven Aerostar is excited to continue partnering with the university on valuable learning opportunities for students in these programs.”

Having been partners with South Dakota Mines for decades, the two worked together in hiring interns, sponsoring the Women in Science Engineering (WiSE) program and provided scholarships to and program support.

Over 50 South Dakota Mines alumni are current team members of Raven, and Raven has a branch office on the Mines campus in the Ascent Innovations Building.