Office of the President

Welcome to the South Dakota Mines!

James (Jim) Rankin, PhD, PE returned to his alma mater as the 19th president of South Dakota Mines in January 2018. A South Dakota native from Draper and Fort Pierre, Rankin graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1978 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering.

Prior to returning to South Dakota Mines, Rankin’s leadership as vice-provost for research and economic development at the University of Arkansas generated more than 50 start-up companies and significantly increased annual external funding to $103 million. He led efforts to develop the institution’s first strategic plan in research and economic development, instituted several faculty recognition programs, and developed an expedited industry contracting process.

Previously at Ohio University, Rankin was interim vice president for research, associate dean, professor of electrical engineering, and director of the Avionics Engineering Center. He has also been a professor at St. Cloud State University and an engineer at Rockwell-Collins. Rankin’s personal research has been funded by numerous NASA and FAA grants. His Ph.D. and master’s degrees in electrical engineering were earned at Iowa State University.

“I am very honored to return to South Dakota Mines as its 19th president. I know firsthand the excellent academic preparation that students receive here,” Rankin said. “A 98 percent placement rate for 10 straight years is a testament to the quality education provided by the outstanding South Dakota Mines’ faculty. There will be a continued emphasis on the success of our students.”

“The school is poised to grow in many areas, including student enrollment and sponsored research,” he said. “Faculty-led innovation will have an increasing role in the area’s economic development. I look forward to working with our loyal alumni and friends to develop the resources needed by faculty and students for these initiatives. I am also excited to team with our faculty, staff, and students to continue to enhance the school’s reputation throughout South Dakota, the region, and the nation.”