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Profiles of Giving


Gordon Lakso's Lab

Gordon Lakso (MetE 64) was asked to go on a blind date with his future wife, Lynn, in 1969. He had just moved to Berkeley, CA for a job.    

“He said ‘yes’ and I never let him go,” said Lynn. 

The two were married in 1970. Lynn was (and still is) a California girl, but she learned to love South Dakota through her husband. She also learned to love South Dakota Mines, her husband’s alma mater. 

Gordon grew up a farm boy in the Black Hills, attending a one-room schoolhouse in Belle Fourche.  

“When you look at where education took him, it’s a remarkable story,” said Lynn. “His mom was a school teacher, and his parents encouraged all three of their boys to further their education. All three graduated from college. His parents were his inspiration for going to college.”  

Gordon was very gifted in math, winning state-wide contests. His talent got him a scholarship to South Dakota Mines. After Mines he went on to get his master’s degree at Iowa State University. His first job was as a metallurgist for the Army in Huntsville, AL. Then he moved to Berkeley for a job with Anamet Laboratories where he stayed until mid-90s when he decided to become a consultant. He had a successful consulting business for 22 years. 

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November 2023


The Logue Legacy

If you ask Richard (Dick) Logue (CE 66) who influenced him to attend South Dakota Mines, he would probably say it was his brother, John (EE 65). And if you ask John, he’d say his ability to attend was because of Dick.  

The two grew up in Wakonda, SD with five other siblings and attended a one-room school for grades one to eight. Even though John was younger, he was the first to start college.  

“I had never really liked school before Mines,” said Dick. “I wasn’t that focused. I liked the social part of school but not the studying part. Also, I didn’t really have the finances to go to college.”  

After high school he got a job with a construction company and ended up helping John with his school expenses.  

“He got me through my first year of college,” said John, who had no second thoughts about going to college right after high school for electrical engineering.  

“I’ve been interested in electricity since as long as I can remember,” he said. “When they wired our home in 1952, even then I was following the electrician around.”  

Meanwhile, the engineers and architects working with Dick noticed his talent.  

“It was obvious that the things we were doing seemed to come naturally for me, so they started asking me when I was going to go to college,” Dick said.  

He still had his suspicions about higher education, but he thought if he and John were there together, perhaps he could do it.   

“I probably wouldn’t have went if it weren’t for him,” said Dick. “It made it easier for me because I saw him doing it.” 

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November 2023


Alumni pheasant-hunting event supports scholarships

Left: Alumni and friends gather at Gunbarrel Ranch in December 2022 for the 4th annual pheasant-hunting fundraiser.

Gunbarrel Ranch is not just another good place to go pheasant hunting in South Dakota.  The 2200-acre private ranch sits in a narrow sweet spot where all four upland hunting birds reside: pheasants, partridge, prairie chickens, and grouse.  Steve Grove (ChE 71), the ranch owner, has specifically designed and plants the ranch for the ultimate hunting experience.  The 12,000-square foot luxury lodge has 10 large guest suites showcasing western history. Gourmet dining is complimented by an extensive wine cellar. 

Gunbarrel Ranch is hunted only during four, three-day hunts each year. One of these occasions is a fundraiser for South Dakota Mines, which has generated more than $275,000 for the unrestricted scholarship fund since its inception. 

Come join us next year in supporting students and experiencing upland bird hunting at its best. Contact for more information. 

Those interested in attending this event in the future can expect:

•    15-20 high quality shots at fast-flying pheasants each day
•    Watching the skilled guides and their five Labradors work the fields like an orchestra
•    Engaging conversations with other alumni sharing life lessons and personal stories
•    A special evening with the President of South Dakota Mines which includes discussions about the university’s future
•    Three days and four nights of relaxation, rejuvenation, and enjoyment

Thank you to everyone who has supported this effort in years past!

-    Paul Axtell (ChE 68) 

January 2023


The world needs more engineers - and Rich & Trudy wells are dedicated to helping Mines produce the very best 

If you ask Trudy (ChE 84) and Rich Wells (ChE 82) what this world needs more of, their answer would be: engineers. 

“We need more problem solvers,” said Rich, former vice president at Dow, I’ve seen a lot of engineers during my professional career, and I feel like I can objectively say that South Dakota Mines is at the top in terms of producing people who know how to solve a problem and make something better.” 

That’s why Trudy and Rich have not only given a generous $1 million donation to the university’s New Heights campaign, but they’ve decided to retire in Rapid City so they can donate their time to Mines. 

“It goes back to everything this university has given us,” said Trudy, who also spent time at Dow as well as 3M, as a development officer. “Mines has given us the foundation to do what we were able to do all those years. And it’s been a very satisfying career.”

Trudy and Rich met when they were students at Mines in the early 80s, but it wasn’t until a Mines reunion in 1985 that both realized they may have found their life partner. Their careers took them to Texas, the Netherlands, Michigan and then back to Texas. Rich, who grew up in Austin, MN, compares their choice to retire in Rapid City to his choice to attend Mines instead of the University of Minnesota. 

“I was all set to go to the University of Minnesota, but my dad said, ‘Don’t discount that School of Mines place,’ he said. So, he visited campus with his mother and fell in love with the personality of the campus as he saw students interacting on the quad. He also appreciated the individualized attention he received from the department head, who was curious about his goals and didn’t hesitate to arrange meetings with other professors. By noon Rich told his mother, “This is where I’m coming.” 

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June 2022


Abby Hart started giving back because she could - now, she's creating a legacy at Mines

Most students don’t start giving back to their alma mater immediately following graduation. But Abby Hart (IE/Math 12) of Sidney, MT isn’t most students. Right after starting her first job, she started supporting scholarships at South Dakota Mines. Now, 10 years later, she’s decided to move from an annual scholarship gift to an endowed scholarship fund.

“It’s a choice that depends on your personal situation and financial state, but I think when most people reflect on their time at Mines - the highlights and all the great things they gained from being a student here – they will realize the value of giving back,” she said. 

Abby, Material Flow Engineer with John Deere in Horicon, WI, has many great memories of friends and a lot of gratitude for her professors; but one thing she’ll never forget is how helpful it was to receive many scholarships. 

“Those kinds of things I remember and am very grateful for,” she said. “That’s why when I left school, I thought ‘I have a really good job now, so why not? I was given these opportunities as a student, so because I can, I should give back.’” 

Continue reading here.

June 2022