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Guy E. March Medal Award Recipients

The March Medal is awarded annually to a graduate who exemplifies the spirit of Dr. March through positive interaction with students, the institution, and Mines alumni. The caring spirit of Guy March is a hallmark of the School of Mines that has been handed down over the decades and continues to benefit our current students.

2021

Mr. Cliff (CE 79) & Mrs. Debra (EE 78) Bienert

Debra (Zapp) Bienert graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. She was a member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Mu Epsilon, and IEEE, serving as vice president of IEEE during her senior year. Debra participated in several intramural sports and acted as a practice partner for the men’s tennis team. Cliff Bienert graduated from Mines in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi and served as president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter. Cliff led the building of the first successful concrete canoe at Mines and constructed the base for the Tau Beta Pi bronze cast that still stands outside the library. Cliff and Debra met on campus and were married in 1980. After graduation, Debra worked for Trane Company in LaCrosse, WI, and relocated to Green Bay after she and Cliff were married. In Green Bay she worked for the local electric utility holding positions of planning engineer, senior operating engineer, and industrial marketing supervisor. Following their move from Green Bay in 1991, Debra discovered her affinity for teaching. For the last 27 years, Debra has taught math and sciences at various colleges and high schools. After graduation, Cliff worked for Procter and Gamble in Green Bay in the paper industry, moving from there to lead tissue paper manufacturing operations, plants, and divisions in Canada, northern Wisconsin, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Cliff was vice president of operations for CityForest Corporation, Irving Tissue, and Schweitzer-Mauduit International. Cliff and Debra retired and returned to Rapid City in November 2011. Looking to devote time to their alma mater, they returned to Mines to get their master’s degrees and were subsequently hired to teach at Mines, Debra in the mathematics department and Cliff in civil and construction engineering. After eight years of sharing their knowledge and experience with students, they are retiring as of this date. Both have been very active on campus and throughout the community serving together on the Newman Center Advisory Board in various roles, including president. Both are also faculty advisors for the Class Project Committee. Additionally, Debra serves on the Admissions Committee, and organized and facilitated the West River Math Contest for the past six years. She received the 2019 Virginia Simpson Award for her work on this contest within the Rapid City community. Cliff has been a South Dakota Mines CARA board member since 2012 and an active member of the Real Estate Committee for 10 years. He is also an active Hospital
Eucharistic Minister.

2020

Dr. Scott Kenner (CE 77)

Dr. Scott Kenner graduated from South Dakota Mines with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1977 and a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1979. He received a PhD in environmental engineering sciences from the University of Florida in 1992. He joined the faculty at Mines in August 1993 as an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Over the first two years, he developed a curriculum for the water resources component that evolved into a sequence of four undergraduate and four graduate courses, which is still in place today. He has mentored more than 50 master’s degree students and eight PhD students, and continues to support three master’s and three PhD students through externally-funded research. His teaching efforts were recognized in 2008 when he received the Bernard A. Ennenga Faculty Award for excellence in teaching and motivating students, and in 2018 when he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Professor. He worked on development of the HONORS@mines program and supported the EPICS program through advising student project teams. He was appointed head of the civil and environmental engineering department in July 2016 after serving as interim head for one year. He retired in 2020. He has conducted more than $4.5 million of research influencing water resources management for entities including the City of Rapid City; Pennington County; the South Dakota Department of Natural Resources; South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks; the US Army Corps of Engineers; and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He has completed sabbaticals to New Zealand in 2006 and to Mongolia as a Fulbright Scholar in 2012-13. He is currently part of a research team studying and comparing riverine systems in the mountain step eco-region of the US and Mongolia; this project is a collaboration with five US universities and two Mongolian agencies. He has been active in various organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the South Dakota Engineering Society, the ASCE Urban Water Resources Research Institute, the Rapid City Area Schools STEAM2 Task Force, the board of directors of the South Dakota Mines Center for Alumni Relations and Advancement, the South Dakota Mines Alumni Reunion Committee, the International Students Inc. House, and the South Dakota Presbytery.

2019

Dr. Antonette Logar (CSc 85)

Dr. Antonette “Toni” Logar served at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology as the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and interim Dean of Graduate Education for two years. She has served on the Alumni Association Board and the Board of Directors of the SDSM&T Foundation. Her contributions to the university as a faculty member have bDr. Antonette “Toni” Logar served at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology as the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and interim Dean of Graduate Education for two years. She has served on the Alumni Association Board and the Board of Directors of the SDSM&T Foundation. Her contributions to the university as a faculty member have been recognized through both the Ennenga Award for excellence in teaching and the Outstanding Professor Award. Dr. Logar has acted as a mentor both officially and unofficially for many students and faculty members. Her efforts as a mentor to students was recognized by the Tau Beta Pi National Mentoring Award as a result of a nomination prepared by students in the local chapter. She also served on the Tenure and Promotion Committee for many years and she has been highly sought after for advice on tenure and promotion materials.

Dr. Logar served as coach of the SD Mines programming team during her service at SD Mines. In 2013, she received an international coach’s award for having brought five teams to the World Finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC), and, since then, the school has had four more teams qualify. This resulted in the selection of Rapid City as the host site of the ACM-ICPC World Finals in May 2017. The contest brought 1,500 people to Rapid City, including the best and brightest computer science students from around the world.

Many students who have been on the programming team, whether they made it to the finals or not, have said that Dr. Logar made a lasting impact on both their professional and personal lives. The fortunate students who happen to earn the right to travel to the World Finals have always benefited from a transformative international experience that transcends the five-day long contest in a hotel or resort.

Building a close relationship with the Rapid City and South Dakota communities has been essential for the health of the institution, and Dr. Logar has been dedicated in supporting these efforts. She has served as a member of the Black Hills Chamber Music Society Board and the Black Hills Symphony Board, and currently serves on the board for the Mt. Rushmore Historical Society. She consistently recruits campus community members to contribute their talents and efforts to community service.

Mines Advancement Fund

As the foundation of philanthropy at South Dakota Mines, the Mines Advancement Fund ensures the Center for Alumni Relations & Advancement (CARA) remains the focal point of giving, engagement, and alma mater pride. 
 
With every dollar gifted to the Mines Advancement Fund, CARA’s development team will raise an average of $9 more to support departments, scholarships, and programs. This is the sort of focus, efficiency, and mission-driven mindset that results in South Dakota Mines’ reputation for excellence.
 
Consider designating your gift to the Mines Advancement Fund to maximize your influence at South Dakota Mines. For more information, contact Lucas Lund, Annual Giving Director, at lucas.lund@sdsmt.edu.