BHSU counts down Top 10 moments of 2015

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, December 31, 2015/Categories: 2015

The BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab in Lead opened in 2015 and is in use by students and faculty. BHSU, in partnership with the Sanford Lab, constructed a cleanroom and adjoining workspace at the 4,850-foot level of the lab for multidisciplinary research.  

More than 600 students graduated at Black Hills State University in 2016.

BHSU and Spearfish are recognized for their exceptional synergy. The community welcomes BHSU and collaborates with the University on many projects, including BHSU Night at Downtown Spearfish. The community and local businesses also wore BHSU T-Shirts during move-in weekend to welcome new students and their families to Spearfish.

The Black Hills State University Spearfish Local Program continued its success in 2015. Spearfish Local launched a new badge program in January, an initiative to help better identify where to find local produce in the Northern Hills. To further enhance the work of the program, Spearfish Local received a $100,000 grant from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program.

Black Hills State University is closing out 2015, and with the end of the year, the University is celebrating its accomplishments.

Here are the Top 10 moments of 2015 at BHSU:

10. BHSU advances green initiatives Spearfish Local sees exceptional growth

The Black Hills State University Spearfish Local Program launched a new badge program in January, an initiative to help better identify where to find local produce in the Northern Hills. Businesses that sell or cook with local food can display the badge in their windows and highlight their support of the local economy.

To further enhance the work of the program, Spearfish Local received a $100,000 grant from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program. The grant will be used to incubate a local food hub for the Northern Hills and provide fresh, healthy meals to more locations. The food hub will be able to identify needs in the region for particular foods, which could help farmers expand their businesses with in-demand crops.

9. Athletics
High achieving scholar athletes - BHSU scholar athletes recorded impressive grade point averages in 2015. The total combined GPA for BHSU scholar-athletes was nearly 3.0 for the 2014-2015 academic year. The women's basketball team recorded the highest GPA out of all the Yellow Jacket teams with a 3.559. The scholar-athletes' GPA exceeded the academic eligibility requirements set by the NCAA Division II.

New programs - BHSU added two new sports, now offering 14 NCAA sports. Women's soccer was added to the women's lineup, with the first games slated for 2016. Women's triathlon had a successful start in 2015. Women's triathlon is offered through a USA Triathlon grant in conjunction with the NCAA. BHSU is one of only eight schools, nationally, to receive the three-year grant for the emerging sport.

First national competition as NCAA Division II - The BHSU Yellow Jacket cross country team competed at the NCAA National Championships for the first time in school history. The Yellow Jackets placed 14th at the national meet held in Joplin, Mo. The team dedicated their success to former team member Gage McSpadden, who passed away in July.

8. Campus and Community Engagement
BHSU and Spearfish are recognized for their exceptional synergy (www.BHSU.edu/Community). BHSU students love living in Spearfish, which has received numerous national rankings as one of the best small towns in the nation. The community welcomes BHSU and collaborates on many activities, community service, and initiatives. BHSU Night at Spearfish Downtown Friday Nights last summer was a huge success with hundreds of people wearing bright green BHSU T-Shirts. The Spearfish community and local businesses also wore BHSU T-shirts during move-in weekend to show their appreciation and to welcome new students and their families to Spearfish.  

7. Record donations
The BHSU Alumni & Advancement office had a record year for donations in 2015 with nearly $10.2 million in donations, according to Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement. With the 2015 donations, the foundation has raised more than $40 million in the past eight years.

6. BHSU named top school for student veterans
BHSU continues to enhance its dedication to military veterans. Black Hills State University was named to Victory Media's 2016 Military Friendly Schools for the sixth consecutive year. BHSU also made the Military Times' list Best for Vets: Colleges 2016 for the third year in a row. In 2015, BHSU also was named a Top School in the Military Advanced Education (MAE) Guide to Colleges and Universities.

5. BHSU graduates more than 600
 BHSU gradated more than 600 students in 2015. Of the 628 that graduated, there were 100 master degrees, 484 bachelor degrees and 44 associate degrees awarded.

BHSU also honored two outstanding alumni with honorary doctorate degrees during the 2015 fall and spring ceremonies. Michael Shann received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree for his work producing the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Jerome Greene received an honorary Doctors of Letters and Literature degree for his career as a National Park Service employee and award-winning author.

4. BHSU increases international partnerships
BHSU increases the number of international partnerships in 2015, including the University's first ever partnership with an African country. BHSU and Botho University in Gabarone, Botswana developed an international partnership in March. BHSU representatives also traveled to six universities in South Korea and three in China in 2015, establishing new or sustaining existing MOU agreements between BHSU and its partner universities. A group returned to Botswana in November to present research on malaria and work in the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead. Faculty and staff also visited the Philippines to make plans for a service learning opportunity there.  BHSU currently has 52 international students from 29 countries and is connected with more than 30 countries where students can travel, learn and complete their degree.

3. BHSU Underground Campus Opens at Sanford Lab
The BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab in Lead opened in 2015 and is in use by students and faculty. BHSU, in partnership with the Sanford Lab, constructed a cleanroom and adjoining workspace at the 4,850-foot level of the lab for multidisciplinary research.  

The BHSU Underground Campus is a unique research environment for students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Sanford Lab offers educational opportunities for students in a variety of disciplines from music to science to education. The initial use of the Campus will be used for physics, biology and geology research, as well as short-term projects from a variety of majors.

2. New additions, renovations on campus
The BHSU campus continue to evolve to meet the needs of our students. Crow Peak Hall, the first new residence hall in 50 years, opened for students this fall. Crow Peak Hall is a 50,000-square-foot residence hall that connects the University's two existing halls with a central living area for all three buildings.

The Sanford Science Education Center opened in Jonas Hall in 2015. The Center offers new science labs, interactive classrooms and displays for visitors to campus. The new addition is a branch of the Sanford Science Education Center, which also has facilities at the Sanford Lab in Lead.

The Admissions Welcome Center also opened in the BHSU Student Union. The Welcome Center offers a space for campus visitors to meet with counselors, faculty, staff and other students while at BHSU.

New athletic suites were added to Lyle Hare Stadium in 2015, as well, offering an opportunity for Yellow Jacket fans to watch football games inside a suite.

1. BHSU-Rapid City
Black Hills State University-Rapid City was established to provide increased higher education opportunities in the state's second largest city. The former University Center was renamed Black Hills State University-Rapid City in April. In addition to the rebranding, new programs and additional options for classes were added throughout the year. Students now have the option of choosing from 49 BHSU programs at the Rapid City location.
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