BHSU counts down Top 10 moments of 2014

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, December 31, 2014/Categories: 2014

Black Hills State University celebrated the inauguration of BHSU's 10th president, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., in November. The Presidential Inauguration was the top moment at BHSU in 2014.

The accomplishments of BHSU students and alumni ranked third in BHSU's top 10 moments of 2014. Michaela Stroup, political science major from Pierre, was accepted into The George Washington University's Semester in Washington Politics (SIWP) in Washington, D.C., as a participant in the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) for the spring semester.  

In 2014, BHSU made several facility improvements and held grand openings and ground breakings for new buildings that will benefit our alumni, students and the community. The construction boom was ranked sixth in BHSU's top 10 moments of 2014. A ribbon cutting was held in December for Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center.

Black Hills State University celebrated a tremendous year in 2014.

From earning international accreditation for BHSU business programs to booming construction to the inauguration of BHSU's 10th President Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., the University has much to celebrate as 2014 comes to a close.

Here are the Top 10 Moments of 2014 at BHSU:

10. Sustainability
Black Hills State University earned national recognition for its sustainability efforts with the 2014 Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Sustainability Award presented by the APPA Professional Affairs committee. The APPA recognizes sustainability excellence in educational facilities. Since 2008, BHSU has strived to reduce its carbon footprint by implementing strategies to reduce waste, monitor energy use and create a strategic plan to advance energy saving initiatives. BHSU offers a master's degree in sustainability, as well as educational certificates and degrees with an environmental focus. BHSU plants a campus garden each summer, and this year the University implemented Spearfish Local, a program that brings together local producers, distributors, purchasers and consumers of local food and other locally-sourced products. For more information on BHSU's sustainability practices, go to

9. DII Athletic Success
Alec Baldwin enjoyed a tremendous inaugural season for the Black Hills State cross country team. The junior-transfer from Iowa State led the Yellow Jackets in every race including a pair of first place finishes, two second place finishes, and one third place finish. Baldwin was a First Team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference performer, a USTFCCCA All-South Region performer, and a 53rd place finish at the NCAA Division II national meet. Baldwin became the second-straight national qualifier for BHSU, following in the footsteps of Mitch Kraft. On the national championship course, Baldwin navigated from 124th place at the 1,800-meter split to 78th position at the 5,000-meter mark before his final kick carried him to 53rd finishing the 10K race at 31:54.40.

Read about all of the Yellow Jackets' accomplishments in 2014 at

8. Livability
Spearfish was named one of the Top 10 Small Towns by in 2014. Spearfish was ranked seventh on the list, with Black Hills State University listed as a key component to the community's high quality of life. With an enrollment of more than 4,400 students, BHSU offers not only educational opportunities, but entertainment options from live performances to art exhibits for the community.

7. National Science Foundation Grants
Black Hills State University received a number of large grants in 2014. Two of those grants came from the National Science Foundation (NSF), enhancing educational opportunities for Black Hills State University students.

BHSU received a $469,628 grant from the NSF to increase and enhance computer science learning opportunities for Kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Black Hills region. The three-year program "Expand Pathways into Computer Science" began this fall. The grant allows BHSU to collaborate with area school districts to offer a yearlong, innovative computer science class at the high school level. Read more about the "Expand Pathways into Computer Science" initiative at

BHSU also was awarded a $600,000 grant from the NSF to purchase an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS). The ICP-MS detects radioactive contaminants in materials used in the construction of large underground experiments at the Sanford Lab in Lead. The machine will enhance laboratory facilities and increase student involvement in large scale Sanford Underground Lab projects. Learn more about the ICP-MS machine and its capabilities at

6. Campus Upgrades
In 2014, BHSU made several facility improvements and held grand openings and ground breakings for new buildings that will benefit our alumni, students and the community.

In December, a grand opening was held for the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center (The Joy Center), a 6,500-square-foot building that houses the University Advancement offices and offers a gathering space before BHSU athletic events, concerts, new student orientations and other activities. The center is named after Joy (Proctor) Krautschun, a BHSU alumna and longtime supporter of Black Hills State University.

A ground breaking ceremony was held in February for Crow Peak Hall, which is currently under construction. Crow Peak Hall will be a 50,000-square-foot facility, three stories high with 12, four-person suites on each floor. It will connect Thomas Hall and Heidepriem Hall on campus and include a central living area that will be the residential link of all three buildings. A completion date of summer 2015 is set.

The BHSU Student Veterans Center celebrated its grand re-opening in September, after the facility was remodeled in the past year. The center provides a space for student vets to socialize with other student vets, study or hold meetings.

Renovations for the new Sanford Science Education Center in Jonas Hall have begun. According to Randy Culver, director of Facilities Services, the Westcore Lab and two renovated classrooms are complete and will be used during the spring semester. Work will begin soon on the west side of the building. The entire project is expected to be complete by mid-October 2015. BHSU received a $2.5 million donation from the Sanford Lab to convert a portion of the current Jonas Science building into a state-of-the-art education facility.

The gym floor in the Donald E. Young Sports & Fitness Complex was replaced and new campus wide, exterior lighting was installed over the past year, as well.

Read about BHSU facility updates and other additions at

5. Veterans
Black Hills State University continued its support of veterans and all active duty men and women in 2014.

In October, BHSU was approved to offer a pilot program with reduced tuition rates for all active military men and women enrolled in courses at the University Center-Rapid City. The reduced tuition rate of $246.35 per credit hour will begin in January 2015. BHSU has a long history of serving military personnel from Ellsworth Air Force Base, as well as those from across the state and nation. BHSU offers more than 170 courses and a total of 36 associate, bachelor's and master's degrees at the UC-RC. In the past year, BHSU saw a 22 percent increase in veteran or veteran dependent students. Read the full story on the reduced tuition rate at

Also in 2014, for the second year in a row, BHSU made the list of Best Business Schools for Veterans by Military Times. BHSU was also named to the 2015 list of Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media for the fifth consecutive year.

4. $1 Million Donation
Dr. James Hess, professor of psychology and chair of the School of Behavioral Sciences at Black Hills State University, pledged a $1 million gift to BHSU to establish the School of Behavioral Sciences Make a Difference Initiative. Hess has been a psychology professor at BHSU for 32 years. His donation is equivalent to the salary he made in his first 19 years of teaching at BHSU. Through the Make a Difference Initiative, in exchange for scholarship funds, students will be challenged to lead sustainable community projects designed to make a difference in the lives of others. Hess hopes to change the culture of scholarship funding by encouraging recipients to give back right from the start and continue that practice after they graduate. Read the full story of Hess' donation at

3. Students/Alumni Recognition
Black Hills State University celebrated the many accomplishments of its alumni and students in 2014. Some of the top moments from BHSU alumni and students include:

BHSU alumni Michael Shann produced the finale to the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Russia. Shann, who is a 1970 BHSU graduate, spent months producing the show, which featured 3,500 performers, fireworks and elaborate scenery.

Greg Wilson, who is enrolled in BHSU's Master of Sustainability program, is in the process of starting Luminating, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving water quality for the 1.1 billion people who lack access to clean drinking water. His first project is in Tanzania where nearly half the population lacks clean drinking water.

Black Hills State University student leaders Chase Vogel, business administration-economics and finance major from Cheyenne, Wyo., and Lorrin Anderson, corporate communication major from Winner, traveled to Germany this summer to develop an international relationship with new partner school Aalen University. The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the new academic program between BHSU and Aalen University, located in the German state of Baden-WUrttemberg earlier this year.

Michaela Stroup, political science major from Pierre, was accepted into The George Washington University's Semester in Washington Politics (SIWP) in Washington, D.C., as a participant in the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) for the spring semester. While in the program, Stroup will take classes at George Washington University and complete an internship program.

Ethan Engel, an art and graphic design and communication major from Winner, had his artwork "Overcast" selected for the VSA Emerging Young Artists Program. His work is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Dillon Ripley Center in Washington, D.C. Engel's artwork is part of a series that shows his struggle with autism.

Read about all of BHSU's students and alumni at

2. AACSB Accreditation
Black Hills State University earned international accreditation of its business administration, professional accountancy and MBA programs by the board of directors of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Only 716 schools of business, worldwide, have earned AACSB accreditation. According to AACSB's website, AACSB-accredited schools have the highest-quality faculty, relevant and challenging curriculum and provide educational opportunities that are not found at other schools. The recognition places the Black Hills State University School of Business among the best business schools in the world. Learn more about BHSU's prestigious accreditation at

1. Presidential Inauguration
Black Hills State University celebrated the inauguration of BHSU's 10th president in November. Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., began his duties at BHSU in July, following the retirement of Dr. Kay Schallenkamp, who served as president from 2006 to 2014. The theme of the inauguration was "Spirit of the Hills," honoring the history, geography, beauty and the people of the Black Hills."BH is a place where anything is possible.  It embodies the 'can-do' spirit that says if we want to achieve something - we will. It is filled with caring and motivated faculty, staff, alumni, and students," Jackson said during his speech. "Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you as the 10th president of Black Hills State University. I will do my part to lead with honor, integrity, and a genuine commitment to this special place." Inauguration events were held in Spearfish and Rapid City to raise funds for scholarships. Approximately $11,500 in scholarship funds were raised. Read more about the Presidential Inauguration and Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr. at

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