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Top 10 BHSU Moments of 2018

Successful graduates, new academic offerings, and sustainability achievements...just to name a few.

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, December 28, 2018/Categories: Athletics, Events, Students, Academic Affairs, Alumni, Athletics, Awards, Campus Currents, Campus Transformations, College of Business and Natural Sciences, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Community, Donations, Events, Faculty, Home News, Outdoor Education, President, Psychology, Staff, Sanford, Scholarships, Research Symposium, Veterans Affairs, Sustainability, 2018

As we approach the New Year, here’s a look back at the Top 10 moments for Black Hills State University in 2018.

1.    Successful graduates:
More than 550 students earned degrees from Black Hills State in the spring and fall of 2018. From fulltime jobs, to fellowships for advanced degrees, BHSU graduates are ready to impact their world. Here’s a few examples:
•    Madision Jilek is a research assistant at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she is pursuing her PhD in physical chemistry.
•    Sierra Concha works as a curriculum developer with the Lakota Language Initiative through Thunder Valley CDC in Porcupine, S.D.
•    Gavin Brucklacher works as an IT Specialist at First National Bank in Philip, S.D.
•    D’Aryn Lends His Horse attends pharmacy school at Regis University in Denver. 
•    Walter Bordewyk works as a rock climbing instructor at High Mountain Climbing Gym in Spearfish. 
•    Alex Hancock is the social media manager at Evergreen Media in Rapid City.
This year, many successful alums returned to campus to share their advice with students.
•    Justin Varland, Class of ’02, Head of Carrier Sales at Apple, Inc., was one of several alums to meet with students during a #adulting Seminar to help prepare soon-to-be alumni for life after graduation.
•    Dr. Lowell Amiotte, ’64, spoke with graduates and received an honorary doctorate from BHSU at spring commencement honoring his dedication to Native American education in establishing the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. 
•    Jeremiah Watt, ’05, returned to campus for a public presentation about adventure sport and climbing photography for which he is internationally-known. His client list includes Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, and Yeti.
•    Hannah Downs, ’15, spent a day on campus with business and mass communication students to share how an internship during her time at BHSU launched her into an international career at B9Creations, LLC.
•    Nadim Antar, ’10, is a government defense contractor and returned to BHSU to mentor military cadets through his role as an ROTC instructor. 

2.    New academic offerings: 
•    Streamlined MBA (master’s in business administration) into a two-year degree program
•    Began offering an associate’s degree in business at BHSU-Rapid City. 
•    A savings of $12,000 over four years, the South Dakota Advantage approved by the Board of Regents this year will extend in-state tuition rates to new students from Nebraska, North Dakota, and Iowa starting this summer. The program is already in place for Montana, Wyoming and Montana residents. 
•    The 5 fastest growing academic programs at BHSU are Criminal Justice, Applied Health Sciences, Secondary Education, Exercise Science, and Outdoor Education. The 5 most popular degrees are Business Administration and Management, Elementary Education, Biology, Psychology, and Human Services.
•    Continuing to provide many dual credit courses on campus in Spearfish, Rapid City, and online, allowing highschool students to earn college credit. 
BHSU also received the following accolades this year:
•    Best Online Programs by U.S. News & World Report
•    Best Online Bachelor of Business Administration degree programs by Best Value Schools
•    Affordable online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction by Best Value Schools
•    Affordable online Master’s in Education by Best Value Schools and Grad School Hub
•    Best Colleges for Student Voting by Washington Monthly
•    Cool Schools by Sierra Magazine 
•    Best Colleges for Student Veterans by Military Times 
3.    Sustainability Achievements: 
•    Solar panels were installed on Bordeaux Residence Hall
•    BHSU was named a ‘Cool School’
•    The University was recognized as a Tree Campus USA
•    The Black Hills Food Hub, run by BHSU Sustainability, received the Micropolitan Award at the Spearfish Chamber Banquet for positively enhancing the Spearfish community through service, innovation, and expansion.
•    2018 was also the year of the Bike Train, as BHSU invited elementary and middle school students to ride to and from school during Bike Month in May. 
4.    International Relations: 
•    BHSU students made history as the first Americans to study at Baoding University in China and the first debate team in BHSU history to compete internationally in England
•    A BHSU student sailed around the world thanks to a new affiliation agreement with Semester at Sea
•    Students and faculty presented research in Botswana, Africa
•    Students completed the International Service Learning Program in Botswana and the Philippines
•    Faculty from a partner university in  Slovenia visited campus and a BHSU student is now studying at that university via study abroad.
•    BHSU also welcomed a group of highly-talented students from Pakistan and Tunisia to study on campus, thanks to a new program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
5.    American Indian Relations:
The Lakota Omniciye student organization hosted the 35th annual Wacipi (Pow Wow) on campus and more than 3,138 students were served by South Dakota GEAR UP Program in partner schools throughout the state.

6.    Veterans Support:
BHSU thanks the 177 student veterans currently on campus, 77 veteran dependents, and one student deployed in South Korea for their service. 
•    The BHSU Veteran’s Legacy Project launched a new website,, for educators and visitors to the five cemeteries featured by the project. The Project also hosted a Graphic Novel Design Camp for middle and high school students and shared the art with the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities when he visited Spearfish. 
•    Active duty service members enrolled in distance courses qualified for a new, reduced tuition rate approved by the Board of Regents.
7.    Record year for scholarships:
A record $11.6 million was donated to BHSU by alumni and friends for scholarships and university support. 
•    Record turnout at the Scholarship Galaa raised $75,000, breaking last year’s record of $44,000. 
•    The Kathryn Johnson Life Sciences Laboratory and the Carol Lundberg Anatomy & Physiology Laboratory were also dedicated this year. 
8.    Campus Beauty:
BHSU received the Beautification Award from the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce and hosted a Campus Beauty Photo Contest for students. This year thousands of visitors came to campus for the First Annual Women in Science Conference, first-ever major arts and education conference in western South Dakota, the 50th annual Special Olympics State Summer Games, the 20th BH Research Symposium, weekly Geek Speaks, physical plant administrators conference, safety conference, athletic events including the SDHSAA State A Track Meet, and special events at the Joy Center. 

9.    Underground Campus at Sanford Lab:
Four students and two local middle school teachers, who are also BHSU alums, traveled to China to participate in an international meeting on furthering germanium technology. While in China, the students and teachers toured the Chinese Jinping Underground Lab, which is the deepest in the world, thanks to a National Science Foundation consortium award. BHSU also hosted the 3rd Annual Underground Robotics Competition at Sanford Lab for middle school students. 

10.    Yellow Jacket Athletics:
For the first time in its NCAA Division II history, the BHSU Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams qualified for the national championship where the men’s team finished 16th and earned the Highest Team GPA Award, the women’s team finished 17th, and two athletes were named All-Americans.  

Anything is Possible in 2019!

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