School of Mines receives biggest gift ever, $3.6 million

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has received its largest gift in the university’s history. The donation of $3.6 million from 1969 graduate Willard Goodman and his wife, Billie Kay Goodman, was made to the school’s Department of Civil Engineering and doubles its annual operating budget that funds scholarships, graduate student stipends, faculty endowments, student activities and lab facilities.

Willard Goodman, who grew up in Philip and died in 2013, was appreciative of the support he received as a student from the head of the civil engineering department, Bill Coyle, a news release said.

“When he would talk about his professor, Bill Coyle, he would start by saying, ‘I’m probably going to start to cry when I tell you this.’ He was very open about how South Dakota Mines changed his life,” Brad Johnson, vice president for development of the South Dakota Mines Foundation, said.

The Willards owned Plant and Flanged Equipment Company in Minneapolis, according to the Rapid City Journal. South Dakota School of Mines President Jim Rankin said it was pleasing to know alumni are helping future scientists and engineers.