Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Records

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Reference code

UA 008

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Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering Records


  • 1913-2020 (Creation)


2.0 linear feet [2 record boxes]

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Administrative history

The first catalog of South Dakota State University contains plans for an engineering course of study. A full course was outlined for interested students, and in 1891, the two members of the graduating class were engineering students. Courses were taught in civil and mechanical engineering, and the electrical engineering course was taught through the Department of Physics, known for a short while as the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. By 1900, enrollment in the engineering course had grown to such an extent that separate departments for civil, mechanical and electrical engineering were established.

In 1924, all departments of South Dakota State University were arranged into five units known as divisions, precursors of the modern colleges. The Engineering Division offered coursework in electrical, mechanical or civil engineering leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. Physics and mathematics were in the general science division, and the Agriculture Division administered agricultural engineering. All later moved to the Engineering Division and are today part of the College of Engineering.

Decreasing enrollment in engineering courses at the university, combined with ongoing financial problems, led the South Dakota Board of Regents to make an unpopular recommendation in 1976. Known around campus as the Engineering Controversy, the proposal recommended that only one engineering school, to be housed at the School of Mines in Rapid City, was needed in South Dakota. The plans for carrying out the proposal went far, but the proposal was never carried out. Nevertheless, it caused a major stir both in and out of Brookings, and resulted in a renewed interest in the College of Engineering.

In 1986, the College of Engineering established a new program to serve South Dakota. The Engineering and Environmental Research Center was established to serve the university, citizens and industry of South Dakota through a variety of programs. Among the programs established was the Engineering Extension Service, which formalized the extension work of the college. Also included are the Office of Remote Sensing, the South Dakota Local Transportation Assistance Program, the University/Industry Technology Service and the Manufacturing Extension partnership.

Jerome J. Lohr came to South Dakota State University in the fall of 1955 to pursue a degree in civil engineering. The College of Engineering has produced entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders in the profession throughout its 132-year existence. Yet Jerry Lohr has no peer in terms of his overall and lasting impact of the College - as a donor, fundraiser and advocate.

SDSU decided to honor Lohr's profound role in transforming the college by recommending that it be named the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering. SDSU's recommendation was ratified by a committee of the South Dakota Board of Regents, and then accepted by the full Board on June 20, 2013.

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Scope and content

This collection is composed of materials that pertain to the college. Folders contain booklets, programs, brochures, correspondence, minutes, periodicals, reports, posters, and photographs.

A large portion of the material deals with Engineering and Science Research at South Dakota State University. This material consists of summary sheets, reports and correspondence and is arranged by researcher name. This material covers research for engineering, chemistry, pharmacy, and agronomy.

Also included is biographical information on prominent persons related to the College of Engineering, including, Harold M. Crothers, Harry Solberg, Halvor Solberg, and Guy Lee Boyden.

A file on the engineering controversy of the early 1970s dealing with the possible transfer of the College of Engineering from South Dakota State University to another institution in the state. This material consists mainly of clippings, but also included is correspondence and notes.

Other items of note include several files of brochures on the various programs offered by the college, the Impulse magazine, a periodical published by the college featuring events and happenings in the college, and file dealing with the history of the College of Engineering at South Dakota State University.

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This collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

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South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

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  • English

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    UA 8

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