NANCY WARD DUNHAM EE SCHOLARSHIPEstablished By:
Criteria: Fr-Sr; one award; small, rural SD community; pref to any or all 1) Wessington Springs or area 2) ACT 20-23 3) varsity athletics; may receive more than 1 yr w/at least 2.5 GPA (if student graduates mid semester, OK to give all in one semester.)
Background: Nancy Ward Dunham established the Nancy Ward Dunham Scholarship fund with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Foundation. This endowment fund will provide the necessary dollars to award the Nancy Ward Dunham Scholarship annually. The recipient must be an electrical engineering major. Preference will be given to any or all of the following: a) students from Wesstington Springs or the surrounding area, b) students whose ACT scores are between 20 and 23, and c) students who participate in varsity athletics.
Nancy Ward’s childhood was spent on a farm near Woonsocket, attending rural grade school (skipped the third grade), and Wessington Springs junior and senior high school (skipped one grade of high school), and entered the School of Mines in 1953 at age 16. She was the first female graduate of the Electrical Engineering department, during the years when homework was done at the Cheerio and Anchor. Being the only female in her class (one of three in the entire school) was the “norm” for her, as her three older brothers had also been Miners. Nancy was also the only drum majorette the Mines ever had, leading the band in M-Day parades and at football games.
Nancy married George Dunham (ME56) in December 1955, while they were both still in school. After graduation, they stayed in Rapid City and worked for an architect/engineering firm and then in 1960 they founded Dunham Associates, Consulting Engineers, with subsequent branch offices in Bismarck, Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, Casper, Reno and Las Vegas. During her 40 years in the business, in addition to being “Mother Dunham” to 100’s of employees, she was Director of Electrical Engineering and served on the Board of Directors. She is also a co-founder of SymCom, Inc., and Rapidata, Inc.
As a registered Professional Engineer in numerous states, Nancy’s accomplishments include the design of electrical systems for more than 1,500 building projects in the Upper Midwest.
Nancy has served on the Rapid City Club for Boys board 1986–2000 (past president), and YMCA Board
1986-present (past chairman), Rapid City Building Code Board of Appeals, Planning Variance Board and Sign Code Variance Board, and was president of the SDSM&T Hardrock Club Executive Committee (1986-88). She chaired the SDM Alumni 5-year Reunion Committee (Tunnel Activities) from 1960 to 2000, and remembers when the Tunnel Activities were actually held in the tunnels below the campus.
Since retiring in 1997, she winters in Maui, spends Septembers in England, and the rest of the year she volunteers her time to run rummage sales for the Club for Boys, selling the overflow of donated items from their Thrift Store, and does a little fundraising for the YMCA.