Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Dr. Valentine T. McGillycuddy performed several important roles during the early days of Black Hills settlement.
Dr. Valentine T. McGillycuddy performed several important roles during the early days of Black Hills settlement.
December 30, 2015

IN HISTORY: SDSM&T One of Valentine McGillycuddy's Leadership Tenures

After he tended to the mortally wounded Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, but before he became mayor of Rapid City, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy was named president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology on Dec. 23, 1893. 
 
The Rapid City college notes that he "resigned from the Board (of Trustees) to assume the leadership of the campus during a difficult time in the school's history," but does not offer details about what the trouble was. McGillycuddy's predecessor served for just four months.  

During his time on campus, the first football team was formed and a campus improvement project was initiated that included planting of shade trees and lawns. McGillycuddy was the first leader to officially be called "president."
 
McGillycuddy led SDSM&T until 1897, and by then he had been elected to a two-year term as mayor of Rapid City (1896-1898).
 
McGillycuddy's storied biography includes his travel to help map the Black Hills in 1875, which led him to become the first white man to climb to the top of Harney Peak. He is credited with discovering the warm mineral springs at Hot Springs. 
 
He served as an Indian agent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, as surgeon general for the state of South Dakota and as a scout for the governor at Wounded Knee in 1890.
 
He died in October 1940 at age 90 in California. A plaque marks where his ashes are buried atop Harney Peak.

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