Alan and Mary Kay Hann show their gratitude to SD Mines with scholarship

Alan (MetE 69) and Mary Kay Hann have been longtime supporters of the School of Mines and Technology and the SD Mines Foundation. They established the Alan and Mary Kay Hann Scholarship, which is awarded to an incoming freshman student from western SD with preference to a student from Harding county.
Mary Kay and Alan Hann
"The degree I earned from Mines made it possible for a small town kid to get offers from 31 companies across the U.S. I found that the auto, steel, machinery, oil, aircraft, aluminum and others were looking for SD graduates as they brought a pragmatic approach to their work and felt no sense of entitlement. Best of all, I was able to find my future wife who had transferred into the same department as me on the same day. We hope our scholarship will add a bit of a boost to future hard working students," said Alan.

Alan grew up in Buffalo, SD, a small town of around 400 people in the northwestern part of the state. The large county was sparsely populated ranching country. His four-year high school had less than 100 students and a very limited math and science offering. Calculus and foreign language were not offered. "My parents believed in us learning a work ethic, so the summer of second grade, my father bought a lawn mower and said my brother and I were to start a business, pay for the upkeep, obtain the customers and learn what it is like to work for other people," Alan stated. "During the sixth grade, they purchased a small hotel where I learned to clerk, paint, and repair. Branching out for higher pay, I started working at the Texaco station and Ford dealership. By age 16, I was managing the bookkeeping and inventory at the dealerships, later taking on bulk fuel deliveries."

During the college summers, Alan worked at the local bank filling in various positions as the vacation replacement. He originally went into the pre-med program offered at the University of South Dakota but after three semesters he realized he did not have the patience or money to continue. Alan transferred to Mines in the spring of 1966 where his brother, Court Hann (MetE 65), was preparing to graduate. "I liked the small size of the campus and the even smaller group in metallurgical engineering, so I decided that would be a good major for me to pursue," Hann said. He enjoyed participating in Flying Club where he was able to get his license and spend time in the air.

Mary Kay grew up in Grand Junction, CO, where she graduated from high school and attended junior college before enrolling at the University of Colorado Boulder. Alan and Mary Kay have been married for more than 45 years. They have one daughter, Jennie, who was born in Buffalo, SD, and went on to doctorate studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

After graduating from Mines, Alan took a job at IBM Boulder in the engineering department that was responsible for implementing ideas from research and development to the manufacturing floor and getting manufacturing engineering up to speed once the transition was completed. It was there that he met and married his wife who had started at IBM in 1966. After a couple of years in Boulder they were looking for new challenges and Alan transferred to IBM El Paso as a system engineer and Mary Kay moved to the data products division. In 1974, Alan and Mary Kay began the search for something outside of corporate administration. The CEO position opened for the bank in Buffalo, SD, so Alan wrote to the board, applied, and was accepted. After 14 years at the bank, Alan was offered a position to partner with a banker/rancher at a bank in Dickinson, ND, taking over during a troublesome period after the first oil boom and bust in western ND. They later purchased another troubled bank in Bowman, ND, and integrated it into the Dickinson bank. They sold the banks in 1996 to what is now as Wells Fargo.

"I think the strongest thing that Mines taught me was the value of hard work and perseverance. The first year or so was tough, competing with those from larger schools who had much better math and science backgrounds, but by the beginning of the third year, I was able to catch up with some of those who had been coasting a bit. I never gave up. Earning my degree helped me to be very successful throughout my career," Alan said.

Alan retired in 1996 and he and Mary Kay reside in Sante Fe, NM. They enjoy the mountains, great food, people, and culture.