The mining and minerals industry has been and remains supportive of mining and mineral engineering education. There is a clear recognition that neither can exist without the other. Ivan B. Rahn, when Manager-Manpower Services, CONSOL, was a major part of this relationship. Significantly, and substantially different from his industrial colleagues, Mr. Rahn recognized that industry could have a say in the development of educational quality and, hence, the quality of graduates available for hire by industry. In pursuit of quality, he alone amongst his colleagues, attended every major SME meeting where education was on the agenda, provided input and insight into the educational needs of industry, did statistical analyses of mining and mineral engineering enrollments and graduation rates, supported the accreditation activities of ABET, and provided the social environment in which faculty could come together as a community. Indeed, there were some younger faculty members who came to believe that CONSOL’s support for education and the social reception for engineering educators was a permanent fixture. Mr. Rahn’s well-deserved retirement at the beginning of 1996 was accompanied by a rude realization that so much of what had come to be expected was entirely dependent upon him. The creation of the award and the naming of it for him were in clear recognition of his contributions to quality engineering education in the fields for which SME has responsibility: geological, mineral, mineral processing, and mining engineering. Making him the first recipient of the award was a most fitting gesture.
Luckily, the example that he set has been taken up by others although none has done it with the totality that he showed. Dr. Ashworth took up the responsibility for data gathering and statistical analyses of enrollments and graduation rates. Many industrial members of SME started to attend the education meetings and the most dedicated of them became ABET program evaluators and, even, members of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Over the years, the Rahn Award has been given to a number of industry-based members of SME. Their participation in the pursuit of engineering-educational quality can be attributed to Ivan B. Rahn.