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The magazine for members of the MSU Alumni Association | Spring 2011

In this issue: MSU Breaks Ground on New End Zone MSU Students by the Numbers Coach: Rob Ash’s Successful Career


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MSU Breaks Ground on New End Zone


MSU Students by the Numbers


New Piano: University and Community in Harmony


Coach: Rob Ash’s Successful Career

11 Living the Bozeman Dream


Stunning film earns Jason Burlage coveted grand prize


14 Rhodes Scholar Carts Ambitious Mission

From the President


22 MSU Student Profile: Eric Fisher

Mail Bag


Blue & Gold


23 MSU Alumni Profile: Dora Hugs 25 Videoconference capabilities bring the Pentagon to MSU 26 Entrepreneur Blazes Alternative Energy Path

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Association News


Class Notes



Dear friends, Welcome to spring. Now that I’ve been at MSU for more than a year, I am delighted to say I know firsthand how much there is to look forward to in the spring and summer months in Montana. As we anticipate the second half of the semester, I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss a few notable successes and items of interest, as well as share information about several upcoming events. First, congratulations to the Bobcat football team for winning the Big Sky conference championship last fall. The Bobcats also had a thrilling victory over the Grizzlies in the annual “Brawl of the Wild” game held in November. Congratulations and Go, Cats! You may recall that last fall we celebrated the grand opening of Gallatin College Programs, our renamed one-year and two-year educational programs in Bozeman. Then, in January, the Bozeman City Commission voted unanimously to allocate 1.5 mills, or $121,175, in city reserve funds this year and the same amount in general funds next year to Gallatin College Programs. We are extremely grateful for this support, which will have a wonderful impact on our community. We also welcomed a new provost, Dr. Martha Potvin, to MSU at the beginning of the semester. Dr. Potvin came to us from the University of North Dakota, where she was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Potvin is a wonderful addition to Montana State, and we are fortunate to have such an exceptional administrator joining our team. Finally, MSU will be hosting a number of events this spring, and you are warmly invited to attend. Our annual spring rodeo and Pow Wow, to be held in early April, is always popular and features a number of our talented student-athletes. Also that month, we’ll host our annual Student Research Celebration, where hundreds of MSU students working on undergraduate and graduate degrees will showcase their innovation and inspiration. Gallatin Earth Celebration, set this year for April 17-23, is a great example of a partnership between our university, the City of Bozeman, and local businesses, organizations and individuals. The celebration includes both a fun run and a communitywide clean-up, as well as other educational, outreach and service events. In addition, Bobcat Fest will be held in downtown Bozeman Friday, April 29. This popular annual affair features free food, music and other great giveaways. Many thanks to all of the members of the Bozeman community who help make Bobcat Fest a success. You are great friends to our students. Please join us for any or all of these events. They are terrific and fun ways to spend time with numerous MSU students, alumni and friends. They’re also a wonderful way to build an even stronger Bobcat community. With warm regards,

M S U A L U M N I A S S O C I AT I O N Chair Lois (Fulker) Norby, ’65, Excelsior, Minn. Chair-Elect Bill Perry, ’02, Bozeman Treasurer Rick Reisig, ’82, Great Falls Board of Directors William Breeden, ’65, ’68 M, Anchorage, Alaska Brian Clark, ’82, Kalispell Florence Garcia, ’99 EhD, Bozeman Lea (Anderson) Moore ’93, Miles City Chris Pemberton ’93, Vancouver, Washington Susan (Wallace) Raph, ’82, ’01 M, Shelby Jeanette “Tootie” (Wenzel) Rasmussen, ’60, Choteau Michael Sanderson, ’94, ’96 M, Billings Mark Sherman, ’97, Great Falls Steve Skaer, ’00, ’07 M, Great Falls Toby Stapleton, ’58, ’08 M, Billings Mary Beth (Holzer) Walsh, ’86, Twin Bridges Brant Weingartner, ’98, Irving, Texas Student Alumni Association Nate Carroll, Ekalaka Carl Nystuen, Lakeside M S U A L U M N I S TA F F President and CEO Jaynee Drange Groseth, ’73, ’91 M Associate Director Kerry Hanson, ’93, ’08 M Membership Director Jennifer Ward, ’94 Program Manager Rose (Healy) Hanson, ’82 Administrative Assistant Jennifer Anderson Communications Specialist Megan (Koehler) Walthall, ’06

Vol. 88, No. 1, Spring 2011 E D I TO R I A L B OA R D

Jodie DeLay, ’93, Tracy Ellig, ’92, Jaynee Drange Groseth, ’73, ’91 M, Kerry Hanson, ’93, ’08 M, Julie Kipfer, Suzi Taylor, ’99 M, Megan Walthall, ’06, Caroline Zimmerman, ’83 E D I TO R

Caroline Zimmerman, ’83 C R E AT I V E D I R EC TO R

Ron Lambert


MSU Office of Creative Services P H OTO G R A P H Y by Kelly Gorham, ’95, MSU Photography (unless otherwise noted) The Montana State Collegian (ISSN 1044-7717) is published four times a year by the Montana State University Alumni Association. Foundation & Alumni Center, 1501 S. 11th Ave., Bozeman, Montana 59717. Periodicals postage paid at Bozeman, Mont., and additional offices.

Waded Cruzado, President, Montana State University

Web address: Postmaster: Send address changes to Montana State Collegian, 1501 S. 11th Ave., Bozeman, MT 59717 • (406) 994-2401 • E-mail: alumni@

On the Cover MSU themed Horizon plane on its inaugural arrival at Gallatin Field. Photo by Kelly Gorham.

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MSU The Collegian magazine welcomes letters from alumni and friends of MSU. Send them to or MSU Alumni Association, P.O. Box 172940, Bozeman, MT 59717-2740. Dear Kerry and the Alumni Association, I would like to thank you for awarding me an Alumni Legacy Scholarship for the upcoming school year. The generosity you have shown not only helps fund my education, but instills a strong pride in my university. Knowing that the Alumni Association is there to support past, present and future Bobcats tells me that no matter where I end up, there will be an MSU alumni group ready to make me feel at home. Thanks again for the scholarship, and all of the hard work you do. In Blue & Gold, Emily Linker, Bozeman, Mont. Dear MSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, It is my great honor to accept this magnanimous scholarship, which you have chosen to award me. I sincerely thank you, and I assure you that I shall continue to strive for academic excellence both this current semester, and in the future. I am very much enjoying my time in the honors program here, and I am looking forward to four full years of deep intellectual discovery, and an all around good time. Once again, my warmest and most sincere thank you to you all. Sincerely, Jerrod Maddio Dear Jaynee, Thank you so much for including me in the 2010 MSU Homecoming festivities. Enjoying the celebration of the weekend and “Chuck’s Alumni Achievement Award” was a lot of fun and much appreciated. Your devotion to MSU and its alumni is cherished. Sincerely, Janie Karnop Bozeman, Mont.

Hi Jaynee, I just wanted to say that my husband Bill and I enjoyed having the spot to meet alumni in the "cat-ivities" at Homecoming weekend. I hope that the association will continue this idea for future homecoming events. It will be on the agenda earlier the next go around, and should give many alumni a spot to plan to gather and locate their group and begin the celebration. We really enjoyed the hospitality offered by those who greeted us. Sincerely, Laura, '72, and Bill Bishop Billings, Mont. Dear Jaynee, Kerry, Rose, Jen and the rest of the Alumni Association staff, Thank you so much for your help with Chi Omega’s 90th reunion at MSU. It was a success that’s due to you including us in your Homecoming literature, the alumni tailgate and your help with the football game tickets. You made all of the women feel so welcome. With sincere appreciation, Jodi Peretti Butte, Mont. Jaynee/Kerry/Carina, Just wanted to send along this e-mail that includes a story about a recent MSU graduate that has been able to leverage his experience at MSU to develop a career in the aerospace industry. Ultimately, his work as an undergraduate with NASA has lead him into a career with SpaceX (a company working to privatize a lot of NASA). Needless to say, a great story of achievement for a MSU/ Montana native. And it goes without saying, comes from a long line of MSU alumni. Barry Jeide Bozeman, Mont. Dear Board of Directors, I have the utmost appreciation towards the Montana State University Alumni Association Board of Directors for awarding me the James R. Freeborn Memorial Scholarship. Words cannot describe my pleasure and relief

after reading your letter. This fine scholarship has given me some peace of mind regarding finances for the next semester. Sincerely, Robby Carmody Dear Jaynee, Thank you so much for the $1,500 Alumni Association Scholarship. It is greatly appreciated and takes loads of pressure off my financial situation. It will be used towards my degree in agricultural business. I hope to return to eastern Montana where I grew up and be of assistance to the farmers and ranchers in the area. To reach this goal, I have an internship with USDA-NRCS. When I finish school, I will be helping implement conservation in land use and finding money-saving alternatives for rural folks. Thank you again for your investment in me. Alix Wittmayer Jennifer, Kerry and Crew, Thank you so much for hosting us again in the Alumni Sky Suite at the football game. We had a fantastic time watching the CATS beat UNC and visiting with lots of old friends, and new ones, too. We so appreciate your hospitality and generosity in sharing the great facility. We look forward to seeing you all in the future. Warmly, Kim, Bob, Carl and Andy Nystuen Lakeside, Mont. Dear Jaynee, On behalf of my fellow students at the Leadership Initiative, I feel honored to thank you for your generous contribution to the 2010 MSU Leadership Summit. The event was a huge success. Since the Summit, I have continuously heard from students how significantly they have been impacted and inspired to do more with their time here. The Summit would not have been possible without your support. As always, thank you for your support of student leadership at MSU. Warmly, Sasha Dingle

When you hear of an accomplishment by an MSU graduate, please let us know. Spring 2011 | 3


MSU alum and successful businessman gives more than $3 million to College of Business Community Engagement Recognition MSU was recently awarded The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s engagement classification, which recognizes MSU’s commitment to teaching that encourages volunteer service in communities and the spreading of knowledge that benefits the public. MSU was commended by the Carnegie Foundation president for “excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

A Montana State University alumnus who has established one of the largest retail furniture companies in the U.S. announced in December that he will give more than $3 million to MSU’s College of Business.

The gift from Jake Jabs, ’52 VocAg, president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse based in Denver, is one of the largest gifts ever given to Montana State University and the second gift of this size made to the College of Business. “This gift, from a man who grew up in a small town in Montana, will have an impact on generations of students from Montana and elsewhere,” said Dan Moshavi, dean of the College of Business. “It will pave Jake Jabs the way for thousands of MSU students to hone their entrepreneurial skills.” Moshavi said that the gift will be earmarked for the newly renamed Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West, sustaining it for years to come. A portion of the gift will be used immediately to provide entrepreneurshiprelated services and learning opportunities for students, such as one-on-one mentoring and coaching and hosting entrepreneurs in residence. In addition, a separate fund has been established to provide scholarships to College of Business students studying entrepreneurship. The college plans to develop further curricular and professional opportunities for entre-

preneurship students through the center, as well as provide computers, video conferencing equipment and other technological tools for entrepreneurship-oriented initiatives. The gift will also be used to provide professional development and research opportunities for

“With his gift, Jake Jabs is helping other Montana kids follow their dreams and become successful entrepreneurs in their own right,” Cruzado added. “Entrepreneurship is one of the important engines driving the nation’s economy.” Jabs hopes his gift will pro-

entrepreneurship faculty. MSU President Waded Cruzado said the gift will be used to satisfy a pressing need. Since its creation in 2003, the Center for Entrepreneurship has become so popular with students that its current offerings, including the Alderson Program in Entrepreneurship, have reached capacity. “Mr. Jabs’ gift could not have come at a more opportune time,” Cruzado said. “It provides the necessary financial strength and flexibility that will allow the College of Business to expand its entrepreneurship classes and better meet the needs of our students and communities.

vide opportunities for students to receive a strong education so that they can compete well in a global marketplace. “I think the entrepreneurship center opens doors,” he said. “It makes students feel like there are other opportunities out there where they could be an entrepreneur, also.” “On behalf of Montana State University and the College of Business, I would like to thank Mr. Jabs for his incredibly generous and selfless gift to his alma mater,” Cruzado said. “We understand that there are many entities that Mr. Jabs could have given to, and we are honored that he chose us.” —Anne Cantrell

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Study: MSU contributes more than 13,500 jobs and $1 billion to state’s economy Montana would have 13,500 fewer jobs and more than $1 billion less in personal income if Montana State University’s four campuses and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station did not exist, according to a recently released economic impact report. The report also highlights the value of a college degree: Montana citizens with a bachelor’s degree will earn $569,000 to $814,000 more over their lifetime than those holding only a high school diploma. The report was commissioned by MSU to measure its impact on Montana’s economy. It is the most complete study ever done on the university, covering its campuses in Bozeman, Billings, Havre and Great Falls as well as the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, which conducts agricultural research in centers across the state. The report’s research and analysis was done by Patrick Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, a research center within the University of Montana’s School of Business Administration. Barkey did a similar economic analysis for the Missoula campus of UM in March, 2010, however, the UM and MSU analyses used slightly different models and their results cannot be compared. Despite the differences, the results clearly show that the operation of the Montana university system is a complementary force for economic advancement in the state of Montana, the MSU report states. One of the key findings of the report is the value a college

degree has in boosting a person’s lifetime earnings. A 25-year-old Montana man with a four-year college degree will enjoy, on average, earnings over his working life that are worth $814,000 more than he would realize with only a high school degree. For a woman, the extra earnings amount to $569,000 on average. “Evidence from this study suggests that college is critical for the future economic status of individuals,” the report states.

The report also highlights the value of a college degree: Montana citizens with a bachelor’s degree will earn $569,000 to $814,000 more over their lifetime than those holding only a high school diploma.

tem are a net gain for the state after factoring out state support and resident student expenses, including tuition and spending. “The university system provides a powerful boost to the state economy,” Barkey said. For the state as a whole, the presence of MSU increases annual wages across Montana an average of $1,087. Additionally, MSU generates $253 million in state tax revenue, which means the state receives $2.60 in tax revenues for every $1.00 of tax support. And finally, Montana is the beneficiary of $349 million annually in investment spending thanks to MSU. “Bottom line, the university produces a far greater economic benefit for Montana than the investment put in by the state,” Barkey said. —Tracy Ellig

Sundance Premier A film made by former MSU film students Dusty Bias, EX ’01, Ashley Martin Bias, ’01 MTA, Jeremy Clark, ’00 MTA, and Darren P. Leis, ’01 MTA, premiered at the prestigious 2011 Sundance Film Festival. “Prairie Love,” a quirky love story set in North Dakota, was one of 118 films selected from 10,000 submissions to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and one of just 40 narrative feature films accepted. Sundance is the largest film festival in the U.S.

MSU has a combined 13,511 enrollment of nearly 22,000 Montana students being jobs served at four $1 billion campuses in personal and through MSU’s Statewide Economic Impact income Internet-delivered $2.60 in tax courses. The results of the revenues for every analysis measured the $1 of tax support university’s contribution related to five key areas for which data were available: university operations, research expenditures, increased earnings of graduates, as well as spending of out-ofView the full Economic state visitors and nonresident Impact Report at student off-campus spending. The premise of the study was to compare the actual economy with a hypothetical economy in which the university does not exist. The 13,500 jobs created by the MSU sys-

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No bones about it Paleontologist Pat Leiggi has received the Gregory Award, an international award for outstanding service to the field of paleontology, for his work to protect fossils on federal land. Leiggi, administrative director of paleontology and director of exhibits at MSU’s Museum of the Rockies, is the first person at MSU, the first Montanan and the 22nd paleontologist to receive the Gregory Award from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

MSU takes flight with Horizon aircraft Now Montana State University and Bobcat fans can fly in style. An MSU-themed plane, the eighth and latest addition to Horizon Air’s university-themed aircraft fleet, took to the skies this winter. “This is certainly one of our biggest promotional opportunities to date,” said Julie Kipfer, director of marketing and creative services at Montana State University. “We are excited to increase our exposure and visibility in the Western region where many of our students, alumni and fans live and travel.” The official unveiling flight of the freshly painted Q400 turboprop was from Seattle, Wash. to Bozeman, Mont. on Nov. 30. The plane joins Horizon’s other 52 aircraft and will fly throughout the airline’s route system from British Columbia to Mexico. The Q400 was scheduled for repainting, so the new look is being provided at no cost to the university or additional painting cost to Horizon. The Montana State University Alumni Association hosted a special unveiling celebration at the Gallatin Field Airport to welcome the MSUthemed plane. Alumni and fans were invited to attend the event, which included appearances by Champ, the Cheer Squad, comments from

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President Waded Cruzado and a photo opportunity of the new MSU-themed airplane. Food and beverages were provided courtesy of the Alumni Association and Horizon Airlines. The MSU-themed plane is painted in blue and gold and displays the bobcat head mark on the tail, the collegiate “M” at the back of the plane, Go Cats text on the wings, and the university logo near the front of the plane. Horizon began painting university-themed aircraft in 2007 with Washington and Oregon public universities. The popularity of the planes inspired Horizon to expand the concept to Montana and Idaho last fall. Bobcat merchandise and apparel is available at a number of retailers throughout Montana, and online. MSU fans also have the option to get MSU or Go Cats license plates. Being able to ride in an MSU airplane brings Bobcat pride to a whole new level. Horizon Air serves more than 45 cities in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Baja California Sur (Mexico), and British Columbia and Alberta (Canada). Together, Horizon and Alaska Airlines serve more than 90 cities and are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK). —Lee Cook


Doug Steele accepts MSU external relations vice president duties, retains Extension duties Douglas L. Steele, who directs the Extension service in Montana, was named Montana State University’s vice president for external relations and director of Extension, MSU President Waded Cruzado announced in December. Steele, who has been with the university for seven years, began his duties Jan. 1 and is MSU’s primary liaison for both state and federal legislative matters while retaining his role as director of Extension. In his legislative duties Steele succeeds Cathy Conover, MSU’s vice president for communications and public affairs, who served as the univer- Doug Steele sity’s lobbyist for 13 years prior to her retirement culture from West Texas State University and his Dec. 31. While Steele assumed MSU’s governdoctorate in educational human resource development relations responsibilities, the university is ment from Texas A&M University. He started his conducting a separate search for an executive career with Extension programs in Texas, eventudirector to replace Conover in her duties as head ally becoming a 4-H Youth Development specialcommunications officer. ist and a professor at Texas A&M. Steele moved “As the director of MSU Extension since 2004, to a similar position at Purdue University. he brings with him a wealth of experience workHe was named assistant director of Cooperaing with both state and federal legislative officials tive Extension and State 4-H Program Leader and agencies. He also has a deep understanding at Colorado State University in 1997. In 2004 of our land-grant mission,” he was hired as MSU’s vice Cruzado said when she made provost and director of Exten“As the director of MSU Extension the appointment. sion, which has offices in all since 2004, he brings with him a Cruzado said reassigned du- wealth of experience working with 56 Montana counties and five ties has reduced the number of both state and federal legislative Indian reservations in the state. MSU vice president positions He chaired the search for new officials and agencies. He also by one, as Steele’s new assignMSU Provost Martha Potvin has a deep understanding of our ment coincided with Cruzado and was a member of the search land-grant mission.” formally taking on the duties committee that recommended —President Waded Cruzado of the former MSU vice presiCruzado for her position. He dent of inter-campus affairs. has already represented the Cruzado will coordinate university affairs among Extension service during Montana legislative MSU’s four campuses in Bozeman, Havre, Great budget hearings. He has also worked with the Falls and Billings. Those duties were formerly Montana congressional delegation in Washington, performed by Rolf Groseth, who recently was D.C., working on funding and program concerns selected to be the chancellor of MSU-Billings, for Montana. and his former position was eliminated. “I am excited about this opportunity and the Steele has more than 31 years experience at direction that MSU is going under the leadership four land-grant institutions as well as national of President Cruzado,” Steele said. “We are forand regional leadership roles in Extension and ser- tunate that MSU has an outstanding reputation, vice to the MSU campus. A native of Texas, Steele and I look forward to continuing our important graduated from Panhandle State University in work with constituents, stakeholders and elected Goodwell, Okla., with degrees in animal science officials to address the higher education goals for and agribusiness. He has a master’s degree in agri- the state.” —Carol Schmidt

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Building Awareness MSU’s School of Architecture was among five university architecture programs featured in the December 2010 issue of Architectural Record magazine. The magazine, cited three MSU projects: the Khumbu Climbing School, a sustainable building in Phortse, Nepal where Sherpas learn safe climbing skills; the renovation of an igherm (or grain storage building) in Zawiya Ahansal, Morocco; and the Hyalite Pavilion, a structure on the Hyalite Reservoir in the Gallatin National Forest, south of Bozeman. That project won a 2010 AIA Montana Honor Award.


MSU student wins first place in a national science and engineering competition A Montana State University student who grew up on a ranch between Cutbank and Browning, Mont., beat out students from across the country to win first place in a national science and engineering competition recently. Jordan Kennedy, a mechanical engineering sophomore and first generation descendent of Blackfeet, won first in both the oral and poster presentation at the National American Indian Science and Engineering Society

MSU mechanical engineering student Jordan Kennedy

(AISES) conference in Albuquerque, N.M., in November. It’s very rare for a student to win both national awards,” said Marjorie Old Horn, director of American Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO) at MSU. Kennedy was recruited to MSU to study engineering by EMPower (Engineering Minority Program). EMPower encourages the involvement of women and minorities in the field of engineering. Kennedy spent her first summer interning with the Western Transportation Institute and then her first year in engineering with the Designing Our Community/EMPower program where she received a scholarship.

After a couple of successful semesters Kennedy added an AIRO scholarship to her funding sources. AIRO is a consortium of Montana's seven Tribal Colleges and MSU dedicated to providing opportunities for American Indian students in career fields where they are significantly underrepresented. She is also a McNair Scholar, one of 25 MSU undergraduates who are either first-generation college students, low-income or traditionally underrepresented minorities who have demonstrated strong academic potential and are committed to attending graduate school and pursuing an advanced degree. As part of the MSU McNair program, students are given financial support for summer projects and paired with a faculty mentor. Kennedy is working with Jennifer Brown, assistant professor in chemical and biological engineering, to study the liquidity and solidity of gels— scientifically known as rheology. “Jordan is really motivated to take initiative and generate her own ideas,” Brown said. “She analyzes, thinks in depth and comes up with independent ideas.” Kennedy is working with two polysaccharides—a class of carbohydrates—that when mixed together form a gel that is stronger than any one component and that changes properties when heated or cooled. Kennedy and Brown combined xanthan gum and locust bean gum to create something entirely different than the sum of the parts. The property of mixing two components to create one with different properties is one

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of the reasons they’re useful, according to Brown. “We haven’t worked with this system in our lab before,” said Brown. “Jordan is getting the procedures down and making the measurements repeatable so we can move on to the next stage of the work.” The next stage takes place this semester when Kennedy will be adding nanoparticles to gels, which is of interest in modeling how drugs are dispersed in medicine. Understanding gel parameters will also aid in designing tissue scaffolds, where the gel is seeded with cells and serves as a support for tissue regeneration. Material properties like stiffness can be tuned to accommodate different tissue types or possibly encourage the development of a certain cell type from stem cells. “I had no idea what rheology was when I started,” Kennedy said. “I wanted to get started in research and I learned as I went along. It turned out to be something I am really interested in.” In addition to her two first place wins at the AISES conference, she also took home an internship. During a career fair held in conjunction with the conference, Kennedy was offered a summer internship with GE Healthcare in Milwaukee. Kennedy credits much of her success to the doors that opened for her once at MSU. “I’ve gotten so much out of coming to MSU,” Kennedy said. “There are so many opportunities, such as undergraduate research, that you wouldn’t get a bigger school. And the faculty are great, both in research and in classes.” —Melynda Harrison


MSU earns top spot on 2011 Peace Corps Top Colleges Rankings Montana State University ranks number 18 on Peace Corps’ 2011 rankings for those colleges and universities with enrollments between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates. It is the first time the university has been on the rankings since 2007. There are currently 25 MSU undergraduate alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers, a 25 percent increase from last year. “For the last 50 years, colleges and universities across our country have been an integral part of the Peace Corps family, from developing young leaders, to hosting trainings and teaching the importance of lifelong learning,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. “In 1961, President Kennedy created the Peace Corps in response to the passion of uni-

versity students, and today we continue to be inspired by the enthusiasm, dedication and creativity of the thousands of Americans now serving overseas. Colleges instill a commitment to public service among their students and share our belief that, together, we can work to make the world a better place.” Since 1961, 427 MSU alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers. Peace Corps volunteers live, learn and work with a community overseas for 27 months, providing technical assistance in six program areas: education; youth and community development; health; business, information and communications technology; agriculture and environment. MSU has received other national recognition for its commitment to teaching that

encourages volunteer service in communities and the spreading of knowledge that benefits the public. In January, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded MSU its community engagement classification. MSU’s application highlighted 15 university-community partnerships that ranged from Engineers Without Borders at MSU, a student-driven organization that brings clean drinking water to remote schools in western Kenya, to MSU’s Campus Corps, which provides students with service learning experiences that are integrated into course content, but are also meeting pressing community needs. —Melynda Harrison

MSU Ethicats win second place in national championship A Montana State University team that debates ethical questions won second place in the National Ethics Bowl Championship this spring. The MSU Ethicats defeated 30 teams during a grueling 14-hour day that ended at 11 p.m. March 3, said team adviser Kristen Intemann, assistant professor of philosophy in MSU’s Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies. The championship was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Thirty-two teams from eight regions across the country competed in the national contest, with Central Florida University winning first place, Intemann said. Other teams came from Dartmouth College, the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Facing MSU in the semi-finals was Whitworth College, a former national championship

team that MSU defeated in November during the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl. “I should stress that it is incredibly impressive that the Northwest Region had both of its top teams in the semifinals, which tells you just how competitive our region is,” Intemann commented. Members of the MSU Ethicats who competed in the national contest were Matt Smith of Helena, an MSU senior in philosophy and business; Griffin Stevens of Bozeman, a senior in mechanical engineering; Joe Thiel of Idaho Falls, Idaho, a junior in chemical engineering; Madeleine Pike of Washington, D.C., a senior in philosophy and English; and Shelby Rogala of Darby, a junior in history/SETS. The alternate was Sam Foulkes of Bozeman, a philosophy major. MSU’s team debated several issues, including the ethics of an Arizona immigration law and the ethics of surgically altering dog’s vocal chords to keep them from barking. —Evelyn Boswell

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Breaking the Four-Minute Mile Patrick Casey, a sophomore at MSU from Laurel, Mont., broke the four-minute mile and ran the fastest mile ever run in Montana at a race held in February at MSU. Casey clocked in at 3:59.76 in the mile run at the MSU Dual Invitational in Worthington Arena.

MSU breaks ground on new End Zone BY PH I L L IP LU EBK E

“This was an ambitious project,” Cruzado said before thanking the Quarterback Club, the Montana Board of Regents, MSU students, the MSU Foundation, and more than 700 donors who came together to support the project, “and we dared to call it ‘EZ.’”

President Cruzado and members of the Quarterback Club break ground for the stadium expansion, seen in the above rendering.


he calendar read “This was an ambi“January,” yet there tious project,” Cruzado they were—hundreds said before thanking of people decked out in the Quarterback Club, blue and gold—filing the Montana Board into Bobcat Stadium in of Regents, MSU the early afternoon sun students, the MSU along with football playFoundation, and more ers, cheerleaders and even than 700 donors who a big, furry mascot. Yes, the college football came together to support the project, “and season is over, but that didn’t keep Bobcat we dared to call it ‘EZ.’” fans from flocking to the Montana State Steve Barrett, of Bozeman, who is a University campus to celebrate groundbreak- member of the Board of Regents, called the ing for the biggest expansion project at uprising of community and student support Bobcat Stadium in years. for the project “heartwarming” and said that The $10 million Bobcat Stadium End approval of the project was an easy decision Zone Project will feature a new grandstand for the Regents to make, when they saw all wrapping around the south end zone and the parts of it come together. adding 5,200 seats, taking the stadium’s Commissioner of Higher Education capacity above 17,000. Sheila Stearns echoed Barrett’s and CruWhile the temperature was mild, spirit zado’s remarks and told the crowd, “You’ve was high, fueled by the excitement and got optimism, enthusiasm, pragmatism and anticipation the new end zone project has moxie. Today is a demonstration of that.” brought to the campus and the community. MSU Head Football Coach Rob Ash, In her remarks, MSU President Waded who received a standing ovation as he stepped Cruzado outlined four objectives for the to the podium, took the opportunity to project, including increased student access, thank his players and coaches, and talked increased affordable access for the communi- about the football program’s success in the ty, enhancement of the game day experience, classroom, in the community and on the field. and additional scholarship and financial supHe praised Cruzado’s leadership as port for MSU Athletics. “charismatic and forceful,” and said that Collegian | 10

because she had said early in the campaign that failure was not an option, “success was the result.” After the speakers, MSU’s mascot, Champ, helped Cruzado into a nearby excavator. To the delight of the crowd, she fired it up, swung the arm back and forth, then took a couple of good-sized chunks out of the ground with the bucket “I was really excited to run that machine, but not nearly as excited as I am for what this project means for our students, our alumni and our community,” Cruzado said. It is estimated that the project will provide more than 200 jobs through the course of the construction, which is expected to be completed by the first home football game on September 10. According to MSU Foundation President & CEO Michael Stevenson, the success of the EZ Campaign and market conditions have given the project oversight committee the flexibility to switch to higher-quality construction materials where appropriate. Initially, the plans called for aluminum grandstands. Now, longer-lasting and more durable pre-cast concrete risers will be used, creating a more permanent feel and lowering maintenance costs in the long run.

Living the dream in Bozeman

Engineering Grad Makes it Work

Autopilot’s prototype developed for Bozeman Reel Company



n the trendy northeast corner of Bozeman, a new company, started by a Montana State University alumnus, designs and manufactures prototypes for companies from around the country. Matt McCune, ’02 ME, started Autopilot in his garage in 2006 and felt like he was taking a hit financially to stay in Bozeman. He wanted to create a company that challenged him and felt substantial, while still earning a good living. And he wanted to be near the mountains and recreational opportunities that drew him from Pennsylvania to Bozeman in the first place. He started design consulting from his living room, but felt limited by his lack of machinery to bring his designs to fruition. Soon, his garage filled with manufacturing machines and his skis and bikes were relegated to the shed. He hired a bookkeeper and a machinist. His kitchen became a break room, the garage a machine shop and the living room an office. “It was getting out of control,” McCune remembered. “I was on a mission to get out of the house.” Serendipitously, he stumbled on the shop Autopilot now inhabits and recently bought the rest of the building. Autopilot staff design and develop products and then build the prototypes in their machine shop. Due to the proprietary nature of many of Autopilot’s projects

and confidential spirit of the relationships between Autopilot and its customers, the actual products can’t be discussed. What is unusual about the company is that it has all the tools necessary to take an idea from the blackboard to finished product under one roof. Autopilot is as innovate in its business layout as it is in product development. It has what McCune calls a “flat” structure. “Other than me, everyone has as much input as anyone else,” McCune said. “I hire smart people and let them do their job and let them pursue whatever opportunities come up.” For instance, when there was downtime this fall, McCune suggested they work on their own project as a group. They designed and built high-end fishing reels and are perched to launch a new enterprise—Bozeman Reel Company. “I wanted to create a culture of change, innovation and openness,” McCune said. “We teach everyone the whole process so you don’t have an engineer sitting alone in a cubicle.” To that end, McCune gives his project managers loose rein. They own the project from start to finish. Many of those project managers and other employees are MSU grads. “I’ve had really good luck hiring engineers right out of MSU,” McCune said. “I hired three MSU grads as interns when I was working in my house and they are still working here.” Fall 2010 |


McCune credits the College of Engineering’s senior design class—where all graduating engineering students must design and build a significant project—for giving his incoming employees real world experience. He also appreciates the engineering curriculum’s incorporation of more business skills. Seven of Autopilot’s 12 employees have graduated from MSU, but the university isn’t just a place to hire engineers. It is a resource for McCune. “I have a good relationship with a lot of my professors and can use them as a sounding board or to ask questions,” McCune said. “I’m now thinking about how Autopilot can give back to MSU and be more involved in the program.” Mechanical and industrial engineering professor Kevin Cook remembers McCune as a “very motivated, high energy” student who was determined to start his own business and make it work. McCune speaks to students in Cook’s freshman/senior seminar every semester. “Matt tells his story and it is very well received,” Cook said. “There are always a few students who want to know what they have to do to work for him.” McCune is helping other engineers who want to live the Bozeman dream, while still being able to afford a life. “I wanted to create a company I would enjoy working at, and I think I’ve done that.”

Sharing three decades of passion for teaching science and technology BY SU Z I TAY L OR


rowing up on a central Montana ranch and later in Lewistown, Mont., Suzie (Hedlun) Flentie, ‘80 ElEd M, gravitated towards anything related to science and history. She loved horses, the outdoors and stories about Buffalo Bill, and was captivated by the NASA space program. When Flentie came to Montana State University in 1976, she envisioned becoming a science teacher, but a high school advisor told her she wouldn’t be hired unless she could coach basketball or football. Instead of science, Flentie chose elementary education, earning her bachelor’s degree and library science minor in 1980. She landed her first job teaching kindergarten in Lewistown, her hometown, and later taught third and sixth grades. After completing her master’s degree in 1990, Flentie became involved in several federally funded science and technology education programs, and when a science teaching job opened in 1998, she jumped at the opportunity. “I have always loved science,” said Flentie. “Ironically, my favorite class as I was going through school is the class I am now teaching: eighth grade science at Lewistown Junior High School.” Through 31 years of teaching, Flentie has shared her passion for science and technology with students and fellow teachers. In her early years, she incorporated computers into the classroom and developed an outdoor learning environment at a nearby creek. She has helped shape Montana curricula, has

presented to fellow teachers nationally and internationally, and is known statewide for her leadership roles in the Montana Council for Computers and Technology in Education and other professional associations. Flentie recently completed a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Experience for Teachers (RET) at MSU, a program that has given real-world research experience to many Montana science teachers. Flentie said it is exciting to see young girls planning careers in science, and cited a 2003 book, Pulp Physics, in which author Richard Berenzden postulates that the first people to set foot on Mars are likely sitting in our classrooms right now. “Wherever they are, I hope they’re getting the inspiration and confidence they need,” she said. At MSU, Flentie was one of the Bobcat Track and Field team’s first female distance runners following the passage of Title IX in 1972. “It was an honor for me to be involved with the beginning stages of women’s cross country and track at MSU,” said Flentie. “I was proud to be a Bobcat athlete. My teammates were amazing women, and I’m still friends with many of them.” Flentie said her MSU coach, Neil Elieson, greatly influenced her own decision to become a cross country and track coach. Flentie said she chose MSU partly because her older sisters did, but said, “I honestly believed it was the best college in Montana and I never considered going out of state.” MSU has become a family tradition: both Flentie’s Spring 2011 | 13

children and all of her sisters’ children have become Bobcats. At one time, eight cousins were enrolled simultaneously. In 2006, Flentie came back to MSU for the RET program. She spent several summers researching magnetic nanostructures with physics professor Yves Idzerda and then worked with MSU’s Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials and Montana NSF EPSCoR to develop classroom resources for teachers. “Having this opportunity to work in the lab and be mentored by brilliant physics professors, postdocs and doctoral students has been a very fulfilling experience for me as an educator,” said Flentie. “My students have also benefitted because they can see how class projects relate to real-world research and applications of science.” “It was nice working with someone who had a real interest in science, as well as the maturity of someone who’s been teaching a long time,” said Idzerda. He added that the purpose of the RET program is to inspire and reinvigorate teachers while getting them closer to the application of science, but that Flentie took it a step further in considering how the research could be shared with Montana teachers. “Suzie is such a great ambassador for STEM education, which is an important part of our mission in Montana,” said Martha Peters, EPSCoR program director. “She brings a wealth of experience to the projects we’ve worked on, and her excitement for science and teaching is contagious. There is never a shortage of ideas or energy with Suzie.”

Rhodes Scholar charts ambitious mission BY C A ROL SCH M IDT


aty Hansen, ’10 I&ME, whose longheld desire to serve gained focus when she became involved with the efforts of Montana State University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), will have the opportunity to impact water policy on a grander scale as a result of her selection as a recipient of a 2011 Rhodes Scholarship, arguably the most prestigious scholarship in the world. She is one of just 32 U.S. recipients of the Rhodes, given by the Rhodes Trust for advanced study at Oxford University, one of the world’s most distinguished universities. Hansen is currently an MSU graduate student on a Boren Fellowship working on

but ultimately accepted a Presidential Scholarship at MSU. “I came (to MSU) rather ambitious,” Hansen said. “I knew that MSU rewards people who seek opportunities.” While at MSU, Hansen was vice president of ASMSU and active with the Leadership Institute. She found mentors in all corners of the university. “Mike Miles (the retired director of the University Honors Program) emphasized becoming a well-rounded scholar,” Hansen said. Among the courses that inspired her was a politics of food course taught by Linda Young, a professor in political science; a course on war taught by Gordon Britain, a

water resource management in the Negev Desert near the Red Sea. Hansen said that with her selection comes responsibility as well as gratefulness for the team from MSU who supported her nomination and mentored her during her years as a student. “I had eight nomination letters from the most amazing people at MSU who went out of their way to support me,” she said. Hansen said she had excellent academic preparation in Bozeman. She was one of 10 valedictorians her senior year at Bozeman High School. She weighed other schools,

“I’ve had incredible opportunities at MSU,” Hansen said. “I am positive that nowhere else would I have had the breadth and depth of opportunities that I’ve had here.” professor of philosophy; and a course on the origins of the universe team-taught by Miles, paleontologist Jack Horner and astrophysicist Neil Cornish.

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But it was her involvement in MSU’s active chapter of Engineers Without Borders that truly set her on the path that led to the Rhodes Scholarship. Hansen traveled to Kenya to help build groundwater wells in the Khwisero District and later became president of the MSU EWB chapter. She calls learning to build consensus in that organization as her most transformative moment as an undergraduate. “I was transitioned and mentored into a leadership role by the students that came before me, and in turn I mentored a younger generation of leaders that came after me,” Hansen said of EWB. “That’s how you grow a sustainable and successful organization.” Last spring Hansen became the first MSU student to win a Boren Fellowship for graduate study. Hansen returned after the Thanksgiving holiday to the Arava Institute at Kibbutz Kefura in the Negev Desert where she worked on water conservation projects between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While an undergraduate, she also traveled to Mali to work on a program directed by Florence Dunkel, MSU professor of plant sciences and plant pathology. “I’ve had incredible opportunities at MSU,” Hansen said. “I am positive that nowhere else would I have had the breadth and depth of opportunities that I’ve had here.” Hansen said that her Rhodes interviewers asked whether she will return to Montana to work to resolve water issues that impact the West. “I consider Montana home, but I plan to work elsewhere and always return here,” said Hansen, who initially plans to earn a master of science degree in water policy and management from Oxford. “There are water problems here. But there is no one in Montana who has to walk eight hours to get dirty water, the only water available to them. There is no one in Montana who doesn’t have any access to water. And those conditions do exist in the world. It’s important to work to impact the areas where the conditions are most dire.” According to Rhodes Scholar Organization, Hansen is the ninth winner of a Rhodes Scholarship from MSU. Her parents are Patricia, ’75 Zool, ’77 Ed M, and Joseph Hansen, ’77 ESci.


Below Alan Leech, director of the MSU School of Music (seated), and Matthew Savery, musical director of the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra, with the new Steinway


ecurely stashed just offstage at MSU’s Reynolds Recital Hall, a new Steinway concert grand piano symbolizes the synergy between academia and community that is basic to land-grant institutions. Before the instrument’s arrival last September, the piano situation in Bozeman was grim said Alan Leech, director of the MSU School of Music, and Matthew Savery, musical director of the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra. “No one would play the pianos we had,” says Leech. Savery says the Symphony had gone so far as to import rented pianos from Salt Lake City. Two years ago, Leech determined that if he combined the money in Music’s equipment purchase fund with three separate music fundraising accounts set up at various times at the MSU Foundation, “We could start thinking about a new piano. So I asked Matthew if the Symphony could collaborate on raising the money.” Savery chimes in. “Remember, this was 2009. Times were tough. But we treated what Alan had come up with as a matching grant and set out to raise the money.” Somewhat in awe he says, “We raised the whole amount in a matter of weeks.” They raised enough money to buy a Steinway at list price ($128,000), but thanks to “a very good price” from Steinway, there are funds left over to guarantee 10 years’ annual servicing by Steinway plus money for a piano selection team to travel to the


Steinway factory in New York City and choose the instrument. The team consisted of Savery, Leech, MSU piano professor Laurel Yost and Savery’s good friend and occasional Bozeman Symphony guest artist, Jon Nakamatsu, winner of the gold medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn piano competition. Given the price MSU was paying, both Leech and Savery thought Steinway would roll out their five worst pianos. But, says Savery, “They showed us five wonderful instruments. We were choosing between superb and even more superb.” The selection process took most of a day. The collaboration required one instrument that could meet two different needs: a dark, rich sound for recitals and the brilliance to ring out above a symphony orchestra. Savery insists, “That day at the factory was one of the most exciting days of my life!” and Leech adds, “We got red carpet treatment, just as though we’d come from some famous musical center.” “It was thrilling,” Savery says. “We got to listen to Jon and Laurel play for hours until they got it down to two instruments.”

Spring 2011 | 15

“So to help us decide, Steinway fed us lunch and then rolled the pianos out to a larger room so we could hear them in a different environment,” Leech remembers. There were a few small things Yost and Nakamatsu disliked about the piano they finally settled on, so Steinway asked them for a list and fixed those details before they shipped the piano. The instrument traveled from New York to Spokane, Wash., where it spent a week or two acclimating to the dryer, western climate. It made its Bozeman debut on September 25, the Symphony’s season opener, played by guest artist Richard Dowling. On March 5 and 6, Jon Nakamatsu will return to Bozeman to perform for Symphony audiences on the piano he helped choose and they helped purchase. The instrument is owned by the university, which will keep up its insurance, while the Bozeman Symphony does regular tuning and has exclusive use of the piano outside the School of Music. Strict rules govern—for instance, no unusual tuning. And unlike the battered old Steinway, which legally belongs to the MSU student body, the new instrument won’t be carted off to the fieldhouse for pop artists to pound upon. It should last for at least 70 years, the two collaborators promise. Savery stresses, “Collaboration between the university and the community is essential—it’s how we can live in a small community and have a great music culture.”

Each January Rob Ash holds a family reunion.

Head football coach Rob Ash’s successful career defined by loyalty, performance and consistency


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It doesn’t include relatives and it takes place nowhere near his native Iowa or his current home in Montana, but it’s become one of Ash’s favorite times of the year. “It’s very cool,” Rob Ash says of the annual gathering at the American Football Coaches Association Convention of coaches that either played for or coached with Ash, or both. “It started as a gathering of guys connected with the Drake football program (where Ash coached for 18 seasons), but since some of our guys from MSU have moved on we just call it the Ash Reunion.” The event is neither official nor formal, but it portrays as well as anything the values that have guided Ash through his successful 31-year head coaching career. The Ash reunion accentuates loyalty in a business where that trait seems fleeting, and it brings together professionals with commonality in a setting much more focused on individual achievement and success. Mostly, it’s a quiet homage to a head coach that, with quiet class and calming dignity, has built an incredibly successful career. Ash grew up in a Friday Night Lights world far from the plains of Texas and decades before a book by that name shed light on the sometimes-seedy side of high school football in oil country. Ash grew up the son of an Iowa minister whose family became ingrained in each new community he served by following its high school football program. “We would drive for hours to that week’s game,” Ash recalls, “and we knew we were getting close when we could see the lights of that town’s stadium in the distance.” An Academic All-America quarterback at Cornell College in Iowa, Ash cut his coaching teeth as a graduate assistant at his alma mater while simultaneously working as a freelance scout for a local high school football program. He also coached other sports, including tennis, taking lessons from each new assignment. When presented the opportunity to lead his own program he jumped at it, never mind that Juniata sits in the remote hills of Pennsylvania, and that people could barely pronounce its name, much less locate it on a map. (For the record, Juniata College is pronounced joo-neeAW-tuh.) Ash led that school, whose football players often traipsed into the woods on hunting expeditions after practice, to one league championship on the way to becoming its all-time winningest coach before leaving for his native Iowa and a unique challenge at Drake University in Des Moines. There, Ash led Drake to four championships in a conference he helped create—the Pioneer Football League— while helping once-powerful Drake transition from Division III status to Division I-AA, fighting to return for relevance in Big 10 and Big 12 country. While at Drake,

Ash began helping inspire a passion in aspiring young professionals that led them down the football coaching path. “I think Drake is a good canvas for young coaches,” says Bobcat defensive coordinator Jamie Marshall, who played and coached for Ash at Drake. “The way the staff was structured there were always opportunities for younger guys just getting into the profession. It allowed Coach Ash to hire guys without experience, especially former (Drake) players, and then move them up as they gained experience.” The lure of coaching is simple, Marshall said—it provides an outlet for the competitive spirit nurtured in players, Marshall said. “I learned that the coaches (at Drake) seemed to enjoy themselves quite a bit and were able to make a living doing it, so I started exploring that route. You start feeding off of being with the players and staying involved in their lives, but it’s also the competitive nature of football. Whether it’s recruiting or on the field, you’re always competing at something (as a coach).” As cerebral as Ash is in his approach to coaching, the competitive fires never burns far from the surface. “I love to compete,” he says with a smile, “and I love to win. There’s no other feeling like that.” After 18 seasons at Drake, where he remains the school’s all-time wins leader, Ash found a different challenge in the mountains of Montana. “I knew of Montana State’s tradition, I knew the school and the state have a deep love for football, and I knew that kind of passion can translate into success. It was also obvious that teams in the Pioneer Football League (a non-scholarship Division I conference) weren’t going to be able to

“The other championships I won were awesome for the players and coaches and the fans that were close to our program,” Ash said. “But winning a championship here at Montana State was a thrill for so many people across the state, and really across the nation. The passion here is amazing, and this is such a great feeling.” earn bids to the FCS Playoffs, and that was a something I wanted to experience.” Ash’s first three seasons in Bozeman produced many successes and considerable growth for a tradition-rich program, with all things pointing toward a promising 2010 season. But Ash and his staff faced a crucial decision last August—tab returning starting quarterback Cody Kempt to lead the team into the new campaign, a safe decision, or ride with an unproven freshman. When Denarius McGhee won the job, then led the team to a win in the opener and a nearupset of Pac 10 foe Washington State, it was obvious the MSU program had entered a new age. Stringing together a series of wins, many of the heart-stopping variety, the Bobcats found themselves on the brink of a Big Sky Championship in Missoula on November 22. A quarterback by trade who had called his team’s plays during most of his head coaching career, Ash’s teams had twice won championships (both at Drake, both against arch-rival Dayton) with last-play defensive stands.

Spring 2011 | 17

Ash’s personal history repeated itself in Missoula. Senior safety Michael Rider intercepted a Grizzly pass on the game’s last play to preserve the win and seal the championship. That the game’s decisive play was made by Rider was fitting. The former walk-on who became not only a team captain but one of the outstanding leaders Ash said he’s ever coached, personifies much of why Ash has fallen in love with coaching at Montana State. “We love coaching Montana kids,” Ash said. “For Michael to intercept that pass was perfect. He worked so hard, is such a great leader, does all the right things in school and the community. He exemplifies the kind of kid you love to coach, and he embodies what is great about this program and college football.” Ash said that building a family tree of coaches was anything but a plan. “We had a few guys that started with us at Drake as graduate assistants, we were able to move them up when they were ready, and other programs discovered that our coaches were well-prepared to move on to bigger programs. When our players saw former players having success, it become a self-perpetuating thing.” Some day Rider may join the Ash family reunions, but for now Ash is enjoying the championship that his senior captain helped clinch. “The other championships I won were awesome for the players and coaches and the fans that were close to our program,” Ash said. “But winning a championship here at Montana State was a thrill for so many people across the state, and really across the nation. The passion here is amazing, and this is such a great feeling.”

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Spring 2010 | 19

Nike ’Cat



Nico Harrison, ‘96 BioSci, has lived a heady life since playing basketball for Montana State University. But the man who now works for Nike, whose clients include basketball star Kobe Bryant and whose wedding was announced in Jet magazine has hardly forgotten his alma mater. “My degree and education there was huge,” said Harrison. The fact that he not only played basketball, but spent long hours preparing for a future in medicine showed future employers and managers that he had more going for him than basketball skills, Harrison said. They evidenced that he was a hard worker, someone they could take a chance on hiring. “For most jobs, they are going to teach you what they want you to know,” Harrison said. “They want you to have a level of work ethic before they hire you.” Brad Huse, head men’s basketball coach at MSU, said Harrison definitely demonstrated that work ethic at MSU and other qualities that helped him succeed. Huse coached Harrison for two years and still keeps in touch. “He’s got a way with people. Nico really knows how to communicate,” Huse said. “He’s obviously extremely bright.” Harrison played basketball three years for MSU, with the Bobcats winning the Big Sky Championship during his senior year. The 6’5” Harrison, who played small forward,

was known for his strength, toughness and determination. “He never was going to be denied,” Huse recalled. “He was going to outwork you.” After MSU, Harrison played professional basketball in Belgium, Rapids City, S.D., Japan and Lebanon. He then sold pharmaceuticals for Johnson & Johnson. In 2002, he joined Nike where he is now director of basketball sports marketing. He decided to quit playing basketball and get a “real job” after 9/11, Harrison said. He added that he expects to spend the rest of his career involved with basketball, but his time in pre-med was not in vain since it helped get him to where he is today. The bottom line at Nike is whether he carries out his job, Harrison continued. But with a client like Bryant and potential clients who could include any of the professional basketball players in the United States, he travels 80 percent of the time and his tales from the trenches are many. In one, Harrison and Bryant attended the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where Bryant played basketball for the United States. The two decided to watch a volleyball game, but when they wanted to return to the basketball arena, neither one had a pass that would have let them enter relatively unnoticed. As a result, Harrison experienced a rock star reception as he accompanied Bryant through the main entrance. Collegian | 20

Another time, Harrison flew to South Africa to watch the World Cup soccer games with other members of the USA Basketball Team. Tired after a 22-hour flight, they were happy that one of the players knew a South African king from one of the native tribes, Harrison said. The king owned property near the games and allowed them to land a helicopter there. A personal highlight was marrying Darlise Blount in 2008, Harrison said. He and the former producer of the top-rated show on Black Entertainment Television now live near Portland, Ore., with their two young daughters. The area is home to Harrison, headquarters for Nike, and the place where Harrison, as a boy, switched alliances from football to basketball. Harrison’s name still elicits fond comments around MSU, and Huse—who sometimes texts Harrison after spotting him on national television—said Harrison is one of several alumni whose successes he shares with current student-athletes. “He was excellent off the court every bit as much as on the court,” Huse said. “He’s a great example, a great role model.” Photos courtesy Nico Harrison

Stunning film earns Jason Burlage coveted grand prize BY C A ROL SCH M IDT


reams Feliciano says imagined “luck was not and lives with him” when lived in a mounhe missed his tain environment own opportunity are the themes to be educated. behind a film Shortly after he that earned went to the city Jason Burlage, for schooling his ‘95 MTA, the father died, and he coveted Grand had to return to Prize at the 2010 the mountains to Jason Burledge on location in Peru filming “Mi Chacra.” Banff Mountain Photos courtesy J. Burledge support his family. Film Festival. It While Burlage’s could be said that plot also mirrors Burlage’s lens reveals the mountains above the Sacred own story. Valley to be stunning, and the simple lives of “Mi Chacra,” a stunning film about a the people idyllic, Feliciano feels imprisoned Quechua family in Peru, earned Burlage a there. He dreams of a day when he can lead $4,000 award for the top film of the 60 sehis family to immigrate to escape the povlected and screened at the prestigious festival. erty, alcoholism and ignorance of his home. “Mi Chacra” is the story of Feliciano, Burlage also grew up in the small his wife Locrecia and their young son mountain town of Ashton, Idaho. After he Royer, who are subsistence farmers in the graduated from MSU in 1995, he migrated mountains of southern Peru, and Feliciano’s to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. passion to improve his son’s future by leav“I did all sorts of things,” Burlage said, ing their pastoral life. The film follows the including working as a production assistant family for one year as they plant, nurture in commercials and in music. “I spent 10 and harvest their crops with burro and bulls years writing screenplays.” and plow in the way passed down to them To pay the bills, he was in Cuzco, Peru, by generations before. coordinating a summer community service Burlage, who now lives in Bozeman, program for teenagers from around the weaves beautiful images of farming with world when he passed a group of Peruvian scenes of Feliciano’s work as a porter on the porters washing their gear in a river and Inca Trail. Feliciano sees the backbreaking asked a Peruvian friend about them. The work as the path to a better future. friend told Burlage an impassioned story about the indigenous men lured to the difSpring 2011 | 21

ficult job as a way to escape the poverty of their villages. However, instead of bringing prosperity to their homes, often the men were caught in a web of alcoholism, despair, and a resulting erosion of the traditional Quechua life. “I thought the story might make a good film,” Burlage said. He interviewed about 60 porters before he found Feliciano. Burlage spent six months over one year in Mullacas, filming the details of Feliciano’s life. He was the film’s writer, director and cinematographer. Nearly every frame of the film is spectacularly beautiful. Burlage said he and Feliciano had much in common, including that they both grapple with responsibilities to be good fathers to their sons. “We talked for hours and hours,” Burlage said of Feliciano. “It seemed to me that I wanted to live more like him and he wanted to live more like me.” “Mi Chacra” has been screened in about a dozen festivals throughout the U.S. and in Mexico, Taiwan, Brazil and Colombia, Missoula, Mont., Denver, Colo., and New York, resulting in distribution for the 99-minute film through PBS International. Meanwhile, Burlage is now in China shooting his next documentary. “There will be a connection between (the two films),” he said. “It’s fascinating that these similar stories are out there in very different cultures. I like that idea of connections.”




ASMSU president says MSU has shaped his life BY M E LY N DA H A R R I S ON


recent Montana State University graduate who made a name for himself on campus as a student, athlete and student government leader says his experiences at MSU have positively impacted virtually every aspect of his life. Now, as an MSU alumnus, he is applying what he learned in his roles as an elementary school teacher and president of ASMSU. Eric Fisher, ’10 HHD, is also a former ASMSU senator, orientation leader and Bobcat punter who earned All Big Sky Conference honors and was named Big Sky player of the week several times. “MSU has shaped my life in a tremendous way,” he said. “I came here my freshman year with an idea of what I wanted to accomplish, and then I got involved and figured out even more specifically what I wanted to do.” Fisher, who grew up in Billings, Mont., initially decided to enroll at MSU because of the school’s well-respected engineering department. But before long, he switched to a major in health enhancement through MSU’s College of Education, Health and Human Development. “From my perspective, it is evident that Eric has all of the qualities to be a great

“MSU has shaped my life in a tremendous way,” he said. “I came here my freshman year with an idea of what I wanted to accomplish, and then I got involved and figured out even more specifically what I wanted to do.”

“We learned how to tweak activities so that they’re more effective for students,” he said. “We talked a lot about being able to assess activities on the fly.” Fisher’s other job is serving as ASMSU’s president. “After three years of being a senator, I definitely wanted to stay in (ASMSU) if I could,” he said. “I knew being president was something I always wanted to do, but I just didn’t have time when I was playing football. teacher and coach,” said Lynn Owens, one After seeing that I’d just be in a part-time of Fisher’s professors. “He cares in such a teaching position this year, I decided to give way that he will certainly be one of those it a run.” Fisher has also taken a few graduwho is able to make a significant difference ate classes this year at MSU in preparation in the lives of others. The greatest complifor a possible graduate degree. ment that I can pay him is that I would He said he has enjoyed developing his want him to be my grandchildren’s teacher.” leadership style and helping to guide others Nancy Colton, also one of his profesthrough his position as ASMSU president. sors, predicts Fisher “will be an excellent And, MSU has given him so much health enhancement teacher and role that he wants to continue to be part of the model to his students.” university. Fisher now works part-time as a physical education teacher at Hawthorne Elementary “I know I wouldn’t be where I am now if in Bozeman. I hadn’t gotten involved at MSU,” he said. “I feel very well-prepared as a teacher after “As I look into the future, I know that I have being at MSU,” he said. “It’s fun to take formed such a strong connection with MSU all of the lessons I learned as a student and and Bozeman that I want to continue to be apply them here.” He pointed to classroom involved here.” management as one example. Collegian | 22




Making science lessons culturally relevant BY A N NE C A N T R EL L


fter Dora Hugs, ‘10 SciEd M, enrolled in a Montana State University program designed to strengthen science education for Native American students, the science teacher at St. Charles Mission School in Pryor, Mont., and member of the Crow tribe decided to invite Crow elders into her classroom. “One elder related a story about how our ancestors knew about the stars,” she said. “Another elder showed how she was taught to tell the longest day of the year and the shortest day of the year.” Hugs said her MSU classes emphasized the importance of making science lessons culturally relevant. The approach was successful, she added, because “the students saw that (science) wasn’t just the teacher’s point of view.” For these and other efforts, Hugs, 60, was recently named Outstanding Nontraditional Student in the Western United States. As the region’s top nontraditional student, Hugs is eligible to become the country’s top nontraditional student, an honor that will be announced at the national University Professional and Continuing Education Association meeting in April. She is the first

these communities gain more expertise with student ever nominated by MSU for the science. Hugs later completed the Master outstanding nontraditional student award. of Science in Science Education Program “Dora Hugs’ commitment to her community, students and culture is evident in all at MSU while continuing to work as a full-time teacher. She graduated from MSU that she has accomplished,” said Kim Obin August and is now the Crow language bink, director of MSU’s Extended Univerand science teacher at St. Charles Mission sity and one of several administrators who School. nominated Hugs for the award. “She has Hugs’ motivation for enrolling in the Big sought to further her own education with a goal to bring knowledge and resources to her Sky Science Partnership was a desire to help her students. students and community.” “I was looking for a way to better teach The award has made Hugs feel like her my children – my students – and the proefforts have been worthwhile. gram really helped me do that,” she said. “I “I’m really proud of it,” she said. “It tells was able to help my students feel like science me that working hard pays off. I feel really is part of their lives, even outside of class. good about it, like I’ve done something That was the biggest thing I realized.” valuable.” Approaching science lessons from her Hugs has a wealth of experience in the own cultural perspective also gives Hugs classroom. She began working as a teacher’s more confidence when teaching science. aide in Pryor about 35 years ago. Several “That really helped me because before I years later, and in addition to raising a famfelt like science wasn’t part of my culture.” ily, she began taking college courses. She received a degree in elementary education Most importantly, her students have from MSU-Billings in 1993 while conresponded well to the new approach, Hugs tinuing to work as a substitute teacher. In said. 2007, Hugs enrolled in the Big Sky Science “It makes them more engaged,” she said. Partnership at MSU, which strengthens “It makes the lessons theirs. They now know, science instruction in Native American com- ‘Our ancestors knew these same things.’ They have ownership of it.” munities in Montana by helping teachers in Spring 2011 | 23

MSU engineering professor incorporates elite Boeing training into classroom BY E V E LY N B O S W E L L

A Montana State University electrical and computer engineering professor who received an elite fellowship from Boeing shared his experience with MSU students and faculty in the fall. Ross Snider was one of nine people to receive a 2010 Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellowship from an international pool and the first MSU recipient ever. The fellowship allowed

commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Snider visited Boeing’s gigantic hangars both north and south of Seattle, Wash., where he saw jets in all stages of construction. He toured buildings full of flight simulators. He “flew” a Boeing 767 with two student interns from MSU. He met with dozens of senior executives, research and technology managers, professionals and several MSU graduates who work throughout the company. He not only had the opportunity to learn from them, but to give his feedback as well. He learned, among other things, that Boeing places its most cutting-edge technology in military aircraft and uses the safest, most proven technology in commercial aircraft, Snider said. He observed the opportunities and challenges of working Ross Snider, electrical and computer engineering professor at for a corporation that employs MSU, was one of nine people to receive a 2010 Boeing Welliver more than 158,000 people across Faculty Fellowship and the first MSU recipient ever. the United States and in 70 him to shadow Boeing professionals and countries. He saw for himself why so many observe Boeing operations for eight weeks MSU graduates work for Boeing. last summer. Snider spent two weeks at the “Any job that you can think of, someBoeing Leadership Center in Missouri and six one in Boeing is doing it,” Snider said. weeks at various Boeing facilities in Seattle. “MSU and Boeing officials estimate that Boeing is the world’ leading aerospace Boeing has hired anywhere between “well company and the largest manufacturer of over 500” and 1,200 MSU graduates over the years. They come from several MSU

Collegian | 24

departments, primarily in MSU’s College of Engineering and College of Business. Several MSU graduates are Boeing executives, and some serve on MSU advisory boards. Robert Marley, dean of MSU’s College of Engineering, said Snider’s experience could lead to curriculum changes and new lab activities, lectures and courses for MSU. “It’s just amazing what faculty can bring back to our students from a fellowship like this,” Marley said. At MSU Snider shares information about Boeing technology with his students and colleagues. Some of those technologies dealt with products that go into the cabins of commercial airplanes. Other technologies related to embedded computers, software considerations for airborne systems, and programmable hardware for digital computer systems. His summer at Boeing showed him that MSU graduates are appreciated for their practical skills, extensive lab experience, work ethic and can-do attitude, Snider said. Many MSU students learned to work hard because they grew up on farms and ranches, he said. Because they’ve worked in laboratories at MSU, they quickly fit in at Boeing. “We’re giving these selected professors access to our technical and business programs with the intention of helping them educate students – giving students the skills they will need to begin successful careers in engineering, business, manufacturing and technology,” said Trina Medley from Boeing University Relations. “These professors are the vital links between Boeing technology programs and the classroom—connecting industry and academics to continue developing our future workforce.”

Burns Technology Center’s videoconference capabilities bring the Pentagon to MSU.

Photo courtesy Kris Kramarich

Photo courtesy of MSU Extended University

Surrounded by family in Montana, MSU alumna links to Pentagon for colonel pinning ceremony BY SU Z I TAY L OR

“It’s a good problem to have.” Those are words to live by for Kris Kramarich, ‘90 EE, who was promoted in November to U.S. Army Colonel. The military pinning ceremony for Kramarich—which would traditionally be held in Washington, D.C., where she is stationed— was instead conducted via videoconference between the Pentagon and MSU’s Burns Technology Center. The “good problem” for Kramarich? The fact that the technology classroom couldn’t hold “half the city of Butte,” to which Kramarich jokes she’s related. The MSU classroom was, indeed, packed with friends and family as Kramarich took the oath of office, and family members on-site pinned the new rank to Kramarich’s combat uniform, which she wore instead of a more formal uniform to honor the soldiers with whom she’s served in Iraq. Others joined via phone from Connecticut, Idaho and Colorado. “The ceremony is really for your family and friends,” said Kramarich’s husband, Jay Chapman, who is also a career Army officer. “It’s about all the people who supported you.” Kramarich said MSU was a huge part of that foundation for her, from her professors

and friends to ROTC colleagues and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority sisters. “I had super instructors,” said Kramarich, who was born in Butte, Mont., and raised in Belgrade, Mont. “Even though I was only eight miles from home, it’s at MSU that I first realized the world was so big.” Kramarich said she joined ROTC primarily for the scholarship, but that her motivation evolved as her military career progressed past her obligation. “It’s about job satisfaction, the people, the organization, the camaraderie,” said Kramarich. Upon graduating from MSU, Kramarich was commissioned as a Military Intelligence officer. After her first assignment in Germany, her specialty changed to the Signal Corps. She’s since served at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and the Pentagon as well as two rotations to Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2008 in Iraq, Kramarich led a team of nearly 500 soldiers responsible for installing tactical communications systems that enabled soldiers to communicate during operations and also maintain contact with their families.

Spring 2011 | 25

That made videoconferencing from Bozeman to D.C. a logical choice. “Videoconferencing to the Pentagon is no small thing,” said Nadeen Comfort, videoconference coordinator at Burns Technology Center. “It was fun to work with Kris and Jay, who know all about communications technologies, and we welcomed the opportunity to make this happen for Kris’s family.” “Kris has supported 50, 60, 100 thousand people (throughout her career),” said Chapman. “She’s a very professional officer and a very personal individual. She has that combination of smarts and leadership. She builds a team of people who like to work for her.” Kramarich will return to Fort Huachuca this fall. But her heart will always remain in Montana. Kramarich said that, through 15 moves in 20 years, she has always maintained Montana as her home of record. “I’m glad I started out at MSU,” said Kramarich. “It opened my eyes to what was out there.” “Coming back to Montana has always been a comforting thought,” she added. “I don’t know how people do it without this foundation.”

Entrepreneur blazes a path in renewable and alternative energy BY A M Y ST I X


verything I learned, I picked up by Health and Human Services in renewable doing it,” says entrepreneur Jim Wilenergy development and energy efficiency, liamson, ’71 Math, who has blazed but also works with the Department of Eduan entrepreneurial path in renewable and cation to develop better math and science alternative energy. teachers. “I’ve always worked in the advanced enWilliamson is particularly keen on opporergy sector,” Williamson says of a career that tunities to engage students and teachers in has taken him from coast to coast and has math and science curricula, because he says, included positions with the Atomic Energy “We need a lot more students to go into those Commission and Department of Energy. He (science and technology) fields, if we are gohas also advised presidential administrations ing to maintain our competitive edge.” on energy issues. With 170 employees, offices in Colorado, “I’ve gotten to meet every president Maryland, upstate New York and Washingsince Jimmy Carter all the way to President ton D.C., and 35 active contracts, WilliamObama,” says Williamson. son has positioned his company as a reliable A native of North Dakota and an enrolled partner for private and federal entities intermember of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa ested in maintaining their competitive edge. Tribe, as a young child Williamson moved “Most federal agencies are always underwith his family to the farming and ranchstaffed,” he says, “They hire companies like ing community of Nashua, in the northeast ours to help.” corner of Montana. Williamson and his The expertise provided by New West 11 siblings were the first in their family to Technologies depends on a diverse team of attend high school and college. After finishexperts, whom Williamson has assembled. ing school in Nashua, Williamson majored His colleagues represent many disciplines, inin mathematics at MSU, before earning a cluding chemistry, mathematics, engineering, Master of Science in theoretical mathematics biology, physics, law, education and business. at the University of California Berkeley. As the U.S. works to wean itself from foreign But Williamson says his interest in the oil dependence and ozone depleting fuels, subject piqued much earlier. “My interest Williamson says, “Our skill set has been in in mathematics goes back to a 4th grade high demand for the past 10 years.” teacher I had.” As CEO, Williamson says his team is key As the founder and CEO of New West to his company’s success. “You just have to Technologies, LLC (NWT), a company that surround yourself with really good people. provides program analysis, management and No one person has to know everything.” technology services to 15 federal agencies NWT is currently under contract by and a host of private clients, Williamson is Cornell University to develop a campus keen to ensure that young people today are wide energy savings plan, and is working similarly inspired. That is why NWT not with 20 military installations to similarly only advises the Departments of Energy, economize energy use. The company also Housing and Urban Development, and recently completed a state-of-the-art, energy Collegian | 26

Jim Williamson. Photo courtesy Michael Woestehoff

efficient, wind-powered and fully interactive demonstration home in Fort Peck, Mont. For Williamson, tracking current trends in energy efficiency, the economy and business—in addition to researching new opportunities to grow his company—is what keeps his work exciting. When Williamson began his company in 1996, he started by working with Native American tribes. As a tribal member, he used his background to win contracts with Native American housing and education programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Education. Successfully completed projects at that level eventually led to contracts with entire federal agencies. “I used my background to get the door open,” he says, stressing that an entrepreneur must quickly “prove yourself and gain trust by doing good, quality work.” Williamson credits his “great professors” at MSU and urges graduates interested in his line of work to similarly use their backgrounds to forge ventures, pointing out that a lot of federal agencies deal with agriculture and rural issues; topics many Montanans know a little something about. And though this is one CEO who spends a lot of time traveling between corporate offices and managing a business that Inc. magazine has featured four consecutive years as one of the country’s fastest growing companies, Williamson’s home state remains dear. “I still love Montana the best,” he says.

MSU and Bobcat merchandise sales skyrocket


he visibility and presence of collegiate merchandise has grown significantly over the past 10 years. Since 2001, Montana State University merchandise sales have grown 80 percent. This growth is a result of Montana State University friends and fans that have stepped up to show their support by purchasing more Bobcat gear than ever. As a result, MSU is now ranked among the top 75 schools represented by Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). Across Montana, retailers continue to see enhanced interest in Bobcat merchandise. As more friends and fans purchase items, the number of retailers offering products continues to expand. “We’re carrying more Bobcat gear than in the past and based on the Bobcat’s success, we’ve seen an increase in sales,” said Wayne Trafton of Scheels in Billings. Alumni and fans are proud to show their support for the MSU Bobcats. Bobcat athletics recently launched a new online fan shop and the MSU Bookstore continues to provide logo gear for students and alumni. The ongoing success of Gold Rush and Blue and Gold Friday spirit promotions has brought more attention to the Bobcats across the region. “The Bobcat brand is visible in more retail locations than ever before,” said Denise Lamb, of Collegiate Licensing Company. “Now we’re seeing increased presence in markets across the western region.” Thanks to loyal alumni, friends and fans, this trend is expected to continue. Remember to wear your blue and gold on Friday and follow the latest information on MSU and Bobcat products and spirit promotions on the Web at or on facebook at MSUGearUp.

Spring 2011 | 27


FROM THE PRESIDENT & CEO Dear Friends, The excitement on campus has reached a feverish pitch. Bobcat spirit is evident in every corner. Enrollment is strong, skiing is great, Dr Cruzado ‘s enthusiasm and vision are energizing our academic programs and inspiring students, faculty, staff and alumni. Montana State is receiving press on our many accomplishments. This year we brought home the “Brawl of the Wild” trophy for beating the Grizzlies and the Big Sky Conference championship trophy for our victorious season. It doesn’t get much better than this. Your university is thriving in many ways. In January ground breaking took place for the end zone of the football stadium. It was a perfect day—beautiful blue skies and the sun shining brightly. Many alumni from all over the state came to participate in this great ceremony. Donors were thanked, alumni and fans welcomed and the dirt was flying. The best part of the event was Dr. Cruzado climbing onto a backhoe and taking the first scoop of dirt from the area where our stadium end zone will sit. High above the crowd, she smiled, gave a “thumbs up” and dramatically dumped the dirt from the shovel. We have a very spirited and fun loving president. I hope that you meet her soon. Thank you to all of you who completed the survey regarding member benefits. We are reviewing your responses and will be implementing and adjusting programs, based on your opinions. We had an excellent response rate, thanks to all of you who care about your university. Your loyalty and pride in Montana State University is tremendous. Every day you reflect the quality of this institution by your involvement in your communities and your professional work. Help MSU continue to advance by talking with your legislators about the need for funding education— K-12 and higher education. Talk with students about enrolling. Wear your blue and gold so that everyone knows you are a Bobcat. Come to campus to take in a play, concert, game or casual walk around campus. Be sure and stop by the Alumni Office. There is always a cup of coffee or a soft drink awaiting you. Go Cats! Jaynee Drange Groseth, ’73, ’91 President and CEO Montana State University Alumni Association P.S. The Alumni Plaza and Spirit are gaining quite a reputation. Student and alumni photos can be seen on Spirit Bobcat Facebook. Take a look. There are less than 100 desk-size bronzes available for purchase. Give us a call at 800-842-9028 and place your order. Limited edition Bobcat by a Montana artist for $1,000. Payment plans can be arranged. Don’t let this opportunity slip away.


Collegian | 28


Montana State University’s Most Prestigious Award Nominations are open and forms available online as you consider recognition for amazing MSU alumni, whom you know, work and serve with, and those you’ve been in contact with throughout the years. The Blue and Gold Award is the most prestigious award granted by Montana State University. It honors an individual who has rendered great lifetime service or who has brought national or international distinction to MSU or to the state of Montana. The candidate must have achieved prominence through service to one or a combination of profession, family, country, world, university, philanthropy or humanity. Recipients of the Blue and Gold Award are recommended by the MSU Alumni Association Board of Directors to the president of MSU. The Montana State University Alumni Achievement Award (created Spring 1999) will be given to alumni of Montana State University who have distinguished themselves through significant achievement in a specific field or endeavor. These efforts reflect

Blue and Gold Fridays

greatly on MSU. Award recipients of the Alumni Achievement Award will be selected by an Alumni Association appointed committee or by the MSUAA Board of Directors. Nominations for both the Blue and Gold Award and the Alumni Achievement Award can be made by Montana State University alumni, faculty and staff, friends and students. The awards will be presented during Homecoming weekend. If you would like to nominate someone who deserves this honor, see nomination forms at

Homecoming 2011—Sept. 26-Oct. 1 | Save the date and make plans to return to Bozeman. Homecoming is a great time to come back to campus and Bozeman. Make plans now, call your friends and “come home” for Homecoming. Watch for a schedule of events in this summer’s Collegian.

Alumni Calendar of Events March 31

Women’s History Reception—MSU


April 1-2

American Indian Club Pow Wow


April 5

Graduation Information Fair


April 7-10

MSU Spring Rodeo and Rodeo Reunion


April 15-16

Triangle Classic Spring Football Weekend in Great Falls. Friday night banquet; Saturday Spring Game

Great Falls

April 28

Distinctive Dialogues: MSU Library/Alumni Association


April 29

Bobcat Fest in Downtown Bozeman


May 5-7

Commencement Alumni Reunions: Classes of 1961, 1951 and 1941


May 7

MSU Commencement


May 10-14

Montana Special Olympics at MSU


May 19

Women 2 Women Conference: College of Business/Prospera


May 20

College of Business Alumnae Gathering


June 10-11

Alumni Association Board of Directors Meeting


Watch Montana State-ments for updated calendar of events or check the Web at Spring 2011 | 29

Show your Montana State school pride by wearing MSU apparel on Fridays throughout the year. Find a local retailer near you at or check out the latest Bobcat gear at the MSU Bookstore’s Web site www. Look sharp, be proud. Let the world know that you are an MSU graduate.

Class Notes Class Notes are compiled by Jennifer Anderson. Alumni Association members will receive priority listing in Class Notes. If you would like to submit information, please submit to her via e-mail to alumni@montana. edu or through the Alumni Web site classnotes/. Or drop a line to the MSU Alumni Association, P.O. Box 172940, Bozeman, MT 59717-2740.

1950s Doris (Nye) Swan, ’50 HmEc, and husband, Miles Swan, ’50 AnSci, have celebrated 60 years of marriage. They still live on their ranch in Highwood, Mont., and have three grandchildren attending MSU. Rachel plays for the Bobcat girls basketball team. Katie is in mechanical engineering and Daniel in Fish and Wildlife. Two grandchildren have just finished school and work as engineers. They are so proud of all of them. John Cassidy, ’52 CE, ’60 CE M, ’64 CE PhD, Walnut Creek, Calif., wife, Alice Willman, passed away in 2005. He has stayed in touch with two classmates from civil engineering that he corresponds with by e-mail. John has been retired from the Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco, Calif., since 1994 and is now living in a retirement village. He keeps busy with his local trails club hiking twice each week. John and friend Char traveled with the club for 16 days of hiking in the Alps in Switzerland. He has been fortunate in retirement to continue engineering as an independent consultant doing reviews of designs and safety studies for a number of major dams in the United States, Australia, and Africa.

1960s Richard Kelsey, ‘60 SecEd, Santa Clara, Utah, retired in ’00 after serving in public education for 40 years. He completed 360 graduate units, taught in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and California, as well as

counseling. During his final years he served as president of a nine-unit community college. Ted Jung, ’65 Ag, Salina, Kan., attended another reunion of Sig Ep’s in July. They had their charter renewed as Montana Beta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon on Oct. 16. It was a great joy to see this finally happen.

It’s a Bobcat Family Affair All Bobcat fans, the Lowney/Person family at the Northern Arizona game last fall.

Barbara (Taplin) Kyle, ’67 ElEd, Sacramento, Calif., is happily retired after teaching for 40 years. She remains competitive in USTA tennis leagues. Barbara loves MSU and enjoys Bobcat news. Kenneth Leggate, ’67 CET, Dickinson, N.D., was selected by the Boy Scouts of America to represent the Northern Lights Council in the National Hall of Leadership. Ken joins a select group of individuals honored during Scouting’s centennial year for their outstanding leadership and dedication in bringing to life the Scout Oath and Law. He has been recognized for his outstanding leadership and by making a significant difference in the life of another by extraordinary service and the virtues he has modeled.

Springs, Mont. They make their home in Butte, Mont. Gayle (Evankovich) Hayes, ’72 Engl, Victor, Mont., has written her first novel titled Summer Solstice. The e-book may be found at Randy Carlson, ’74 F&Ph, Las Vegas, Nev., serves as route managercirculation at Greenspun Media Group for the Las Vegas Weekly magazine. He oversees distribution for 68,000 magazines at 1,670 locations throughout the Las Vegas valley. Robert Peterson, ’74 Soc, and wife, Judith (Winslow) Peterson, ’67 Nurs, ’79 Nurs M, Lompoc, Calif., announce that Heather Peterson, ’96 Hist, received a PhD in Latin American History from the University of Texas, in 2009. Sue Warren, ’74 Nurs, ’88 Nurs M, is now the director of Grateful Patient and Physician Philanthropy at Benefis Healthcare Foundation in Great Falls, Mont.

1970s Michael Tocher, ’70 Hist, ’77 Hist M, now retired, was a teacher and coach for the past 35 years. He stays very active in Bobcat sports and tailgating. Wife, Marlene (Hirsh) Tocher, ’74 Nurs, earned a master’s degree in nursing from Gonzaga University. She is presently a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner on the forensic unit at Montana State Hospital at Warm

Archie Fuqua, ’77 Soc., and wife, Virginia Fuqua, ’76 Nurs, Polson, Mont., are proud new grandparents to Maximus, born Dec. 24, 2009.

1980s Russell Crawford, ’81 Acctg, AmsTelveen, The Netherlands, con-

Collegian | 30

tinues to head the U.S. Tax Center in the Netherlands for KPMG. He is now reaching 30 years with the firm. Dan Deichmann, ’81 AnRSci, and wife, Marilyn (Van Haur) Deichmann, ’81 HmEc, Hobson, Mont., own and operate Deichmann Livestock Brokerage at Hobson. They have managed livestock sales and market feeder cattle for the past 25 years. Donna (Williams) Campanella, ’82 Music, serves as principal at Florence Crittenton High School in Denver, Colo. Husband John is president of Christopher Energy, LLC. They make their home in Centennial, Colo. Laurie (Taylor) Graves, ’85 ElEd, was recently named Wyoming Teacher of the Year. She received a $5,000.00 award and a trip to Washington, D .C., to compete for National Teacher of the Year. Laurie teaches at Big Horn Elementary School in Big Horn, Wyo. In addition to her degree from MSU, she became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2007 and was recognized by Arch Coal as one of 10 exceptional teachers in the state of Wyoming through their teacher recognition program. She also teaches a course in education at Sheridan Community College. Last summer she was selected to go to Ecuador on a science research program for three weeks through the University

CLASS N OT E S of Wyoming. Laurie and husband, Will, have two children. The family resides in Sheridan, Wyo. Janet (Muller) Trethewey, ’85 PE, ’88 PE M, ’97 Educ PhD, Havre, Mont., was elected to the Havre City Council and started her fouryear term in January. She was also selected to participate in Leadership Montana 2010-2011. Both are great challenges and great honors. Kurt Palmquist, ’88 Art, is creative director at Soul Creative as well as working towards PSIA level 2 ski instructor certification. He currently instructs at Bridger Bowl ski area. Wife, Denise (Beckman) Palmquist, ’86 BuMg, is employed at Bozeman Broker Group. They are the proud parents of Eric, 16, and Blake, 11. The Palmquist’s live in Bozeman, Mont. Molly Tatarka, ’88 PSci, Anchorage, Alaska, retired on Dec. 3 after more than 21 years in the U.S. Air Force.


A Novel Cat/Griz Bet

Jennifer (Jones) Turchin, ’02 Arch, ’03 Arch M, Las Vegas, Nev., is one of the recipients of the 2010 Developing Leaders Award, presented by NALOP, the commercial real estate development association. Recipients were celebrated at Development ’10, the annual meeting for commercial real estate.

M A R R I AGE S Melisa (Bramble) Leatham, ’95 Engl, Portland, Ore., married Neil Leatham on Aug. 20, 2010. Heather McCartney, ’05 AgEd, and Rod Duty, ’85 CET, ’91 Rsci, were married Oct. 2 in Choteau, Mont., where they now reside. Heather clerks at Front Range Supply and Rod is a game warden for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Mitch Gamache, ‘84 CET, and his dog “Tana,” short for Montana.

1990s Cynthia (Mesko) Hufnagel, ’97 ElEd, Bakersfield, Calif., is currently teaching her 14th year in Arvin at Sierra Vista School. The school raised its API score 58 points this year. Husband Michael is the California accountant for Nabors Well Services for two years now. Billie Jo Norris, ’98 AgBus, and Nathan Simons, ’00 AgBus, were married on July 9. Billie Jo is an agronomist with Milk River Coop. Nate is the branch president of Independence Bank. They live and work in Malta, Mont. Chantel McCormick, ’99 PSci, has returned to Bozeman, Mont., and has accepted the position of vice president of Grasslands Renewable Energy.

Irvin Van Haur,* ’44 ChE, Hilger, Mont., died June 22.

Janice Leslie,* ’59 PE, ’65 PE M, Great Falls, Mont., died June 23.

Harold Wilson,* ’44 Phys, Camarillo, Calif., died Aug. 14.

William Taylor, ’59 Bus, Bend, Ore., died Jan. 2.

Asa Armstrong, ’48 M&IE, Lake Ridge, Va., died Sep. 14.

Joseph Svoboda,* ’60 PreMed, Richmond, Va., died July 20.

Eugene Olson, ’48 Ag, Kalispell, Mont., died April 29.

Fred Heer, ’61 GenStu, Bismarck, N.D., died Oct. 20.

Raymond Agee,* ’49 Ag, Porterfield, Calif., died May 22.

Francis Knox, ’61 AgEd, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, died Oct. 17.

Marcel Fages,* ’49 ME, ’51 ME M, Wyoming, Ohio, died Feb. 18, 2010

Robert Taylor, ’61 GenStu, ’63 Sci M, Belgrade, Mont., died Aug. 26.

Jeanette (Almos) Johannesen, ’49 HmEc, Portland, Ore., died Sept. 21.


’Cat Lovin’ Pooch

Eric Peterson, ‘83 FTV, gets a wheelbarrow ride around the Cascade County Courthouse, Mont., courtesy of his Griz-fan friend Bill Busta after the “Cats beat the Griz last November. The two friends began this game wager event four years ago, and each year more Cat and Griz fans come to watch. The previous three years, Bill got to enjoy the wheelbarrow ride after the Griz won.

Greg Mueller, ’01 Art M, Saint Peter, Minn., has been invited by Gustavus Adolphus college to be their sesquicentennial sculptor in residence through 2012.

Darrin Haugen, ’96 ME, ’98 M, and wife, Melissa (Peterson) Haugen, Burien, Wash., had a baby boy, Daniel Martin Haugen, on Sept. 20.

I N M E MORY Mabel “Peggy” (Clarida) Berthelson,* ’32 HmEc, Conrad, Mont., died Oct. 2. Kenneth Goering,* ’36 Chem, ’39 Chem M, ’41 Chem PhD, Bozeman, Mont., died Nov. 26. Ralph Cook,* ’38 EE , Honolulu, Hawaii, died Aug. 27. Phyllis (Davis) Wolcott,* ’38 ElEd, Sioux Falls, S.D., died Jan. 1.

John McLellan, ’49 PE, ’51 PE M, Corpus Christi, Texas, died May 30. Doris (Hamilton) Avent,* ’51 HmEc, Red Lodge, Mont., died Aug. 14. Harold Draper, ’51 EE, Lakeside, Mont., died Sept. 8. Donald Jones, ’51 Ag, ’57 AgEc M, Billings, Mont., died Nov. 6. Anne (Groskurth) Nickerson, ’51 Sci, Idaho Falls, Idaho, died Aug. 30. John Smith,* ’51 Zool, Aberdeen, Wash., died Oct. 17. John Turley, ’53 AnSci, Billings, Mont., died Aug. 22. Richard Wall,* ’54 AgEc, Helena, Mont., died Dec. 3.

Carrie (London) Barto,* ’41 HmEc, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., died Oct. 17.

Effie (Enneberg) Cato, ’57 HmEc, Garden Ridge, Texas, died Dec. 6.

Dwight Nelson, ’41 AgEd, Sun City, Ariz., died Aug. 30.

Donald Crain, ’57 ME, Butte, Mont., died July 18.

Gyda (Sheppard) Flint,* ’43 Chem, Sacramento, Calif., died July 7.

Lloyd Hanson,* ’57 ME, Hastings, Minn., died May 19.

Jean (Haight) Hess, ’43 HmEc, Missoula, Mont., died Feb. 23, 2010

John Humphrey,* ’59 ChE, ’63 ChE PhD, Layton Utah, died March 20, 2010.

Spring 2011 | 31

Karen (Horton) Dillon,* ’63 HmEc, Portland, Ore., died Sep. 29. Ronald Miller, ’66 AgBus, Lewistown, Mont., died Aug. 26. Charles Wood, ’66 AgBus, Spokane, Wash., died Oct. 1. Glen Cloninger,* ’68 Arch, ’08 Arch M, Spokane, Wash., died Dec. 5. Thomas Duff, ’68 PE, Great Falls, Mont., died Oct. 23. Avis (Persson) Peterson, ’70 Nurs, ’85 NursM, Sidney, Mont., died Jan. 4. George Turner, ’72 AgEc, Mesa, Ariz., died Sep. 20. Lynn Hjermstad,* ’73 Bus, Gridley, Calif., died Aug. 19. Stephen Green, ’75 F&TV, Bozeman, Mont., died April 14, 2010. Neil Klussman, ’76 Bus, Billings, Mont., died Dec. 8. William Craigle,* ’79 Nurs, Clancy, Mont., died Aug. 4. David Baxter, ’83 Hort, Chanhassen, Minn., died Oct. 12. David Arnott, ’85 Psy, Bozeman, Mont., died Dec. 16. continued on page 32


Best of the Mediterranean & Greek Isles

Sept. 3 - Oct. 11 $3699/person (includes round-trip airfare from select Oceania Cruises cities)

Travel is picking up around the globe and Bobcats are in the mix. Check out our travel opportunities and visit the Web site to learn more: http://alumni.montana. edu. Travel for 2011 and details are posted online. Keep watching and/or send us your “wishes” and we’ll look into it. Watch for 2012 travel in this summer’s Collegian.

French Alps and Provence May 22-31 $3595/person

Excellent combination of land and river as you travel through the grandest regions of the Alps and Provence on a comprehensive itinerary combining tremendous scenic beauty with great historical and artistic significance.

Cruising Alaska’s Glaciers and the Inside Passage Aug. 4-11 $3558/person (included airfare from 22 gateway cities)

Seven-night cruise from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, B.C., with calls at Hubbard Glacier, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. Majestic glaciers, mountains and fascinating wildlife. See Alaska in a very special way.

Tuscany Village Life

Sept. 18-26 $2895/person Unpack once to explore the Tuscany, Italy, region in depth; full of excursions, famous landmarks, wine tasting and cooking classes.

Ten nights accommodations and cruising to historic and scenic ports of call in Greece, Turkey, Montenegro and Croatia. Glide through the canals, under bridges, past opulent palazzo and elegant churches in Venice, Italy.

Saxony along the Elbe Oct. 10-18 $2995/person

Experience this nine-day journey through the heart of central Europe. Sevennight cruise from Berlin, Germany, to Prague, Czech Republic, with port calls at Magdeburg, Wittenberg, Meissen, Torgan and Dresden, Germany, and Melnik, Czech Republic.

I N M E MORY Continued from page 31

Robert Searles, ’87 ElEd, Bozeman, Mont., died Oct. 9. Larry Olson, ’89 ME, Billings, Mont., died March 28, 2010. Lea Miller, ’99 SecEd, Belgrade, Mont., died Sep. 19. Paige Cahoon, ’02 BioSci, Snoqualmie, Wash., died Dec. 7. Kari ( Finholm) Hawkaluk, ’03 ElEd, Webster, S.D., died Sep. 8. Jeremiah Sipes, ’06 Bus, Belgrade, Mont., died Jan. 1. *Life member of the Alumni Association

Incomparable London

Oct. 14-22 $2699/person (includes airfare from select cities) London provides a colorful feast of history, beauty and culture. One of the friendliest international cities in the world, London brims with regal historic sites, world-class museums, leafy parks and cozy pubs.

Attention Classes of 1961, 1951 and 1941 Save the Date for your Anniversary Commencement Reunion May 5-7, 2011. Golden Reunion—Class of 1961 Fifty years is something to celebrate! Be a part of your golden reunion.

Cradle of History­—Turkey, Greece, Israel and Egypt

Diamond Reunion—Class of 1951 Sixty years since your days at MSC. Come celebrate at your diamond reunion.

Twelve-night Oceania cruise with incredible accommodations and historic and scenic ports of call assure an amazing adventure along the cradle of history.

Sapphire Reunion—Class of 1941 MSU is honored to recognize your 70th Commencement Anniversary. We hope you will make plans to attend.

Nov. 1-14 $4299/person (includes airfare from select cities)

All trips are listed on the Cat Treks Web site— Or, call to request a brochure: 1-800-842-9028.

Collegian | 32

Reunion information has been mailed and registration is open. Start calling and writing your classmates now and make plans to meet in Bozeman in May.

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Collegian | Spring 2011  
Collegian | Spring 2011  

The Collegian magazine features news of outstanding alumni, scientific discoveries, campus activities and MSU history and traditions. The pr...