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Issue 5

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Fresh news every day at

R O C K Y. E D U

Keeping our friends and supporters informed about what’s new and exciting at Rocky Mountain College




Thumbs up was the theme for happy graduates at the 130th RMC Commencement. The message delivered to 208 graduates at the 130th Rocky Mountain College Commencement included some standard inspiration and also a healthy dose of practical advice from an alumnus who built a successful career in financial planning and investment. “A part of all I earn is mine to keep,” Jim Anderson, RMC ’67, told graduates. It is the most important tenet he taught in his investment classes at RMC, but one of the most difficult to grasp. It leads to another lesson: “All of you can be millionaires,” he said, “it’s not that hard.” The formula – that Albert Einstein called the eighth wonder of the world – is disciplined saving and compound interest, Anderson noted. Based on that premise, the RMC students in the investment classes took $100,000 that Anderson and his wife, Linda Lou, Continued on back page

Harald Carlsson was a wizard on the slopes and in the classroom.

Every year Rocky Mountain College sends another fresh crop of outstanding graduates onto the next phase of their lives. Many already have jobs lined up. Many will be continuing their education in graduate school. All will bring talents and skills that will better their workplace and improve their com-

munities. RMC graduates are doers. When we share photos of our students skiing, like this one of slalom champion Harald Carlsson, it’s because he is representative of the spirit of RMC students not only who are energetic in the classroom but also athletically. You’ll meet Harald in this year’s Senior Sampler. He was not just a ski champ, but also one of the winners of the 2012 RMC President’s Cup, based on scholarship, leadership and contributions to the RMC and greater community. Of course, the majority of students are not competing athletically. But they are active in a variety of campus activities and organizations. You’ll meet Maggie Weber (climbing a rock wall on the cover of the Sampler), another example of the extraordinary students in the Class of 2012. You’ll also meet this year’s Dean’s Cup winners, Erica Wall and Bill Scott, with the highest cumulative grade point averages. Above average? Yes, all four of them. Meet them in the Senior Sampler.


Keeping our friends and supporters informed about what’s new and exciting at Rocky Mountain College


BY M I C H A E L R . M AC E -

The word iconic has become overused, but for the Montana Logging & Ballet Company, it fits when describing a unique performing troupe that for nearly half a century has entertained around the world. Rocky Mountain College has a part ownership of this quartet of satirical slapstick singers since they are all alumni who maintain their affiliation with the College with affection and devotion. On April 27th they performed their final public concert at the Babcock Theatre in Billings, with RMC as the beneficiary. For those fortunate enough to have enjoyed knowing Rusty Harper, Tim Holmes, Steve Garness-Holmes and Bob FitzGerald, this proved to be a memorable and emo-

President Bishop, Johnny Carson, and other top TV shows of the golden age of television. And we will remember they never forgot to come home, especially if they could help their alma mater, their United Methodist Church, or social organizations seeking peace, justice and good will. I am always meeting alumni who claim the reason they are alumni is the MLBC. They played schools and church camps, and young kids wanted to go wherever it was that produced guys like this. All this is a long way of getting to assuage that adieu while clinging to some connection with them. Rusty Harper, one

of the most compassionate and funny of the four, writes a weekly blog called “Friday Good News,” which you may want to tune into. Rusty, like his father, the late Rev. George Harper, has that pedigree of Mark Twain and Will Rogers woven into his own keen perception and wit, and shares it every week with his essays. Reading his blog is a good way to wrap up a week. It’s a great biscotti with your Friday mocha.

They played schools and church camps, and young kids wanted to go wherever it was that produced guys like this. tional evening, reminding us of how many times they illuminated current issues and brightened lives with their unique wit and humor, their vocal and instrumental talent, and their rare insights. Sadly, I was not able to attend since my son, Joe, was performing in Indiana. But, having seen many other MLBC performances, I know it was a hit. That it sold out is one indication; another is that it raised more $18,000 for scholarships. We owe thanks to Bill and Merilyn Ballard and Barb Skelton, who sponsored the show; to Becky Reno, whose City Brews helped sell tickets; to Artcraft Printers who gave a special consideration for printing those tickets; to Chris Dorr, the ticket maestro; RMC’s Jim Baken who created a collectible poster; to Jim Abel of Out in the Cold Productions, who filmed it for posterity; and to the intrepid members of MLBC. What a group! We will remember who brought Bishop Desmond Tutu to Montana. Why did he come? “That’s where the Montana Logging and Ballet is,” he told a reporter who asked. We will remember -- those of a certain age -- when they appeared on Joey 2

The Montana Logging & Ballet Company basks in a standing ovation as they performed their final public show at the Babcock Theatre. The show raised more than $18,000 for scholarships at RMC.

The MLBC show was a night for reunion of many RMC friends. Susan Heyneman and Janine Pease enjoyed reminiscing after the show.

Here’s a link to it, where many are archived to read randomly, and you may want to bookmark it. It’s likely to become one of those “go-to” sites not required by work, but by pleasure in simply thinking something over, having a good laugh, or considering something in a different way. Try it: www.


The Rocky Mountain College Equestrian Program will face a double loss with the retirements of Dr. Ray and Marilyn Randall in May. The popular couple said their retirement comes at the right time, as they proudly helped the program “grow from about 20 students to 75-80 students now,” Marilyn noted. “I can recall when it wasn’t certain the program would make it. Seeing it flourish has been a wonderful development that will be memorable for both of us.” The Randalls are confident that RMC’s equine program will continue to thrive. “We’re very fortunate to have faculty that will stay on at RMC and continue working as hard as they do. For students looking for jobs in the industry, if they apply themselves, they can make it happen. There are jobs; a student just needs to be dedicated and go for it,” Marilyn noted. “And this program is recognized nationally now.” While the Randalls certainly earned their retirement, they will be sorely missed. “They’re two of the best people in the world,” said Barb Skelton, who, with her husband, Paul Gatzemeier, owns the Intermountain Equestrian Center where the RMC equestrian program is headquartered. “I’ve been in the industry for 40 years, and Ray’s the best veterinarian I’ve ever known,” she said. “And Marilyn has been the foundation for this program. They’re just great people.” Dr. Randall, who is an assistant professor and on-site veterinarian, joined the program in 1990; Marilyn has been an associate professor since she joined the program two years later. The couple met at Colorado State University where they both earned B.S. degrees. Marilyn earned a Registered Physical Therapist degree at Northwestern while Ray earned his D.V.M. at Colorado State in 1971, and then completed an internship at the University of Minnesota in equine surgery. He also maintains a practice in Bridger, Mont. Marilyn is an acclaimed equestrian

Dr. Ray Randall and Marilyn Randall were key players in building the RMC equestrian program. Dr. Randall, who is an assistant professor and on-site veterinarian, joined the program in 1990; Marilyn (below) has been an associate professor since she joined the program two years later. judge, so it was fitting that this year she was awarded the prestigious Professional’s Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year Award at the annual awards banquet in Las Vegas. Randall “is a true horsewoman who educates youth and amateurs in the equine industry. She holds judges cards with the following groups: AQHA, APHA, NSBA, NRCHA, FEI, USEF and NRHA. She has judged in 16 countries, as well as shows across the United States. While judging internationally, she gives clinics to help exhibitors learn how to better enjoy the American Quarter Horse,” the award citation stated. Marilyn has trained horses for more than 25 years. Several youth in her training program have received top-10 honors at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show and the All American Quarter Horse Congress. She has ridden many AQHA World Championship Show qualifiers, including Two Fox Angilee, who won the reserve world champion junior trail title in 1984. In addition to judging and training, Randall taught college equine programs for the past 26 years with the goal of bringing

her enthusiasm and love of horses into the classroom. This past year, she worked with AQHA to help 850 abused horses get their AQHA papers transferred. Through her diligence, many of the horses were able to have their registration papers transferred to their new owners. Marilyn has served on the Montana Quarter Horse Association Board of Directors as the MQHA youth adviser, as a member of the AQHA Youth Activities Committee, and as the AQHA Youth Continued on page 6


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A seven-year project to complete a multimedia study Bible has crowned a remarkable career for Dr. Gene Getz, a 1954 graduate of Rocky Mountain College. “My years at Rocky were challenging and foundational in helping me to do this principles-to-live-by study Bible,” said the 80-year-old scholar and teacher. Dr. Getz, from Medaryville, Indiana, majored in English, speech and dramatics, and minored in religion. After graduating from RMC, he completed his M.A. (1958) at Wheaton Graduate School and Ph.D. (1968) at New York University. Dr. Getz was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate (1999) by the Institut Theologique de Nimes, Uchaud, France. Over the course of a half-century of scholarly pursuits, Dr. Getz has written more than 60 books, most of which grew out of his experience as a pastor. The “Measure of a Man” has become a classic and is used around the world for personal and group study. His just published “Life Essentials Study Bible” (Broadman-Holman, 2011) is a landmark achievement, the first-ever multimedia study Bible. The LE Bible, with more than 500,000 words of commentary by Dr. Getz, is designed around the insertion in the biblical text of 1,500 supra-cultural

Courtesy Photo

Dr. Gene Getz, RMC’54, said his years at RMC were formative in his life as a teacher, scholar and writer.

principles, each with its own QR code. The codes are based on a recent technology that enables smart phones to access video recordings of lectures to live audiences by Dr. Getz on each principle. The recordings

average approximately eight minutes in length, with a total of 250 hours of video presentations throughout the Bible. Dr. Getz is more than a writer. After graduating from NYU, he spent approximately 20 years in the academic world as professor both at Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary. His confrontation with the disillusionment that grew out of the era of the ’60s and early ’70s led to his efforts in 1972 to transition to the role of church pastor. “I spent my first 20 years teaching others how to lead churches, and the next 30 years learning how to do it myself,” he said. He launched the original Fellowship Bible Church in Dallas in 1972, which began a movement that continues today in the form of many hundreds of congregations around the world. For many years, he served as host of the syndicated Renewal Radio program aired daily on the Moody Radio network and Sirius/SM Family Net Radio. Dr. Getz currently serves as Pastor Emeritus of Fellowship Bible Church, renamed Chase Oaks Church, in Plano, Texas. He is the President of the Center for Church Renewal.


5 p.m. – 8 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 2216 Grand, Billings. Tickets $15 per person. RSVP by June 1 to Jim Gainan (RMC’91) at, (406) 238-3161.

Osteo Systems Inc. Major Sponsor: Jones Construction, Inc. Register your team online at www.rocky. edu/alumni/GolfTournament.php, or contact Kristin Mullaney, RMC alumni office, (406) 657-1007 /



“Doc” McDowell is OK with retirement. A BBQ celebrating his years at RMC is planned for June 8.

2012 Rocky Mountain College Golf Tournament: The RMC Alumni & Athletic Associations co-host this 18-hole tournament, welcoming teams of RMC alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends. All proceeds benefit RMC Scholarships.

“Doc” McDowell Reunion & Retirement BBQ, “with all the fixin’s plus one last lecture from Doc,”

1 p.m. shot gun start at Peter Yegen Golf Course. Premier Sponsors: D.A. Davidson & Co. Hansen Wealth Management, BioMet

RMC staffers Kristin Mullaney, Bobby Beers and Vicki Davison hope to see lots of golfers for the annual alumni golf tournament.


It took a commitment of financial, faculty, student and administrative resources, but when Rocky Mountain College chose to resurrect rather than shut down its Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program several years ago, it did it whole-heartedly. That commitment paid off this year when the program’s accreditation was renewed for five years by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education, which accredits the physician assistant program for the Physician Assistant ARC-PA. Much of the credit for the remarkable success of the program goes to Dr. Robert Wilmouth, a former heart and lung surgeon who took over direction of the program in December 2008. With more than 20 years of experience as a surgeon, Wilmouth had a lifetime of medical knowledge and a yearning to teach. Wilmouth is the only cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in the country to lead a physician assistant program. “Bob Wilmouth was the key to turning this program around. He has simply done a phenomenal job,” according to RMC President Michael Mace. The always energetic but modest Wilmouth deflects that praise. “Actually, President Mace and Anthony Piltz (RMC academic vice president and provost) were more instrumental than I was. They had to make the decision that, not only was the program worth saving, but resources would be allocated to make that happen,” Wilmouth said. Moreover “the real champions were the students,” Wilmouth quickly adds. “They had to make a commitment to stick it out with us. We promised they’d graduate from a top notch program, but saying that and making it happen are different things,” he said. The RMC Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program’s accreditation is critical since it enables graduates from ARCPA-accredited PA programs to sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) and become licensed to practice. The PANCE is the entry-level exam every physician assistant must pass to become nationally certified. Testimony to how well RMC’s program is performing is indicated by how well its 5

But, even with the success of the program, there is more to be done, Wilmouth said. “We can always get better. When patient care and safety are involved, there is never ‘good enough,’” he said. “This program always has its sights set higher.”

Dr. Bob Wilmouth, director of the RMC Masters of Physician Assistant program, is always delighted to deliver diplomas to new physician assistants.

graduates do on those exams. For the past two years, as well as four of the last five years, 100 percent of RMC’s students have passed the PANCE on the first testing, averaging 92 percent. Wilmouth measures the program’s success in other ways, too. More RMC graduates are entering the program, which indicates that the RMC undergraduate program is preparing better students who qualify for admission to the MPAS program. “We have had nine students from Rocky over the past couple years in the program, which is terrific. It shows there is a potential for growth within our own College,” he noted. Another extraordinary aspect of the RMC program is that it stresses patient safety more than any other program in the U.S. “We’re the only program in the country with a patient safety course built into our curriculum that is a requirement to graduate,” he said. Wilmouth put together a faculty team that includes a former general surgeon, cardiologist, OB-GYN surgeon, oncologist and three certified physician assistants with over 30 years of clinical experience. “I would put this program up against any in the world because of the students we have and the faculty that is in place,” Wilmouth said.


A scarf knitted by RMC Chaplain Kristi Foster’s friends from her knitting club adorned the RMC Bear outside the Bair Family Student Center. The scarf greeted those who attended the March 30 memorial service celebrating Rev. Foster’s life and ministry. Before her death March 26, 2012, after a 10-month battle with colon cancer, she immersed herself not only in the life of the campus, but also of the community and the world. The family requests that memorial contributions be designated for The American Cancer Society or Rocky Mountain College Chaplain's Fund.


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Jim Anderson, RMC’67, delivered an inspiring and practical message as the speaker. He also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

donated in 1997 and grew it to almost $230,000 by 2010, with more than $100,000 earned going to scholarships. Anderson said RMC was a transforming educational experience. He acknowledged his early years were not productive, but after time away to travel, he returned with new purpose. He also met Linda, which was “love at first sight.” When they graduated, she was magna cum laude while “I was magna cum lucky,” he joked. But his years at RMC taught him “to never let reality get in the way of your dreams,” he said. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss the darn thing, you’re going to be up with the stars.” Anderson received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. “In honoring Jim Anderson, we are honoring one of our own, who has made a unique and important investment in his alma mater, and whose wisdom in the classroom has made a great difference in the lives of our students and the life of the College,” said Mace.


Ready to embark on the next adventure, RMC graduates enjoyed the celebration of earning their college degrees.


Photographs appearing in Rocky Now, unless otherwise noted, are by Dave M. Shumway, RMC staff photographer and web content manager.

R O C K Y. E D U

Activities Committee chairwoman from 2008 to 2010. In addition to serving as an AQHA director since 1994 and director-atlarge since 2011, she was instrumental in the development of the Junior Master Horseman program. Dr. Randall, fondly referred to as “Dr. Ray” by the students, teaches equine preventive medicine and the equine reproduction courses, as well as cares for the RMC horses. Dr. Randall’s practice in Bridger focuses mainly on horses and cattle, with a few dogs and cats thrown in. One might also see a buffalo or mountain lion at the clinic. His special interests include performance horses and broodmares. He is often on an airplane to various countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Australia, Qatar and Spain, where he is an FEI Veterinarian for endurance rides. These races are 100 miles long and Dr. Ray represents the Federation Equestre International to ensure the safety and well-being of the horses. He has been an FEI Vet for the World Equestrian Games, the European Championships, Presidents Cup and many more. While Marilyn will retire from RMC, she’ll still be active in judging that takes her around the world. “I do hope to have more time to hike with my dogs or saddle up and go for a ride,” she said. For Dr. Randall, retirement is “only partial” since he’ll still maintain his private practice in Bridger.

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May 2012 - Rocky Now  

RMC newsletter for the college community.

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