Former President Clapp's grandchildren create scholarship

Starting next year, UM business students will have access to the Frank C. and Ada M. Clapp Memorial Scholarship. Frank was the son of Charles Clapp, who served as the University’s president from 1921 until his untimely death in office in 1935.

Frank and Ada’s children, Jim Clapp and Mary Miller, endowed the scholarship in their parents’ names in 2010 to honor their love for the state of Montana, their strong familial ties to the University and their dedication as hard-working students. The family hopes the scholarship will make a difference for young Montanans pursuing business studies over future years.

“The first thing anyone learned about my parents when they met them is that they were from Montana,” says Mary Miller.

Frank and Ada ClappBoth Frank and Ada attended the University and met while students. Frank entered the University the year his father died; Ada hailed from Hot Springs. Frank had just left his campus job at Main Hall one evening when he saw Ada waiting at a bus stop. “She gave me a beautiful smile and I never forgot it,” Frank often recalled to his children. They had been married for 64 years when Ada died in 2006; Frank passed away in 2010.

Both Ada and Frank worked their way through the University and majored in what was known then as “Business Ad.” Those were Depression years, and each sought to build marketable skills – accounting, business law and, in Ada’s case, shorthand and typing. They were grateful all their lives for the mentorship of UM faculty members. Ada’s teachers recommended her for the part-time jobs that enabled her to stay in school.

Frank served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, the young couple moved around the country as Frank built a career in the life insurance industry. Yet Montana was always “home” in their hearts. In 1999, they returned to campus for their 60th reunion, a very happy time for them.

James Clapp lives in Missoula with his wife, Lee Ann Bradley, as does Frank and Ada’s granddaughter, Margaret Dennison. Mary resides in Walnut Creek, Calif., with her husband, Robert G. Miller.