$1.5 Million Gift Launches New Davidson Honors College Programs

For more than 25 years, Ian and Nancy Davidson have championed honors education at the University of Montana. On September 30 the University announced the couple’s latest gift and invited others to join in supporting UM’s honors college.

The Davidsons stand with Dean Tessman and President Engstrom.

With the Davidsons’ $1.5 million lead gift, the DHC will launch two innovative programs: the Teaching, Research and Mentoring Fellows Program and the Honors Career Development Program.

The TRM Fellows Program will bring accomplished young academics to UM for postdoctoral fellowships. Fellows will design and teach courses exclusively for DHC students, while also acting as mentors for student/faculty research projects. With new fellows cycling in every two years, campus will continually be infused with fresh ideas and energy.

Housed in the newly renovated garden level of the DHC Building, the Honors Career Development Program will prepare students for post-collegiate success. Throughout their four years at UM, program participants will have access to tailored career counseling sessions, career coaching workshops, graduate school selection and application support, exclusive networking events, internship placements, résumé clinics and other programming to help them succeed at the highest level.

“Ian and Nancy’s continued vision has enabled UM to develop one of the strongest honors colleges in the nation,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “With these distinctive new programs, we will engage students at the intellectual, professional and personal level. Their experience in the DHC will be nothing short of transformative.”

The Davidsons’ gift will fund two postdoctoral fellowships over the course of six years, as well as a coordinator for the Honors Career Development Program for a five-year period. The Davidsons have further committed to match, dollar for dollar, contributions to support an additional two fellows for six years.

“The Davidsons have once again shown their dedication to honors education at the University of Montana,” said Mickey Sogard, former chair of the UM Foundation Board of Trustees. “We thank them for their generosity and foresight, which has provided a wonderful opportunity for interested donors to double the size of their gifts and bring a new, innovative program to UM.”

With their support of the new programs, the Davidsons hope to inspire and activate others to invest in the continued growth of the honors college.

“The Davidson Honors College has grown to the point where it’s really on the cusp of becoming one of the leading programs in the country,” said Nancy Davidson. “We’re encouraging people who want to support an area of UM that is directly focused on the very best and brightest students to consider these DHC programs.”

The Davidson family’s support over the past two decades has provided a building for the honors college, scholarships for honors students and, most recently, renovations to DHC’s garden level and a gift to complete a beautiful patio area that was initiated through the generous support of Richard Krumm and family. While they are once again leading the way, it is up to UM’s dedicated alumni and friends to expand the resources that will provide an unmatched experience for DHC students.

“The honors college is a very important element in higher education,” said Ian Davidson. “It’s a logical way to contribute to academic excellence at the University of Montana.”

A Challenge Match for the DHC
Ian and Nancy Davidson invite donors like you to join them in funding the new Teaching, Research, Mentoring Fellows Program. They have committed to match, dollar for dollar, contributions to support an additional two fellows. For more information on how to double the impact of your gift, contact Cindy Williams at 406.243.2593 or cindy.williams@mso.umt.edu.

Pictured above: Ian and Nancy Davidson, along with Dean Brock Tessman (left) and President Royce Engstrom (right), celebrate the grand opening of the Davidson Honors College International Patio during the college’s Homecoming celebration.