Fiscal Year 2016
Impact Report

Arial video is displayed of Missoula, and is shown flying over the clark for rivers

In fiscal year 2016, 13,971 donors gave $53.6 million to the University of Montana.

Total support: $53.6M; Giving through the UM foundation: 442.3M, Giving through private grants to UM: $11.3M

Of those donors giving
through the UM Foundation...

Giving through UMF: 42.3M; Montanans: 8,393 donors gave $18.1M, Out of state donors: 5,578 donors gave $24.2M
Donors By Cagetory: Alumni: 52%, Friends: 36%; Corporations: 7%; Parents: 4%; Foundations: 1%

The UM Foundation distributed more than $20 million to campus in fiscal year 2016.

 Academics and Institutional Support: $9.64M, Scholarships and Awards: $5.26M; Facilities and Equipment: $5.17

Distributions to campus vary from year to year, due to the timing of projects and when contributions are received.


2,054 students received 2,648 scholarships.


That's 15.7% of the student body, which is made up of 10,777
undergraduate students and 2,267 graduate students.


2016 was the final year of the
Investing in Student Success initiative.

Scholarships and Fellowships: Goal: $25M, Total Raised: $50.9M; Dynamic Learning Environment: Goal: $15M, Total Raised: $9.8M; Program Enrichment: Goal: $5M, Total Raised: $1M; Total: Goal: $45M, Total Raised: 61.7M;

In 2016, contributions that will be invested in the
UM Foundation's endowment*
totaled $21.4M.

Fiscal Year End Endowment Balance: $167.3M

*Endowment [defined]: Gifts that are invested in perpetuity in order to produce income, which is then used to support a designated fund.


The endowment includes funds specified for:

chairs and professorships
faculty fellowships
scholarships and fellowships

Being perpetual in nature, these funds have an
incredible impact, ensuring a bright future at UM.


Every Donor has a Story

A Lifetime of Generosity

At the 2016 President’s Club Dinner, the UM Foundation honored two of its most dedicated donors with the prestigious Order of the Grizzly award. The award recipients, Bill and Phyllis Bouchee, have supported UM for more than 30 years and are known throughout Missoula for their involvement and generosity.

Bouchee Family photo

In 2001, the Bouchees established the Bill and Phyllis Bouchee Scholarship for a Montana student majoring in finance, which has since grown to provide three full-tuition scholarships each year. Just over 10 years later, the couple created the Bill and Phyllis Bouchee Family Football Scholarship for student-athletes. To date, 24 students have received scholarships thanks to the Bouchees.

“Bill and Phyllis have provided incredible support to the University,” said Shane Giese, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “The personal investments they have made over the years have had an exceptional and tangible impact on campus.”

Scott Burke, who had been mentored by Bill as a young professional, presented Bill and Phyllis with the award.

“Bill has a bigger heart than most people,” Burke said. “And Phyllis is half that heart. They’re very, very good people.”

The Order of the Grizzly award recognizes those who have made a significant impact on UM through their leadership and philanthropy. Bill and Phyllis exemplify these criteria not only through their financial investments, but through their volunteer service to the University.

Since graduating, Bill has served as a member of the Grizzly Scholarship Association, Business Advisory Council, Business Drive Committee and National Advisory Board of Grizzly Athletics. Phyllis volunteered with the UM Alumni Association and later joined the staff and worked in alumni relations until 2009. She has also been involved in the UM Retiree’s Association. The pair can be spotted at nearly every Griz football and basketball game and continue to be actively engaged in Grizzly Athletics. Both are UM alums and were actively involved in campus life as students. Bill received his bachelor’s in business administration in 1963, lettered in football and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Phyllis was a member of the Mortar Board, Spurs and Kappa Kappa Gamma and graduated in 1965 with a bachelor’s in history and political science.

“We could not be where we’re at today without Bill and Phyllis’ consistent support,” said Kent Haslam, UM director of athletics. “That support is far more than financial – it has come with their own time, talents and passion.”

While the Bouchees are monumental supporters of UM, their philanthropy has touched numerous organizations throughout Western Montana, including the Missoula Art Museum, Community Medical Center, Five Valleys Land Trust, Missoula Food Bank and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Bill and Phyllis previously have received UM’s Community Service Award, and Bill is a former recipient of the Neil S. Bucklew Presidential Service Award and School of Business Administration Distinguished Outstanding Alumnus Award.

The Bouchees’ sons, Mike and Bob Bouchee, are also UM alums, graduating from the School of Business Administration and the College of Humanities and Sciences, respectively.

Pictured above: Members of the Bouchee family celebrate the Order of the Grizzly award at the President’s Club Dinner.

Alumni Invest in the Future

The University of Montana now has its first endowed dean’s position, thanks to the generosity of two UM families who came together to ensure the school will always have strong leadership.

The Burnham and Sprunk families.

Mark Burnham ’84 and Eric Sprunk ’86, together with their families, have each made a $1 million contribution to create the School of Business Administration’s (SoBA) Endowed Dean’s Chair. Their private support enabled SoBA to recruit the school’s new dean, Christopher Shook. The $2 million endowment guarantees that funds to support every dean’s salary and vision will be available in perpetuity.

“UM offers the best undergraduate business education, and the state’s only MBA program. It’s important that we have a strong leader to drive innovation,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “Mark and Eric have made an investment in this school that will pay dividends far into the future.”

Burnham and Sprunk are both SoBA graduates who studied finance and accounting. They never met while they were students at UM, but connected thanks to service with the UM Foundation and a shared passion for advancing SoBA. Several months ago, they met up in Oregon, where they both live, and conversation circled around to the importance of leadership at their beloved alma mater.

“All things flow from the leader of an organization,” says Burnham. “The school has a great reputation… and now we need to find the next great leader to move us forward.”

Sprunk agrees, adding, “Mark was really the catalyst of the idea, but we both feel strongly about leadership and want to give the new dean the ability to drive the advancements that are necessary for the future.”

Both men know a little something about leadership, having built successful careers on the backs of their UM educations. Burnham is the director of finance of Hawthorn Retirement Group LLC, a senior housing company, and managing principal of OZ Cap LLC, an advisory firm. Sprunk, after starting his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, joined NIKE Inc. in 1993 and has been with the company in various management positions ever since, currently serving as chief operating officer.

They have both been engaged with SoBA as volunteers, sharing their professional experience with the Business Advisory Council (Sprunk), the UM Foundation Board of Trustees (Burnham) and with students as guest lecturers.

“I love spending time on campus, especially spending time in the classroom with students,” Sprunk said. “I am a big believer in giving back to the communities that help make you, guide you and develop you.”

Although Burnham and Sprunk spearheaded the idea of endowing the dean’s position, their connection to UM is truly a family affair.

Mark Burnham speaks with members of the media.

Burnham has more than a dozen family members who are alums or associates of UM, including wife Cheryl, a graduate of UM’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy; brother Charlie, also a SoBA alum; sister Mary Burnham Alke, an anthropology major; and Cheryl’s father, John Gordon, who received both a bachelor’s degree in history and his law degree here.

Sprunk’s mother, Rachel Sprunk Smith, was a 1984 UM grad and a longtime volunteer for the University and the UM Alumni Association. His son, Cooper, is currently a business major and plays on the Grizzly football team.

The Burnham family has generously supported faculty teaching and research at both SoBA and the School of Pharmacy. The Sprunk family has given broadly to many areas on campus, including Grizzly Athletics and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, where they created the Rachel Sprunk Smith Scholarship.

“Missoula has a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to many more moments of impact,” Burnham said.

Pictured above (top to bottom): (1) Mark and Cheryl Burnham (left) stand with Blair and Eric Sprunk (right). (2) Mark Burnham speaks with local media.

Historic Spaces,
New Technology

The University of Montana’s College of Humanities and Sciences celebrated the grand opening of six newly remodeled classrooms in the Liberal Arts Building on Sept. 30 and announced the next stage of renovations to the facility.

In the past two years, private investors Dennis and Gretchen Eck have generously contributed nearly $4 million toward the renovations to UM’s Liberal Arts Building. Their most recent $2.6 million pledge will help initiate future phases of the remodel.

Thanks to the Ecks’ ongoing support, the college has created a technology corridor by outfitting six classrooms with enhanced technology to promote flexible learning environments. 

These “smart” classrooms reopened to students and faculty this semester, providing access to advanced audio/visual resources such as a dual-purpose whiteboard “skyfold” wall, Polycom units, an 80-inch monitor and wireless input systems to help facilitate lectures.

Professor and students utilizing the new space.

“I was walking across campus one day, stepped into the building and went back in time 50 years,” said Dennis Eck, former interim CEO and current director at Ulta Salon, Cosmetics, and Fragrance, Inc. “Nothing had been modernized. And I decided to do something about it - something that could serve as a proof of concept for upgrading the University's facilities without changing its characteristic beauty.”

Dennis and Gretchen’s previous gifts have also ensured further renovations, which will launch in December. The next stage, unveiled at Friday’s event, includes enhancing technology in the building’s 120-seat auditorium, creating a new central entrance, remodeling office spaces and designing much-needed student gathering spaces. Additionally, their support has provided for the development of an official master plan to guide the college’s facility upgrades.

“We are grateful for generous visionaries like Dennis and Gretchen Eck, who recognize the value of an education that builds a broad foundation across disciplines,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “The improvements being made to the Liberal Arts Building will be integral to equipping our students with the tools to succeed in the global 21st century.”

The College of Humanities and Sciences fulfills approximately 80 percent of all general education requirements for the University, making the Liberal Arts Building one of the University’s most highly trafficked spaces. The Ecks and the college have envisioned a facility that brings digital technology to faculty and students’ fingertips and allows them to access scholars and educational resources around the world.

“Using the technology of LA 304 allows me to present three to four different pieces of information simultaneously,” said Barbara Weinlich, a visiting associate professor of classics. “Essentially, it provides me a platform for making various thinking dispositions visible. This new learning environment not only meets the expectation of the digital generation but also facilitates the deepening of each student’s understanding of the course content.”

Throughout his career, Dennis has been at the forefront of technological innovation in retail, leading companies like The Vons Companies, Coles Myer, and Ulta Salon, Cosmetics, and Fragrance. His extensive experience as a pioneer in business has led him to believe that technology is an equalizer.

Dennis Eck addresses the crowd

“Because technology is a cost-effective way of transmitting information, data and learning, it removes barriers without decreasing value,” Dennis said. “In a university setting, that value is passing knowledge from a professor to a student. If the technology in the Liberal Arts Building allows that to happen more efficiently, then we’ve accomplished a big part of making education affordable and available in the long term.”

The next phase of facility renovations depends on important infrastructure updates to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as roof repairs and asbestos abatement. As a priority for the University in the next legislative session, this project promises to demonstrate the momentum of private support when coupled with state resources.

The College of Humanities and Sciences – known as the “heart and soul” of the University – encourages and supports teaching and research that cross traditional disciplines in collaborative ways, both within the college and across UM. For more information on supporting the Liberal Arts Building project or the college, call Marci Bozeman at 406-243-2646 or email

Pictured above (top to bottom): (1) Visiting Associate Professor Barbara Weinlich uses new technology in the Liberal Arts Building to teach an Intermediate Latin class. (2) Dennis Eck addresses the crowd at the grand opening of the remodeled classrooms.

Breaking Glass Ceilings & Leaving a Legacy

Legendary newspaperwoman and University of Montana alumna Dorothy Rochon Powers broke glass ceilings throughout the course of her storied career.

1959: First woman to win the Human Interest Storytelling Ernie Pyle Award. 1977: First woman to serve as The Spokane Spokesman-Review’s editorial page editor. 1979: First female president of the UM Foundation board of trustees.

Always leading the way, she served as an inspiration to countless journalists through her dogged nature and fearless and compassionate reporting.

Dorothy Powers in the press room“Dorothy was a pioneer in journalism, demonstrating the power of telling stories about everyday heroes, and inspiring many women in the newsroom and in other careers,” said Peggy Kuhr, former dean of the UM School of Journalism. Kuhr worked with Powers at The Spokesman-Review.

Even after her passing in 2014, Powers inspires others to make a difference. She and her husband, Elwood, made a provision in their will to support incoming UM students.

Their estate gift of $1.1 million has created the Elwood and Dorothy Rochon Powers Scholarship, which will be awarded to graduates of Montana high schools who show financial need and academic merit. Their gift has created an endowed fund that will provide for the scholarship in perpetuity. Another $260,000 will support general University scholarships.

“Dorothy was grateful for her journalism education,” said UM Professor Emeritus Carol Van Valkenburg, “but she wished to provide support that would allow all kinds of students to benefit, as she did, from the great education offered at UM.”

The impact of her generosity will be substantial, as scholarships are a key recruitment tool for the University, and financial assistance enables many students to go to college who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend.

Powers, who grew up in Anaconda, Montana, studied journalism at UM in the early 1940s, when few women entered the profession. In interviews years later, she told how a school administrator even warned the female students away.

“He told us we were entering a man’s field, and that we had no business in it. He said there was no way we’d be anything but society editors.”

The admonition merely fired up Powers. She not only stayed in the college, but also became a news editor at the Kaimin, UM’s student newspaper. Upon graduation in 1943, she immediately got a reporting job at The Spokesman-Review.

In a letter dated January 24, 1944, she wrote, “I am so happy with this job I practically sing all day long. As far as I’m concerned, there just is no equal to journalism as a profession.”

Like women across the country, she filled a position vacated by a man who had gone off to war. She covered everything from the courts to the stockyards, averaging an astonishing 13 articles a day.

Dorothy PowersWhen the war ended, she didn’t head home – she stayed at the newspaper and went on to have a 40-year career that made her a beloved and celebrated local figure.

“I think Dorothy will probably be remembered as one of the legendary figures of Northwest journalism,” said former Spokesman-Review editorial board member Steve Witter in an article published after Powers’ death. “She was an investigative reporter well before the term was invented.”

She specialized in stories that exposed the plight of people like the mentally ill, homeless or incarcerated. Her reporting was highly principled, and she was a natural leader in the newsroom and in the community.

She often credited her parents for instilling a love of literature and writing. Her father had written dispatches from the Philippines and Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and he and Powers’ mother, a teacher, ensured that she and her brother never lacked for reading material.

She honored her father, who raised her after her mother died, with her first substantial gift to UM. In 1959, she donated the $1,000 prize from her Ernie Pyle Award to the University to establish the C.G. Rochon Scholarship, which supports Anaconda High School students who want to study journalism. That scholarship is still awarded to this day. This year’s recipient, Lacee Moodry, is a freshman from Anaconda.

Later, she pledged funds to name a room after her father in Don Anderson Hall, the School of Journalism building completed in 2007.

She said of that gift, “I consider it the most important achievement of my lifetime.”

Pictured above (top to bottom): (1) Dorothy Rochon Powers was one of the few women reporters assigned to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s dedication of McNary Dam. Busy filing a story on the president’s arrival, she chats with Press Secretary James Hagerty in the press room at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Washington, in October 1954. (2) Reporter Dorothy Rochon Powers at work.

Keeping Memories Alive

They met at a Northwest Airlines check-in counter, and she knew she had found her person. Jeff Cole was on his way from Seattle back home to Minnesota, where he was a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Maria Little was an airline agent checking him in. He wrote his phone number on a paper luggage tag and stuck it to the back of his business card.

The timing wasn’t quite right, but they stayed in touch. Over the next decade, they became best friends. In 1999, the stars finally aligned, and they were married. It was 17 months of absolute perfection until tragedy struck – he died in a plane crash at the age of 45.

In the devastating aftermath, Maria Cole determined to honor his memory by living out the dream they had both shared – moving to Montana, building a home and giving something back to the community. Jeff was born in Butte and graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism, and UM held a special place in his heart. It became Maria’s special place, too. She took a job at UM as a recruitment manager, then the coordinator for diversity retention and recruitment. She came to appreciate Montana all on her own.

When she decided to retire last April, Maria had some time to think not only about the future, but about the past.

“I boxed up everything of Jeff’s after he died,” she said. “There were over 35 boxes of materials. I tried for years to go through them – I just couldn’t do it. Finally, this summer, I did.”

Maria Cole and Jake GreenWhat she found was a treasure trove from his 21- year career as a reporter at newspapers, including the Missoulian, Pioneer Press and The Wall Street Journal. Notebooks, story drafts, source interviews, even receipts from reporting trips.

“You could follow it and see the progression, how a story goes from draft to final product,” said Maria. “You can see the entire writing process.”

Now this collection has a permanent home at UM’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections. Archivist Donna McCrea anticipates cataloging the collection and making it accessible by fall 2016.

Donating the collection is just one of the ways that Maria has honored Jeff’s memory and given back to UM. In the years since Jeff’s death, she has created the Jeff Cole Distinguished Lecture, which brings a renowned journalist to campus for a public talk each year, and the Jeff Cole Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a promising journalism student.

She recently made a provision in her will to ensure long-term support for these areas, as well as support for the Archives and Special Collections and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, where she devoted much of her time as a UM employee.

She recently made a provision in her will to ensure long-term support for these areas, as well as support for the Archives and Special Collections and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, where she devoted much of her time as a UM employee.

She feels her gifts are all connected – that being more aware of diversity policies and issues can help journalists excel at their careers, and that well-informed and educated journalism students will be more thoughtful, engaged reporters.

And she is exceedingly humble about her ability to give back.

“I feel so honored. I mean, who gets to do this? I feel so blessed to be in this position to do good things.”

Pictured above: Maria Cole and Jake Green, a recipient of the Jeff Cole Memorial Scholarship.

Stronger Together

In nature it’s known as symbiosis, the beneficial relationship between two organisms. Sometimes in research, university faculty members are fortunate enough to have a similar relationship with an organization that wants to fund specific research.

Megan Fylling lookgin through binoculars Megan Fylling is one such researcher at the University of Montana. Fylling works for the UM Bird Ecology Lab in the Division of Biological Sciences and studies songbirds with the generous support of the MPG Ranch. The ranch, founded in 2009 by a generous philanthropist and situated on more than 10,000 acres in the Bitterroot Valley, works with researchers and scientists, like Fylling, to restore and protect large landscapes for wildlife habitat.

For Fylling, support from the MPG Ranch means doing research she would otherwise not be able to do in a setting that is dedicated to conservation.

"The MPG Ranch provides the funding and a mechanism for the UM Bird Ecology Lab to conduct bird monitoring and original research. The support of the ranch has led to on-the-ground restoration monitoring, songbird migration work, breeding bird research, and an education outlet that would otherwise not be possible," Fylling said.

Philip Ramsey, UM graduate and former assistant professor in DBS, has spent most of his professional career protecting, preserving and restoring western ecosystems. As ranch manager, Ramsey helps shepherd funding from the ranch to UM researchers.

"We fund projects that bring about a greater understanding of ecosystems," Ramsey said. "We are happy to work with researchers at UM."

Megan Fylling lookgin through binoculars The ranch employs its own staff of scientists who work directly with UM faculty to develop strategies to improve land restoration practices, decrease invasive species and inventory flora and fauna on the ranch. In addition to Fylling, MPG supports the research of six other UM faculty members across disciplines to study everything from songbirds to small mammals to floodplain ecosystems and cutthroat trout. MPG scientists and UM faculty work on the ground at the ranch to try to understand its ecology and make discoveries that have long-term impacts on species and habitat.

"Because a strong working relationship between the MPG Ranch and UM Bird Ecology Lab exists, we are able to promote and conduct work that has significant conservation implications for wildlife in Montana," Fylling said.

MGP’s support has leveraged Fylling’s work and allowed her secure other important funding.

"The funding we get from MPG has led to other opportunities for us," Fylling said. "Their support is a very big deal for us."

Pictured above (top to bottom): (1) Megan Fylling watches for Gray Catbirds after their long migration back to Montana. (2) Students observe as researchers band and measure a Bullock’s Oriole at the MPG Ranch.


On behalf of all of us at the University of Montana,
thank you for making the big dreams possible.


Thank You

University of Montana Foundation