Impact of Giving

Your gifts make a difference at UM every day. That's why we chose to share some stories about the impact of private gifts - stories that illustrate how your support helps students engage with the world and connect to our culture - and stories that show how giving back transforms lives. Read a few of our stories here, and explore the rest of our website for even more stories about the impact of your giving.

Engaged with the World

Peregrine FrissellGrowing up in Polson, Mont., junior Peregrine Frissell knew there was more to the world than the small, comfortable town he knew. Now as a Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) Fellow, his dreams of exploring the world are coming to fruition.

“In high school many concepts are abstract,” says Frissell. “With my GLI experience, I have been able to experience how much work it takes for movements to grow and make a difference.”

Frissell is actively involved as a senator in the Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) and as a student representative for the GLI Student Group. He is part of the Davidson Honors College, and a resident assistant in Miller Hall, further testing his leadership abilities.

“Being part of GLI and student government at UM has been an awesome opportunity,” says Frissell. “I have learned so much about working with others and I have been able to get my foot in the door in a really constructive way. There is still so much to learn, but it is so inspiring.”

After a summer spent in England, through the Fulbright Summer Institute—studying art, culture and creative writing—the journalism major, with a minor in climate change studies, says his experience at the Univeristy has been inspiring.

Connected to Our Culture

The University of Montana sits in the heart of American Indian country. Now UM is forging a new path by providing scholarship about the culture, sovereignty and people who have called Montana home since time immemorial.

DrummerAt the new Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, housed in the Payne Family Native American Center, students will engage in project-based learning and outreach. Delving into the complexities of American Indian culture and connection to the land, the institute will provide a unique academic experience regarding some of the state’s first people.

Named in honor of an important advocate for native rights, Cobell was also a member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana. She died in 2011, after decades of work securing a $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement from the federal government.

Terry Payne, whose family was the lead donor for UM’s Payne Family Native American Center building, also provided the launching gift for the Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute—the academic initiative now memorializing Cobell’s legacy. An alumnus of UM, Payne is the founder of Terry Payne & Co., Inc., and chairman of PayneWest Insurance, an independent agency based in Missoula.

“UM students will graduate with greater ability to contribute to their communities,” says Payne. “I am eager to see how the future of Native American land rights and management evolves because of the teaching and learning at this new institute.”

Transformed by Generosity

One thing is clear. Destiny Durment, from Shelby, Mont., is a Destiny Durmentself-starter. She kept busy in high school as a three-sport athlete, president of her 4-H Club, Key Club vice president and more. Now, Destiny is the inaugural recipient of the Baker-Black Scholarship.

“My family really believes that you have to work for the reward,” says Durment. “I have been showing my Yorkshire pigs for the past five years in 4-H, then sending them to market to save money for college. This scholarship gives me such a boost.”

Sandra Hanson Straus created the scholarship as a tribute to her family members who homesteaded in north-central Montana.

“Destiny embodies the spirit of our intent when we provided this gift,” says Straus. “It is a different era, but she has the pioneer drive to work hard for success.”