Blue & Gold News from Montana State University President Cruzado


It has been a wonderful and busy spring, with your university hosting numerous groundbreaking celebrations for future buildings that will provide transformative opportunities for MSU students from across our great state and beyond.

Earlier today, we broke ground for a new building that will house the Gianforte School of Computing and provide space for computing-related fields, including cybersecurity, film, photography and music technologies. The three-story building is possible thanks to a $50 million gift from the Gianforte Family Foundation. The building, named Gianforte Hall, will feature two large classrooms, as well as laboratories dedicated to robotics, cybersecurity, augmented and virtual reality, data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. A video production studio will be available, as will an audio recording facility.

To date, your university has also broken ground for four new MSU nursing education buildings in Great Falls, Missoula, Bozeman and Billings. Next week, on April 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we’ll hold our fifth and final groundbreaking ceremony for our nursing college in Kalispell.

Currently, the MSU Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing operates out of leased buildings in Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula. The new, MSU-owned buildings will feature modern classrooms and labs as well as study areas. They will allow the nursing college to grow its enrollment and counter the state’s projected nursing shortage by the year 2030.

Construction of the buildings will be funded by a portion of the historic $101 million philanthropic investment made to MSU in 2021 by Mark and Robyn Jones. The land for four of the building sites was donated by health care partners — Billings Clinic and Intermountain Health St. Vincent Regional Hospital in Billings, Benefis Health System in Great Falls, Community Medical Center in Missoula and Logan Health in Kalispell. The Bozeman building will be constructed on the MSU campus.

These buildings represent far more than bricks and mortar. The projects show what strong partnerships with our hospital partners can accomplish. They also represent profound educational opportunities for MSU students and will help ensure that our nursing graduates will be ready to meet the evolving demands of health care. And the impact of these facilities will extend into local communities, across our entire state and beyond. We are proud to be strengthening the future of nursing education in our state.

On a related note, MSU has taken the initiative to seek approval from the Montana Board of Regents to name our new nursing education building on campus in Bozeman as Jones Hall. The naming is in recognition of the generosity of Mark and Robyn Jones, whose investment in MSU will benefit the health and well-being of generations of Montanans. An in-person listening session on the proposed naming will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, in Room 230 of the Strand Union Building at MSU. Public comments on the naming request can also be submitted by letter to University Communications, c/o Name Change Comments, P.O. Box 172220, Bozeman, MT 59717-2220 or by email to [email protected]. Comments are due by Friday, May 10. We appreciate your feedback.


Four undergraduate students from MSU have been awarded prestigious scholarships given by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. MSU’s 2024 Goldwater Scholarship recipients are Heath Caldwell, a junior from Clancy majoring in paleontology and organismal biology; Tyler Delridge, a junior from Missoula majoring in chemical engineering; Amberly Guerrero, a sophomore from Chelan, Washington, double-majoring in chemical and biological engineering; and Amanda Haab, a junior from Helena double-majoring in microbiology and cell biology, and neuroscience. All four are students in MSU’s Honors College. The scholarship comes with up to $7,500 per year for tuition, books and room and board. MSU is one of the top universities nationally in terms of the number of its students who have received the award, with a total of 90 recipients since the scholarship was established in 1989. Congratulations to Heath, Tyler, Amberly and Amanda!

Two faculty members from the MSU Library and one from Gallatin College MSU will work to provide insights into artificial intelligence in the classroom after having been named 2024 Montana University System Teaching Scholars. Jason Clark, professor and head of research optimization, analytics and data services with the Library; Taylor Moorman, assistant professor and instructional technology librarian with the Library; and Kyndra Campbell, head of the Writing and Developmental Humanities program at Gallatin College MSU, were selected in March for the Teaching Scholars program. The program recognizes innovative approaches to teaching and commitment to leading other faculty in excellence in the classroom. The three are among 15 faculty members from around the state honored this year.

Citing growing enrollment, increasing research funding and solid financial management, Standard & Poor’s Global upgraded its credit rating for Montana State University last month to AA- with a stable outlook, the highest rating the university has ever achieved. The upgrade signified the firm’s confidence in the university’s continued stability. MSU is proud of its financial strength and grateful to the people and policies behind our success. This good news is the result of the hard work of many individuals who work day in and day out across all the MSU campuses to be good stewards of the financial resources made available to us for the benefit of our students. Thank you for your efforts!

Tricia Seifert has been selected as the College of Education, Health and Human Development’s new dean after a national search. Seifert has been at MSU since 2014, when she joined the faculty in the College of EHHD. Since then, she has served as a program leader in adult and higher education, as interim director of the Science Math Resource Center, as head of the Department of Education and, since Aug. 2022, as interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development. As Provost Mokwa has noted, her extensive leadership experience, combined with her dedication to student success and innovative research, make her an exceptional choice for this important leadership role. Congratulations!

Dr. Brant Schumaker, director of the Wyoming WWAMI program and professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at the University of Wyoming, has been selected as the new director of the WWAMI Medical Education Program at MSU. He will begin work July 2. WWAMI is a cooperative program with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. It allows Montana students to attend their first two years of medical school at MSU’s WWAMI campus at Bozeman Health and receive their medical degrees from the University of Washington after completing clinical training in both Seattle and Montana. Welcome, Dr. Schumaker!

After 35 years at Montana State University, including a remarkable tenure at the helm of MSU’s Honors College during which she mentored numerous students to major scholarships wins, Ilse-Mari Lee has announced her plans to retire, effective May 15. Dr. Lee has been an integral part of our campus community since 1989, when she came to MSU as a cello professor. She has consistently distinguished herself as a first-rate mentor to some of MSU’s most accomplished students and is known for her excellent work preparing students for prestigious major awards. Under Lee’s guidance, numerous MSU students have won impressive awards such as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Gates-Cambridge, Udall and Goldwater scholarships. Lee is also a scholar and a dedicated teacher and is widely known as a skilled soloist, recitalist and chamber musician as well as an internationally recognized composer. We will miss her greatly and thank Dr. Lee for her extraordinary contributions to our campus community and to the lives of our students.

Huge congratulations are in order for our student-athletes on recent impressive performances. Montana State won the men’s and women’s team titles in both sessions of the MSU Spring Rodeo held April 11-14 at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Bobcat athletes won three events in Sunday’s championship go-round and four of the nine events on the average of the rodeo’s two rounds to seal the team wins. In addition, MSU’s Faith Marshall won the women’s all-around title, while West Shaw won the men’s all-around title.

We also congratulate our Montana State track and field team, whose members recently had a successful weekend of competition in southern California, and our MSU women’s tennis team, which lengthened its current Big Sky Conference winning streak to three matches with a 7-0 sweep of Weber State last weekend here in Bozeman.

Last but not least, our MSU men’s club lacrosse team will be playing at the national championship tournament in Texas May 6-11. This honor represents the culmination of a great deal of hard work, and we are very proud. Congratulations!


We are looking forward to welcoming David Brooks, a bestselling author, New York Times columnist, and recurring commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” to the Strand Union Building Ballrooms at 7 p.m. tomorrow. While in Bozeman, Brooks will meet with community leaders, students and local book clubs about his latest book, “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen,” in which he contends that at the center of any healthy and thriving business, organization, community or nation is the crucial skill of being able to see and value other people. The book aims to provide tools for Americans to move beyond division and polarization and connect with others on a human level. A book-signing in the ballrooms will follow his evening speech. All available tickets for this event have been claimed.

Nearly 900 middle and high school students from 80 teams across Montana will compete at MSU in the Montana Science Olympiad State Tournament on Friday, April 19. The tournament features competitions in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines. Teams from Belgrade, Billings, Bozeman, Chinook, Choteau, Clancy, Conrad, Corvallis, Darby, East Helena, Ennis, Fergus, Fromberg, Gallatin Gateway, Hamilton, Hardin, Harrison, Helena, Huntley Project, Kalispell, Laurel, Lewistown, Libby, Livingston, Manhattan, Noxon, Reed Point, Roundup, Shepherd, Sidney, Thompson Falls and Whitefish, among other communities, are slated to participate.

MSU will host its spring Student Research Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 25, in the Strand Union Building ballrooms. The event is free and open to the public. This celebration, organized by the MSU Undergraduate Scholars Program, will highlight the research of more than 130 undergraduate and graduate students from academic programs across campus. Additionally, campus organizations will be present to share the resources they offer to students.

The Women’s Leadership Conference, hosted by the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, will be held Monday, May 20, in SUB Ballroom A. Registration is currently open, and the conference will feature breakout sessions and guest speakers on the theme of “Leading at Every Level.”


Montana State University has been named the No. 2 military friendly school in the nation in the annual listing published by the website MSU is the highest-ranked public university in its category, and this Top Ten ranking is the highest honor MSU has ever received from the organization. The Military Friendly Schools rankings are determined by a university’s academic policies, military student support, graduation and career outcomes, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, and financial aid and loan repayment for all students, as well as specifically for student veterans. MSU was ranked third nationally in 2022, ninth in 2021, earned a gold ranking in 2020 and a silver ranking in 2016.

In Blue and Gold,

Waded Cruzado

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University




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’11th and Grant’ to premiere new episode featuring Eric Funk on April 18

MSU Symphony Orchestra to perform April 19

Montana State’s College of Letters and Science honors top faculty, staff and students on April 23

Country musician Ian Munsick to perform at Montana State’s Brick Breeden Fieldhouse

Office of the President
216 Montana Hall | P.O. Box 172420 | Bozeman, MT 59717-2420
[email protected] | 406-994-2341
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