Blue & Gold News from Montana State University President Cruzado


Today I’m delighted to share fantastic news about your university: Spring enrollment at Montana State set a new all-time record, with 16,110 students attending classes at the state’s largest university. It’s the first time in MSU’s 131-year history that the spring headcount has surpassed 16,000 and the first time in the state’s history any university has achieved this milestone. The new total represents a 3% increase over last spring, or 393 students.

It’s also the fourth consecutive year of spring enrollment growth for Montana State, and the eighth year in a row that the spring total has topped 15,000 students. MSU is the largest university in the state of Montana and enrolls more Montanans than any college or university in the state, public or private.

We are immensely proud of this spring enrollment because it shows how hard students are working to pursue higher education, stay enrolled and make progress toward their college degree from Montana State University. We know that a university degree also offers countless benefits and transforms lives. College graduates fortify our communities, state and nation, and we are both thrilled and honored that students choose Montana State as the place where their journeys will begin.

Your university is also celebrating¬†Founders Day, and it’s a terrific opportunity to be reminded why we do what we do. Montana State University was founded February 16, 1893, as one of the nation’s original land-grant colleges authorized by the landmark Morrill Act of 1862. Since then, MSU has been dedicated to our three pillars of education, research and outreach. We are honored to provide access to life-changing higher education that has the potential to transform lives and communities.

As part of our celebration of this important mission, each year, Montana State University honors its dedicated advisers, teachers and researchers with annual awards recognizing achievements in faculty research, teaching, community outreach and creative projects. I wish to congratulate all these outstanding individuals! More information about each of the award-winners is available at

Also this week, 40 of MSU’s top seniors and their faculty and staff mentors will be recognized Friday, Feb. 16, at the 42nd annual Founders Day Awards for Student Excellence. Students are nominated by faculty in their respective colleges or departments and must have at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrated campus leadership and community service. The honored students then each select a mentor who will be recognized with them at the event. To view this year’s award-winners, please visit Congratulations!



We are delighted to welcome Jason Browning as MSU’s first chief data officer. Browning, previously senior director of partner technology with the higher education consulting firm EAB, is a business intelligence and analytics expert with experience helping universities sort through data to make strategic decisions. He will begin his role at MSU on April 15. Dr. Browning’s experience in examining and effectively presenting data will help Montana State make better informed decisions that ultimately further our goals and help our students succeed.

MSU is collaborating on an ongoing project to help Indigenous people prosper alongside buffalo at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The project has received a four-year, $5 million grant to improve herd and grasslands health, expand acreage and workforce for the Fort Peck Turtle Mound Buffalo Ranch, and support ongoing community-building intended to rejuvenate tribes’ connections with buffalo. MSU’s portion of the grant, approximately $1 million, will help expand an existing trail at the ranch and go toward buffalo and native plants science education.

John Paxton, a computer science professor and director of MSU’s Gianforte School of Computing in the Norm Asbsjornson College of Engineering, has been named student Advisor of the Year by oSTEM, a national organization whose acronym stands for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A faculty member since 1990 and adviser of MSU’s student chapter of oSTEM since its formation in 2017, Paxton helps chapter members with their professional and personal development. The mission of oSTEM is to help members of the LGBTQ+ STEM community lead more successful lives in the professional, academic and personal realms.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Transportation and Development Institute has awarded Kelvin Wang its 2024 James Laurie Prize. Wang is the director of the Western Transportation Institute at MSU and a professor of civil engineering in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering. The award recognizes Wang’s leadership in transportation engineering research and his contributions to advanced technologies, including 3D laser imaging and AI-based solutions. Wang has more than 30 years of experience in transportation and civil engineering.



Save the date! Bestselling author Margot Lee Shetterly will visit MSU on Oct. 30 as part of the second annual President’s Crossing Boundaries Speaker Series. Shetterly will deliver a talk, “Hidden Figures: Breaking Barriers Within STEM,” with a question-and-answer session and book signing to follow. Shetterly is the author of the bestseller “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” which recounts the true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped make possible some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Shetterly will be the final speaker in the second annual President’s Crossing Boundaries Speaker Series at MSU. Through the series of lectures, MSU welcomes speakers to campus who have gone on remarkable journeys to cross seemingly impassible boundaries. All three events are free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

Registration is open for the MSU Leadership Institute’s upcoming workshop, “The Humor Habit,” led by author and humor strategist Paul Osincup. The workshop will focus on the themes of humor and leadership. It aims to help attendees feel confident in communicating and learn how to appropriately use humor in everyday life and leadership settings. The workshop will take place Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Strand Union Building, Ballroom A, and will be followed by a reception. Registration costs $5 and is open to MSU students, faculty and staff and to the public.

The Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success at MSU will host its Spring 2024 Job and Internship Fair with events throughout February that will connect students with potential internship and career opportunities. The fair is open to MSU students, faculty and staff. It allows students to step into the hiring process before graduation and comprises a series of events where students can meet, network and potentially interview with employers, all without leaving campus.

The Montana Innovation Partnership at MSU’s TechLink Center will host “Innovate Here,” a one-day virtual conference March 7 focused on key technology industries in Montana, such as bioscience, photonics and quantum technologies. The conference aims to connect Montana and regional entrepreneurs who are working on advanced technology with information that can aid in commercializing new research. More information, including a schedule of events, is at

Please don your Blue and Gold and join us for our upcoming women’s and men’s Bobcat basketball home games. Our men’s team will host Portland State on Feb. 22, followed by Sacramento State on Feb. 24. Our women’s team will host Idaho on Feb. 29, followed by Eastern Washington on March 2. Meanwhile, our Bobcat men’s and women’s ski teams will compete in the RMISA Championships Feb. 23-25. The schedule includes giant slalom and slalom races at Big Sky Resort on Feb. 23 and 24 and freestyle and classic Nordic races at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center on Feb. 24 and 25. Last but not least, best of luck to the members of our women’s and men’s track and field teams, who will be competing at the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships set for Feb. 22-24 in Spokane, Washington. Go, ‘Cats, Go!



MSU is offering a free program to help entrepreneurs take their business ideas to the next level. The Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship‘s 406 Labs is accepting applications for its spring 2024 incubator. The 10-week program aims to help those who have developed business concepts or researched a potential new business to create solid business plans and identify the steps needed to clarify their approach to markets, customers, strategy, financials and more. Montana residents and MSU students, faculty, staff and alumni are eligible to apply for the program. MSU faculty and graduate students with research projects working toward commercialization of a technology are especially encouraged to apply.

In Blue and Gold,

Waded Cruzado

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University




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

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