Greetings From Our New President
A Billings native, Joe Whittinghill is a 1984 graduate of Billings Central High School and a 1989 graduate in political science from UM where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Following graduation, Joe worked for UM as a student recruiter, then as associate executive director of development for the UM Foundation. He left the University in 1995 to attend business school and joined a management-consulting firm. Joe now lives in Seattle and is a Group Manager of Microsoft’s Management Development Group.
I am honored to serve as president of The University of Montana Alumni Association as we continue our second century of service to UM. I am excited about our association and its volunteers—whether they serve on the board, in the House of Delegates, as satellite TV party hosts, or as local representatives working with the great UMAA staff. We are holding more events, helping recruit students, participating in legislative affairs and supporting more student services like Ask-an-Alum and Griz Grad Send-Off than ever before. These programs focus on carrying out the association’s mission of identifying and serving the needs of the University, its alumni, students and friends.
UM has played a significant role in my life and prepared me well—both professionally and personally. No matter where I travel, I meet alumni and friends of UM and an instant connection occurs. While we may venture far from Missoula, our hearts remain there.
Think about the people you met at UM who helped you get to where you are today. I think of faculty who taught me how to think creatively and seek understanding, of staff members who went the extra mile to get me into a class or handle a housing issue, and of fellow students who shared their class notes with me on days when the river called more strongly than the Liberal Arts Building. Keeping in touch with these folks keeps these connections alive. One way to do this is through the Alumni Association. If you aren’t already a dues-paying member of UMAA, become one. The more members, the more the association can do.
My hope is that you make time this year to participate in an alumni activity. These events are a fun way to reconnect with people who shared the UM experience. Whether in the 1920s or the 1990s, stories about freshman year dorm life have a familiar ring. Share your opinion and time, whether directly as a volunteer or by sending an e-mail to a board member or directly to UM. The more you are involved in our University the stronger it becomes.
A favorite Irish quote speaks of the need to roll up our sleeves to get the job done: Nodding the head does not row the boat. I ask you—whether alumna, alumnus, friend, supporter, student, staff, faculty or administrator—to find ways to make the University and the Alumni Association even better. UM is a treasure. Let’s work to keep it that way. Get Involved…Stay Involved.
19-20 House of Delegates Meeting, Missoula
20-21 Homecoming Griz vs. Idaho State; 1962 Class Reunion
5 Griz vs U. of Idaho, Tailgate, Moscow, Idaho
11 Alumni Event, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
12 Griz vs Weber State, Tailgate, Ogden, Utah
26 Griz vs Portland State, Tailgate, Portland
10 Alumni Event, Chicago
16 Griz vs Eastern Wash., Tailgate, Spokane
23 Griz-Cat Football, Missoula; Satellite TV Gatherings
28 Great Alaska Shootout, Anchorage
The UM Alumni Association has as its mission statement “to identify and meet the needs of the University, its alumni, students and friends.” The association has been doing just that since its founding in 1901. The association’s board of directors made the strategic decision to increase outreach programming to the growing alumni base. This increased level of activity—at the regional, national and international levels—influences all our funding. The directors continue to look at all appropriate revenue-generating activities, including increasing the alumni endowment fund. As a consequence, the association’s budget has grown from $40,000 in 1989 to more than $300,000 at the beginning of the 2002/2003 fiscal year. Part of this budget supports alumni recognition programs such as Distinguished Alumni Awards, Montana Alumni Awards and Community Service Awards. The accompanying charts indicate revenue raised and corresponding expenditures in fiscal year 2001/2002.
Alert Reader Scores on Birthday Gift
By Betsy Holmquist
Remember the time you received the perfect birthday gift? The gift you thought you’d never, ever get?
Remember the “Found UM Class Ring” item in the last Montanan?
When Fred G. McDaniel ’94, Camden, South Carolina, turned thirty-one last May, the first birthday gift his wife, Mary Kuhlmann McDaniel ’93, had him open was a small package from the UM Alumni Office. “He just looked at it,” Mary wrote, “then at me with the funniest look on his face. Is this mine?” Fred asked. “I didn’t say anything,” Mary continued, “and had him look further into the box—at the note [from Alumni Director Bill Johnston] and the found-ring story.”
Fred’s mother had bought him a class ring as a graduation gift in 1994. Within a month, however, the ring was lost. By the end of that year, Fred and Mary had gotten married and moved from Charleston to James Island. In 1995, a workman at the McDaniels’ former home found the ring in a pile of building materials near the driveway.
He gave it to his wife, who put the ring in her jewelry box for safekeeping. Fred, meanwhile, tried reordering a replacement—no luck—and found it difficult to admit to his mother why he wasn’t wearing her graduation gift.
Late last year, Eva Tobias, the woman with the ring, returned it to the UM Alumni Office and we ran the story. On Friday, May 10, Mary McDaniel called our office after reading the item in the spring 2002 Montanan. She identified the ring and mentioned Fred’s birthday, the following Monday. “We’ll get it there,” Bill promised and off went the ring.
“Fred kept swearing that he had his name engraved inside,” Mary continued, “but we decided something may have rubbed it out. The next morning I remembered we still had the original receipt filed away. I dug it out and sure enough, it did say that he’d had his name engraved. We took the ring into the bright light of a window and there it was. You can very faintly make out his name. That made it all even more surreal to him. It’s been a great story to tell and thanks for getting it sent overnight. Fred says it’s one of the coolest surprises he’s ever gotten!”
Fred, director of assessment for the Richland School District, and Mary have two children, daughter Zoë, two, and newly arrived son, Zane, born, June 26—another delightful gift for the McDaniels family this year.