Around the Oval
Take the Scenic Route
On your way to a Griz game this fall, take a detour and check out the artifacts, trophies, photos, and other memorabilia in UM’s new Hall of Champions, located near the entrance of the John Hoyt Complex in the Adams Center. Ribbon cutting for the project is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, before the UM-Idaho football game.
The Hall of Champions project is spearheaded by the National Advisory Board for Grizzly Athletics, a group formed last fall by Wayne Hogan, UM’s director of athletics. It aims to tell more than 100 years of Griz history—from the 1995 and 2001 Division I-AA national championship football teams to Fred Stetson’s 1966 swim team, which captured the first of nine consecutive Big Sky titles. Display cases, graphics, and videos highlight the achievements of former Grizzly athletes and teams from several different sports, including those no longer sponsored by the University.
“We’re going to recognize all sports, past and present,” says Brad Kliber, chairman of NABGA. “It’s going to be something all Grizzly fans will enjoy.”
And there’s more yet to come. According to Jim O’Day, director of development for UM athletics, the project’s next phase will be interactive video, where a visitor can push a button and watch highlights of past games. Now we’re talking.
Loggers, environmentalists, firefighters, and government officials gathered this June in Missoula for the Western Montana Governors’ Association forest health summit. Four hundred people from twenty-two states, including Secretary of Interior Gale Norton and U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, convened at the Holiday Inn Parkside. They were welcomed by Montana Governor Judy Martz, saying she believed westerners are ready to sit down and work out their long-standing disagreements over how the national forests should be managed.
The second day found summit-goers taking a bus tour of the fuel-reduction work at UM’s Lubrecht Experimental Forest, the Big Larch Campground at Seeley Lake, and the Clearwater Stewardship Project twelve miles north of Seeley Lake.
During his presentation, UM Forestry Dean Perry Brown said one side of the ongoing debate about forest management offers overly simplified solutions to the wildfire problem: “Let’s just go in there and thin all the forests.” The other side, he continued, focuses on the “perceived evils of big industry and government agencies.” He hoped the summit would “give people some examples that go beyond the rhetoric.”
After hours of presentations and a day spent in the field, summit attendees broke up into smaller groups and drafted a list of recommendations to the governors—suggestions for improving fire prevention and suppression, reducing hazardous fuels, restoring healthy forests, improving collaboration and stabilizing communities. These will be considered at the association’s annual meeting this September at Big Sky.
‘She is a Sister To Me’
Meet Patrick Calf Looking, class of 2003. Father of four. Master’s degree candidate. Cancer survivor. In the audience as Patrick steps up to receive his diploma at UM’s commencement ceremony are a dozen or two family members, including his children, quietly proud parents, fist-pumping cousins, and teary-eyed siblings. Perhaps, though, the heartiest cheers in the Calf Looking bloc come from Deb White, a California woman who, until graduation weekend, was a complete stranger to the family that surrounds her. But Deb has a connection to the Calf Lookings that surpasses conventional ones. She saved Patrick’s life.
Patrick’s youngest child, nine-year-old Nigel, says it best: “My dad wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.”
Patrick’s journey began with a cough. Then unexplained bruises. Finally, the devastating news that Patrick, at thirty-six, suffered from acute myelogenous leukemia. The diagnosis was made in spring 1998. In short order, the ensuing chemotherapy and radiation treatments rendered Patrick too weak and ill to maintain his community college teaching job; his marriage fell apart; and his sister Cassie was diagnosed with the same disease—against all medical odds, since AML is not a genetic disease.
“My faith was shaken,” says Patrick, remembering the calamities that befell him. His cancer came back. Then Cassie died at the University of Washington Medical Center—where Patrick also was a patient—weeks after receiving a bone marrow transplant. But Patrick’s luck was about to change, because of Deb, who had been on the National Marrow Donor Program’s donor list for several years.
“I thought if I have something that can help others, I should give,” Deb says of her decision to join the program.
Shortly before Cassie died, the marrow donor program determined that Deb and Patrick were a perfect match. Deb was notified in California and her blood was drawn and shipped to the medical center, where arrangements had been made for Patrick to undergo a stem cell transplant, a procedure the doctors had determined was the best one for their patient. They were right.
After a lengthy recovery, Patrick returned home to Browning. One day, while visiting his sister’s grave, Patrick decided to turn his life in a new direction. With the encouragement of Penny Kukuk, his former UM adviser, he enrolled in UM’s graduate biology program. He and Deb were now communicating regularly by e-mail and telephone, but hadn’t met face-to-face.
Then Patrick’s graduation announcement arrived in Deb’s mailbox. “I knew I had to go,” says Deb, who flew to Missoula with her husband and daughter in time for an emotional reunion with Patrick and his family before the weekend began. “I felt so honored that he would want to know me, take me into his family . . . .”
His tassel turned and diploma in hand, Patrick saves the biggest hug for his new blood relative. And as the ceremony winds down, the family re-groups to drive to Browning, where the Calf Lookings plan to honor Deb and her family with a feast of roast buffalo.
And there’s more. An adopted child, Deb was always curious about whose blood she shared. With Patrick’s encouragement, Deb successfully located her birth mother and, during an emotionally charged reunion, learned about her Spanish and American Indian ancestry. “The donor program gave me and my daughter our heritage,” Deb says.
“Look what I’ve gotten back as a donor . . . all these wonderful people,” Deb says, her dark eyes shining with emotion.
“What Deborah has done for me and my family, words cannot express,” says Patrick, who plans to return to the Blackfeet reservation and continue research he began while in graduate school. “She is a sister to me.” - Paddy MacDonald
Leader of the Pack
UM President George Dennison recently was elected to lead the Inland Northwest Research Alliance, a consortium of eight research universities in the Northwest. INRA is a nonprofit, scientific and education organization formed to promote science and engineering research. The organization focuses on research studies likely to result in practical applications, such as water treatments, soil remediation, and forest fire prevention.
INRA was formed in 1999 by presidents of the eight universities. Since then the organization has garnered more than $10 million in research funding.
Greetings from the President
Trivial pursuit continues as a popular pastime in some circles. What do Jess Roskelley, Garry South, and Sheila Stearns have in common? They all attended UM but have distinguished themselves in very different ways. This issue of the Montanan features these three alums and their accomplishments. In a sense, they serve as exemplars of a long line of people who have made the most of all that the University offers. Every university thrives on the reputation of its alumni, and this University has prospered because of the dedication and commitment of those who succumb to its allure.
As an alumnus, I take great pride in the tradition of excellence represented by Roskelley, South, and Stearns. In addition, I continue to believe—as I tell students from time to time—there is nothing like changing your status from student to president. This coming year will mark fourteen years for me in that role. I recently visited with Frank and Ada Clapp in California about Frank’s father, Charles, who set the record as the longest serving president, just short of fourteen years. They provided encouragement for me to try for the new record. I intend to do so. The Clapps and I think it right and proper that a graduate of the institution will have the new record.
With best wishes and appreciation,
If you’re growing tomatoes the size of basketballs, or if the fig tree in your living room ate your dog, it could be the result of plant-friendly, global climate changes that have been occurring over the last twenty years, concludes a NASA and Department of Energy study.
According to Ramakrishna Nemani, associate director of UM’s Numerical Terra-dynamic Simulation Group and lead author of the study that appeared recently in Science magazine, climactic changes are a leading cause for increases in plant growth.
The article states that the changes have provided extra doses of water, heat, and sunlight in areas where one or more of those ingredients may have been lacking. In regions where temperatures restricted plant growth it became warmer. Where sunlight was needed, clouds dissipated. And in drier areas, it rained more. In the Amazon, where cloud cover blocked sunlight, the skies have become less cloudy. In India, where a billion people depend on rain, the monsoons were more dependable. But the study cautions that no one knows whether these positive impacts are because of short-term climate cycles or longer-term, global climate changes.
“Systematic observation of global vegetation is being continued by NASA’s Earth-observing satellites,” says Steve Running, a co-author and director of the simulation group. “Earth-observing satellites are paving the way to find out if these biospheric responses are going to hold for the future.” - Paddy MacDonald
Advocate for Native Americans
UM alumna Thelma Stiffarm ’70 recently was appointed assistant administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Native American Affairs. Stiffarm financed her college education by working as a stylist in beauty salons, where she learned firsthand the challenges of keeping a small business alive. She reports that four decades later she will use that knowledge to help similar small businesses. She also plans to engage tribal colleges and tribal leaders in her efforts.
Previously, Stiffarm was program administrator of the Tribal Government Program in the Customer Liaison Office at the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington, D.C., and before that, executive director of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council in Billings. An attorney, she taught Native American Studies at Montana State University-Billings and owned Thomas Management and Training, a business that specialized in providing legal seminars to tribal governments and federal agencies.
“We are very fortunate to have Thelma Stiffarm on our team as an advocate for Native Americans across the country,” SBA Administrator Hector Barreto wrote in a news release announcing her appointment. “With her long history of dedication to the interests of the Native American community, I know she will bring a strong sense of purpose to the job.”
A member of the Gros Ventre tribe, Stiffarm grew up in Box Elder.
2003 Griz Greats
UM’s Alumni Association has announced this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, the association’s highest honor. Gary L. Graham, Phillip J. Janik, James D. Keyser, and Nelson “Jerry” Weller will receive their awards at the 2003 Homecoming celebration October 3.
Gary L. Graham, J.D. ’69
Graham is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Montana Pattern Jury Instruction Commission, a recipient of the Distinguished Attorney award from the Western Montana Bar Association, a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and a volunteer at UM School of Law and the YWCA’s battered women and children programs. He has practiced law for more than thirty years with Garlington, Lohn & Robinson in Missoula.
Phillip J. Janik, B.S. forestry ’67
Janik spent thirty-five years in federal service helping set national policy direction for the Forest Service. As the Alaska Regional Forester, he updated a forest plan for the Tongass National Forest. He was a naval officer for twelve years, seven of those on active duty. Janik is a member of the UM Ask-an-Alum program. Now retired, he lives with his wife, Pat, in Vancouver, Washington. They have three grown children, Kim, Scott and Mike, and a foster son, Sinh, a Vietnamese refugee who lived with the family for five years.
James D. Keyser, B.A. anthropology ’72; M.A. anthropology ’74
A regional archaeologist for the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. Forest Service, Keyser is recognized internationally as the pre-eminent expert on North American prehistoric rock art, archeology, and cultural history. He has made groundbreaking studies on bison jumps and the ledger art, ceramic chronologies, and long-term occupation sites of the Plains Indians. Current interests include French cave art and Italian rock art. Keyser lives in Portland, Oregon.
Nelson S. Weller, B.A. economics ’58
A member of Sigma Nu fraternity while at UM, Weller went on to a career in equity research, money management, and investment banking. Weller has served as a trustee for the UM Foundation and is currently on the advisory board for UM’s Davidson Honors College. He has been president of the Commonwealth Club of California and the Security Analysts of San Francisco. He and his wife, Jane, own Longview Vineyards in the Alexander Valley, near Healdsburg, California, where they live.
Hundreds of literary-minded folks across the state are reading, discussing, and maybe arguing about Winter Wheat, the 1944 novel penned by Mildred Walker and chosen by the Montana Center for the Book as its inaugural One Book Montana selection.
“We wanted something that was about Montana that would speak to people about the past and the present,” says Mark Sherouse, director of the Montana Center for the Book. “I think it speaks to a reality that’s still with us.”
Winter Wheat, a coming-of-age story set in Montana’s dryland wheat country near the dawn of the Second World War, tells the tough, hardscrabble truth about wheat ranching and what the spirit needs to withstand the physical and emotional vagaries it can involve.
Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Radio, co-sponsors of the program, have been featuring on-air readings and call-in discussions of the book. In addition, there are statewide book activities, study questions, and a reading guide, all listed in the program’s Web site. Ripley Schemm Hugo, the writer’s daughter and an author herself, will participate in special events featuring Winter Wheat during the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula this September.
One of Montana Center for the Book’s core beliefs is that literature “brings us closer together and gives us deeper understanding of each other,” says Kim Anderson, program coordinator. “We believe the One Book program can be a valuable part of that process. Winter Wheat touches on aspects of the western experience that ring a chord in many of us.”
Visit www.montanabook.org/onebook.htm for a closer look at what’s sweeping Montana. - Paddy MacDonald
Citing her proven track record in Montana, the state Board of Regents unanimously approved the appointment in June of Sheila M. Stearns as Montana’s next commissioner of higher education, filling the position vacated by Richard Crofts, who retired in February.
Stearns was raised in Glendive and earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at UM-Missoula. After working as a librarian in the Missoula Public School system, Stearns held positions as UM’s director of Alumni Relations and vice president of University Relations before becoming chancellor at UM-Western, a position she held from 1993 to 1999. Most recently, Stearns served as president of Wayne State College in Nebraska.
“Stearns brings the needed experience and knowledge to the position at this critical juncture for public education in Montana,” says Board of Regents Chairman Ed Jasmin. “She’s had extensive legislative experience in Montana. She knows the system.”
Stearns, who says her longtime love of her home state prompted her to apply for the state’s top higher education position, hopes to use her communication and diplomacy skills to build a bridge between the legislature and the University system.
UM welcomed two new vice presidents over the summer: Teresa Branch is the University’s new vice president for student affairs and Daniel J. Dwyer takes the helm as vice president for research and development.
Branch comes to Missoula from Ames, Iowa, where she was associate vice president for student affairs at Iowa State University. She replaces Barbara Hollmann, who retired from UM after twenty-three years of service.
Dwyer’s most recent position was vice provost for research at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He replaces T. Lloyd Chesnut, who left UM to assume a similar position at the University of North Texas in Denton.