Around the Oval
A Paper Phoenix: UM Revives its Book Press
Many former students and faculty members may recall a clattering pandemonium that arose on occasion from the Journalism Building basement as The University of Montana Press cranked out books and other printed materials. The space was cramped, and the hallways often overflowed with paper boxes.
The earliest book credited to the press was published in 1955, but the venture faded in the 1970s. Now the press has been reborn in the modern offices of Printing & Graphic Services in the James E. Todd Building. Last Tango in Melrose, Montana, an anthology of the writings of Dan Vichorek, has been chosen as the first book printed by the revived press.
The new press got rolling in 2004 with the publication of a three-map project and a book produced by Far Country Press. Now a committee of seven has been charged by UM President George Dennison with keeping the venture going.
The Vichorek book is a perfect start to a mission that encompasses celebrating the fabric of Montana--its people, landscape, culture, and art. Last Tango represents the writings of a talented UM graduate who wrote eloquently, and with humor, about Montana's places, farmers, ranchers, and overall way of life. He was a well-known writer who penned many magazine columns.
As the book editor, John Kuglin, states in the introduction: "Like the contents of the mound on Vichorek's incredibly messy desk, you'll find things in this anthology that you never expected." The book is set to publish this spring, and all royalties will fund a UM journalism scholarship in Vichorek's name.
The second work to be released is a book written by UM Professor Rafael Chacon on Montana architect A.J. Gibson, who designed several campus buildings, including the revered Main Hall. Chacon's writing is complemented by a generous collection of black-and-white photos of Gibson's work.
Jim Foley, the University's executive vice president and press committee chair, says, "All necessary elements of each book--editing, proofing, indexing, pre-press, design, and printing--will be done in Montana and spread around the state. The UM Press belongs to Montana, and the aim is to share in the work with the people of Montana--while at the same time providing an education on all Big Sky Country has to offer."
Rick Graetz, founder of Montana Magazine and a geography faculty member involved with reigniting the press, says, "The University of Montana Press will publish books that make money, so we can be assured of the funds to print other titles that might not necessarily 'pencil out' but need to be issued."
Besides Foley and Graetz, other UM Press Committee members are Bonnie Allen, UM library dean; Gerald Fetz, College of Arts and Sciences dean; Harry Fritz, history department professor; Ken Price, Printing & Graphic Services director; and Carol VanValkenburg, journalism professor.
Distribution and sales will be handled by Montana Magazine/Far Country Press of Helena. UM alumni will receive a 20 percent discount on the $12.95 retail price of both books. Shipping and handling is $6 for one book and $2 for each thereafter. Call 1-800-821-3874 or send orders to Far Country Press, Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604. Credit cards are accepted.
Student President Enjoys Contributing
As president of the Associated Students of UM, Andrea Helling has spent her senior year in a fishbowl, her every move watched by students, administrators, and anyone who happens to walk by her glassed-in office in the University Center.
During her first semester in office, she faced a transportation crisis when some of the ASUM-run buses broke down and students with disabilities were left with no transportation because of a malfunctioning wheelchair lift. Helling dropped what she was doing, rented a UM Motor Pool wheelchair-equipped van, and took students to and from campus. "It's not special," she says. "It's just the job."
The job has meant a lot to Helling and ASUM Vice President Cedric Jacobson, whom she met when she led his small orientation group during her sophomore year. They have traveled around the state to meet with prospective students, legislators, and other Montana campus leaders, drumming up support for UM and lobbying for the state to put more money in the university system to help counter tuition hikes.
Even if a measure is passed, Helling acknowledges that all the lobbying and hard work will have to be repeated in two years at the next session. "But what we do now makes a difference for next time," she says.
New Blogs Prove Popular
Ten UM students have written about their lives and their college experiences in online journals on the University Web site since last fall. The blogs are popular with Web site visitors, according to tracking statistics, together averaging more than 300 page views a day.
Under the heading "Voices" on the home page (http://www.umt.edu), visitors can click on a blogger's name and photograph to be taken to his or her blog, as well as to a list of the other student blogs. The blogs were introduced to give prospective students an idea of what life is like at UM, as well as to foster a sense of community among students, employees, and alumni.
Online student journals reflect the increasing popularity of blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. UM's student bloggers were chosen to reflect a cross-section of majors, class levels, hometowns, and interests. Since the blogs began, two students have graduated and stayed on as UM's first alumni bloggers.
A Part of UM History Rertires
When Harry Fritz joined the UM history department in 1967, he was a young instructor specializing in early American history. When he retires this spring after forty years as a professor, he will have taught American history from colonization to World War II and be considered one of Montana's most preeminent historians.
"To my surprise," Fritz says, "after a few years I was the Montana historian in the department."
The few years he speaks of are the years after the death of Montana historian and legend K. Ross Toole, whose sizable shoes Fritz proved more than capable of filling.
During his tenure, Fritz has taught about 30,000 students, a testament to his engaging lectures and respected reputation, since none of his classes are required for nonmajors to graduate.
Though he hopes to stay a few more years on a post-retirement contract, Fritz says there already is a new faculty member for the Montana history course, and that life will go on at UM without him, the way it does every year.
"In the winter of '69 the Legislature was in session and people were worried about budget cuts," Fritz says. "But a guy who'd been here since World War II said not to pay attention to it, the doors will open next year--they always do."
An Eloquent Big Sky Voice Honored
Broadcast Media Center Director William Marcus is right at home in his office at UM. A native of tiny Wibaux, Montana, he has been here for thirty years, with every one spent--whether as a student, radio production assistant, or director--in the pursuit and service of the humanities.
As a small token for his lifetime of work, Marcus received a Governor's Humanities Award at a March 1 ceremony in Helena. The awards are given by the Montana Committee for the Humanities to honor service to and public appreciation for the humanities.
As director of UM's Broadcast Media Center, Marcus oversees KUFM Radio and KUFM-TV, the Montana Public Broadcasting stations located in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.
And while Marcus is listed as the executive producer on all local programming, he maintains that his role is primarily administrative, though he has hosted the TV show Backroads of Montana since its 1991 premiere.
"I don't pretend to be responsible for everything that happens on TV or radio," he says. "The great thing about the Broadcast Media Center is all the talented people who work for it."
Montana Public Radio turns 42 this year, and Marcus notes that one of its most enduring accomplishments is the loyal listener base around the state despite an onslaught of other options.
"In Missoula it's routinely the No. 1 station," he says. "There's Internet radio, satellite radio, iPods, podcasts, but you can only get Plant Detective from us."
The President's Corner
Another issue of the Montanan brings more exciting developments to talk about on our campus! We try never to miss an opportunity to showcase the achievements of our alumni. Meg Oliver has emerged as a rising star in the broadcast field and represents us with distinction. I see no reason why the Department of Radio-Television faculty should not hold fast to her coattails. That she chose the University and that department for her academic work speaks volumes for the quality of the education our students receive.
Another luminary, although not an alumnus of the University, deserves the recognition he has achieved around the world. Carlos Duran came to Missoula to help The University of Montana and St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center establish the International Heart Institute of Montana in 1995. Carlos really has put Missoula on the map with regard to health care. As many will recall, we have within the list of priorities for the comprehensive Capital Campaign the establishment of an Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences. Our success in that effort will provide wonderful recognition of all that Carlos has accomplished.
Finally, we will dedicate two more facilities just prior to Commencement in May. Don Anderson Hall will afford a marvelous new home for the School of Journalism, which can now enhance the quality and responsiveness of an educational experience already celebrated across the country. The addition to the Skaggs Building will enable the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences to continue its astonishing trajectory in the world of biomedical research. I must say once again how very much we owe to all the private donors who helped to make these facilities possible for the benefit of the students and the faculty, as well as the state of Montana.
There you have a taste of what follows. Enjoy, and let's hear from you.
George M. Dennison, '62, '63
President and Professor of History
Club Sports Gain Ground
The teams that play on unadorned south campus grass don't bring in crowds like their main campus counterparts, but UM's lesser-known club sports are making their mark in regional competition.
With two national championship appearances in the last two years, the Montana Grizzly lacrosse team is ranked among the top in small schools in the country by the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association. The team, celebrating its tenth season representing UM, competes in the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League and has dominated its division for the last two years.
The fastest growing sport in the United States according to Sports Illustrated, lacrosse's popularity was long confined to the coasts but has steadily gained traction across the country.
The Pacific Northwest League includes nineteen teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
"The success of the lacrosse team has been noted around the country with our prospective students," says Jed Liston, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services. "At nearly all of the college fairs we attend, students will come up to the table and tell us that they have been following our lacrosse team via the Web and national standings."
Along with lacrosse, UM's crew team was resurrected last year with the discovery of a four-person boat that had been squirreled away and forgotten about. The UM Rowing Club, overseen by Davidson Honors College Dean Jim McKusick, held early-morning practices at Salmon Lake during the fall and competed in a regatta in Spokane, Washington, in October.
Until 2000, UM boasted a rowing club, which was coached by a former Olympian in crew, McKusick says. After that group disbanded, the UM Rowing Club--and the boat--disappeared until the boat was happened upon accidentally in January 2006.
McKusick says about forty people showed up at the initial meeting to form a team, many of them students in the Davidson Honors College. "There's a historical connection between crew and honors colleges," McKusick says.
"Other prospective students are thrilled to discover that we have a crew team," Liston says, "although they often ask about the water temperature here in Montana."
Selvig's Team Wraps Another Winning Year
Has excellence become ho-hum for Robin Selvig and his Lady Griz basketball team? Once again, for the twentieth time in Selvig's twenty-nine seasons, UM won the regular-season conference title. Once again, for the seventeenth time in his career, Selvig won the conference coach of the year award. His UM record now stands at 672-192.
While excellence has become routine for the Lady Griz, this season managed to stand out from the rest. For starters, UM ended the regular season 27-2, garnering the team's most regular-season wins ever. The team went 15-1 in Big Sky Conference play.
The Lady Griz also had the conference MVP in sophomore guard Mandy Morales. Morales was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Sky Conference team, one of eleven finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award--which recognizes the nation's top point guard--and one of fifty-two finalists for the ten-member Kodak/WBCA All-America Team.
Krysko Lands NBA Head Coaching Job
Plenty can happen in a year. Just ask former UM men's basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak.
Three-hundred and sixty-four days after he led the Griz to an upset over the University of Nevada in the NCAA tournament, he guided the languishing Milwaukee Bucks to an improbable victory over the San Antonio Spurs in his debut as an NBA head coach.
Krystkowiak was signed to a multi-year deal March 14 to lead the franchise he once played for in an attempt to find a new direction in the midst of the Bucks' miserable season. Krysko's new team came out with renewed energy and promptly snapped the powerhouse Spurs' thirteen-game winning streak his first night on the job.
UM's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Krysko served as head coach here for two seasons before joining the Bucks as assistant coach last spring.
Montana's MVP: Dave Earns
For Griz fans, few memories burn brighter than the image of star quarterback Dave Dickenson rifling a football through opposing defenses en route to UM's first national championship in 1995.
Last November Dickenson did it again, earning another ring on a bigger stage when he guided the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League to a 25-14 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in the Gray Cup--the CFL equivalent of the Super Bowl. Dickenson also earned the most-valuable-player award.
this article in Montanan