CONTENTS The Measure of the Man
Montana, His Way
A Sense of Space
AROUND THE OVAL
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
About the Montanan
New Professorships Expand Expertise in EVST and Journalism
The William Kittredge Distinguished Writing Professorship honors the long-time professor of English and creative writing for which it is named. The T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professorship in Journalism memorializes a 1999 journalism graduate who died in a motorcycle accident in England last May.
Major funding for the Kittredge professorship is a gift of the Charles Engelhard Foundation; the UM Foundation is seeking matching funds of $750,000 to fully endow the position. Until the professorship is fully endowed, the Engelhard money will provide funding for an eminent writer to teach classes in environmental and nature writing for one semester a year as part of the Environmental Studies Programs environmental writing component. Matching funds will be used to hire a writer to conduct classes in creative writing. Ultimately, the Kittredge professor will be a full-year appointment, divided between the Environmental Studies and Creative Writing Programs. Kittredge calls the professorship in his name terrific for writers and the University and a great way for the tradition of nurturing western writers to continue.
Tom Roy, director of environmental studies, says the professorship will improve the quality of his program, which, to the best of his knowledge, is the only graduate program in the country with an environmental writing emphasis. For that, he says, the program is indebted to Kittredge: We wouldnt have the emphasis we have without Bill embracing our students and what were doing in teaching environmental and nature writing.
Kittredge was a UM professor from 1969 until his retirement in 1997, teaching and mentoring scores of students in creative writing and environmental studies, all the while advancing his reputation as one of a new breed of western writers and stacking up campus, regional and national awards including the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities. His most recent work, The Nature of Generosity, is a book-length essay pointing out social and environmental problems and suggesting solutions. His essays and short stories have appeared in several national magazines and he is the author of The Van Gogh Field, which won the St. Lawrence Fiction Prize, We Are Not in This Together, Owning It All and Hole in the Sky. He is well known for his collaboration with Annick Smith in editing The Last Best Place, an anthology of Montana writings.
In selecting the Environmental Studies Program as center for the Kittredge Professorship, the Engelhard Foundation intends to show Kittredges value to the University and to recognize him for his more recent work as a personal essayist, rather than a fiction writer.
Bill Kittredges stature as a regional western writer who encourages society to take responsibility for inhumanity and injustice further enhances what we attempt to instill in our students, Roy says. Through this professorship, we want people to understand that were honoring Bill Kittredge, the person whose values are so similar to those of our students, as well as Bill Kittredge, the writer. We intend for those who work with the Kittredge professor to benefit in ways their predecessors benefited from working with Professor Kittredge himself: by becoming better writers and more complete persons.
For many years, the Engelhard Foundation has been a generous supporter of a number of UM academic programs, including: the Creative Writing Programs A.B. Guthrie Fund and Charles Engelhard Foundation Creative Writing Fund, the Department of Economics, the School of Forestry, the Mansfield Library and the Excellence Fund.
The UM Foundation welcomes contributions to the fund from Kittredges former students and the many admirers of his work. It is hoped the first Kittredge professor will be on campus in the 2002-03 year.
The School of Journalism has hired Jonathan Weber as the inaugural Pollner professor. He is founding editor of The Industry Standard, the highly regarded weekly business magazine that covered the Internet economy from 1998 until August 2001. As the Pollner professor, he will teach, mentor the Montana Kaimin staff and give a public lecture.
The Pollner professorship, the first endowed position in the School of Journalism, is being created by gifts from his family, business associates of his family and friends.
Because the Kaimin was such an important part of Pollners UM experience, his family has specified that the Pollner professor be charged with developing the newspaper and students working on it.
Journalism Professor Carol Van Valkenburg knew Pollner well through his work on the Kaimin. She tells the story of Pollner returning the fall semester after he earned his degree in 1999 to be the student newspapers Webmaster because he had felt the Web page didnt do the Kaimin justice. He revamped the page and had it up by 7 each morning. That was typical of Anthonys level of commitment, she says. When he got something in mind, he did whatever it took to make that happen.
For the Pollner professor, the J-School sought someone whose characteristics and values are similar to those of the man for whom it is named: a thorough, careful journalist who is passionate about the craft. The document describing the professorship designates: the professors objectives will include encouraging the students to develop a number of qualities that Anthony, a highly-spirited young man, exhibited during his time studying at the school working at the Kaimin. These qualities include relentless inquisitiveness and determination, a respectful irreverence, a sense of playfulness, a love of adventure and a dedication to quality. Weber fulfills the requirement.
Because it will be a new person each year, the Pollner professorship will bring a wealth of professional experience to the school. Van Valkenburg also hopes the endowment will increase the UM schools exposure to other professional journalists by showing them the high quality of the Montana J-School.
Anthony loved this school, Van Valkenburg says. After he visited here as a high school student, he lost interest in other journalism schools. We want to keep his memory alive here through the professors work with students and especially in the public lectures.
Pollner had talked of one day using his training in journalism to create an online magazine, Van Valkenburg says. At the time of his death on May 12 at age 25, Pollner was a derivatives trader for Taurus Petroleum, a family business.
Seven Alumni Elected to Foundation Board
Their election to three-year terms brings the board to its full forty members. They are:
Ronald D. Coleman 68, McLean, Virginia
Robert L. Crippen 65, Butte
Marilyn Brown Dickey 67, Seattle
A. Clifford Edwards 74, Billings
Wilmer A. Mitchell Jr. 50, Miles City
Jeanne M. Shreeve 53, Moscow, Idaho
Mickey Cummings Sogard 68, Polson