Around the Oval
UM’S 2005 Homecoming was better than ever—the largest parade, the most alumni returning, the launch of a fund-raising campaign, and a 24-19 Griz win over Weber State.
A Paleontology Wonderland
Long-buried dinosaurs and plants from the Cretaceous period will soon be the toast of UM’s geology department and Montana. The state Board of Regents has created a new Paleontology Center at UM and an associated Fort Peck Field Station to study the abundant fossils in the area surrounding Fort Peck and Glasgow.
Organized under UM’s Department of Geology, the new center and field station will promote paleontology education and research and serve as a repository for important fossil discoveries.
“This should put UM on the map for being a center of excellence for paleontology,” says George Stanley, UM geology professor and director of the new center. “It also could help revitalize the economy of the Fort Peck area.”
UM formed a partnership with Fort Peck Paleontology Inc. to create the new center. FPPI is a nonprofit organization formed by eastern Montana residents to promote study and research of the area’s spectacular fossils, including dinosaurs, plants, and invertebrate remains. The organization focuses on pre- paring, molding, and casting large fossils.
Stanley says FPPI contacted him two years ago about creating a formal connection between their respective organizations.
“We have been working toward this goal since we started the project in 1996,” says John Rabenberg, president of FPPI, which oversees the operations of the Fort Peck field station. “With the assistance of Two Rivers Economic Growth, the dedication of the board of directors at FPPI, and many volunteers, it is finally a reality.”
Stanley says a five-year plan is in place to get the paleontology center up and running. The field station will be housed within a 7,000-square-foot former laundry building used during the 1933-40 construction of Fort Peck Dam. It will run during the summer, when it will house visiting students and faculty members participating in digs and fossil preparation.
“It’s a paleontology wonderland out there,” Stanley says, “filled with fossil vertebrates and plants, as well as invertebrate life. By 2007 we should have an actively running field station. I want to get high-quality students and prominent paleontologists from around the country and world involved in the new center and also in the activities of the field station.”
Stanley said the center will focus on research and education rather than on public displays.
The President's Corner
Homecoming 2005 opened a new era for The University of Montana. One of the many celebrations this year involved the public announcement of a comprehensive fund-raising campaign coordinated by the UM Foundation to assure our vision of “a University for the twenty-first century.” The chosen title and theme manifest the purpose and strategy: “Invest in Discovery: People, Programs, and Place.” Everything revolves around the people—the students, faculty, and staff who comprise any university. As all interested participants will find, the campaign focuses on students and assuring that the University has in place the faculty and staff, support resources, and state-of-the-art facilities to enable these young people to achieve their potential.
This issue of the Montanan features a number of outstanding exemplars for the students to emulate. These featured faculty and alumni have made their marks and in the process have elevated the stature of this University. If we make certain we have the programs, resources, and facilities to prepare the next generation for similar achievements, I believe we will have good cause to celebrate success. The campaign has the intention and promise of assuring that outcome.
Even more impressive, during the gala to announce the campaign, all in attendance learned that the volunteers and staff working together, with the outpouring of generous support from friends and alumni, have commitments to date in excess of $72 million toward the $100 million goal! What a wonderful tribute to the perceived value and quality of UM. I urge everyone to become involved because of what it will do for future generations and what it will do for you.
George M. Dennison ’62, M.A.
Herbig and Kozeluh to Headline Odyssey of the Stars
Jazz artist Gary Herbig ’69, and actor/ singer/playwright Dennis Kozeluh ’82, two of the most prodigious artists the UM School of Fine Arts has produced, will return to the UM stage as the featured guest performers for the sixth annual Odyssey of the Stars—A Celebration of Artistic Journeys.
Herbig, a Billboard Top-Ten Jazz Artist, is one of the most successful studio musicians in the business today. An accomplished soloist on all woodwind instruments, he has toured with Tower of Power, the Percy Faith Orchestra and Seawind, as well as with bands headed by artists such as Lee Ritenour, David Benoit, and Elvis Presley. If you’ve heard the clarinet solo on the TV program Cheers, or the bluesy sax on Roseanne, then you’ve already been treated to his musical talents. Gary has played on pop chart toppers such as Olivia Newton John’s Physical and Donna Summer’s Bad Girl, and on jazz records by legends Herbie Hancock and George Benson.
Kozeluh, a bass-baritone, has performed on the musical, operatic, and theatrical stages for more than twenty years. Living and performing in Vienna since 1983, Kozeluh has appeared in more than sixty productions including Phantom of the Opera, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Rocky Horror Show, Elisabeth, and Mozart. Other musicals in which he has performed lead roles include Anything Goes, Sweeney Todd, Evita, Jungle Book, and Footloose. Non-musical roles include Frank in Educating Rita and Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace.
Scheduled for Saturday, April 8, Odyssey of the Stars will also showcase more than 250 current UM students. For more information, call (406) 243-4971.
Cot Snares Funding for Biomass to Gas
UM’s College of Technology recently received nearly $1 million from the federal Biomass Research and Development Initiative to support its Biopower Demonstration and Education Outreach Project. The BRDI is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy.
The COT project uses state-of-the-art, portable equipment designed to convert a wide variety of biomass substances, such as agricultural residues and small-diameter wood slash, into a hydrogen-rich gas. The gas is used to fuel a 25-kilowatt power generator, and the electricity and waste heat produced by the generator help to heat and power the COT campus.
“Biomass and bioenergy have the potential to make significant contributions to our nation’s energy supply,” says Brian Kerns, COT’s principal investigator for the project. “The project will help establish UM and the College of Technology as leaders in an effort to prove the technology and to train students in its application.”
Kerns says the COT plans to offer an on-site demonstration of the technology with waste slash produced from forest-thinning operations. COT Dean Paul Williamson adds that the project opens doors for UM to develop strategies with area forest, lumber, and energy stakeholders. “The very practical, hands-on approach addresses the energy crisis, advances technology, prepares a new workforce for tomorrow, and puts Montana on the leading edge of alternative energy development,” he says.
This lithograph by Walter Hook, titled The Cat and the Cricket (1984), is part of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture’s permanent collection. Works from the collection will get an airing with the show, Creatures of the Permanent Collection, which runs November 22 through December 22 in the Paxson Gallery at UM’s Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center. The ceramic work of Frances Senska will be featured January 5 through February 28, 2006, in the Meloy and Paxson Galleries. Finn Hukka Folk Fable No. 6 has often accompanied the Hook lithograph: A cricket with his constant shrill chirping had been annoying the cat for a long time. One day the cat caught the cricket and said, “I’ll eliminate your chirping for good.” The cricket, old and wise, seeing the shadow of some brush and sticks, quickly responded, “You better not. See, there is the shadow of my big brother. He would destroy you with one blow if you hurt me.” Noting the shadow, the cat realized he was no match for such a large though unseen cricket. He let the small cricket go and went on his way without a murmur. Lesson: Imagination may be more feared than the longest and darkest shadow.
UM’s journalism school has been racking up awards for its students’ work and soon will have a new building. But it has something new to crow about—Denise Dowling has been named the most promising new journalism professor in the country by a national education group.
Dowling, an assistant professor in the radio-television department and a UM grad, was honored by the Mass Communication and Society’s division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Dowling began teaching at UM in 2000, following a twenty-year career in broadcast news. She has created several new courses, including an advanced television news production class. Dowling has won several grants and research contracts and her students have won nearly every award given to college journalists.
In nominating Dowling for the award, journalism Dean Jerry Brown wrote, “In my thirty-plus years of professional and academic work, I have never known a professional journalist who has made the transition from newsroom to classroom as swiftly and successfully.”
Dowling worked in television and radio news in Spokane, Washington, before joining the ranks of UM journalism professors.
Frances Hwang and Aryn Kyle, both recent graduates of UM’s M.F.A. program in creative writing, are among the six recipients of the 2005 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards, given annually to women writers who have demonstrated excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. Now in its eleventh year, the awards program has helped many women at a critical moment in their writing careers by providing the financial support of a $10,000 award.
Frances Hwang is currently at work on a collection of short stories that explores the lives of a wide variety of Chinese immigrants and their American-born children. Two of these stories have been chosen by Joyce Carol Oates and Francine Prose to appear in the prestigious Best New American Voices series.
Hwang writes that her characters “are often pragmatic, materialistic individuals who are nevertheless haunted by feelings of loss and displacement. Drifting between two cultures without truly belonging to either, they are often alienated from their families and detached from the meaning of their lives.”
Hwang, who recently moved to San Francisco, also has earned a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Virginia. She was the 2004-2005 Olive B. O’Connor Creative Writing Fellow at Colgate University.
In 2004, while still an M.F.A. candidate at UM, Aryn Kyle published her first story, “Foaling Season,” in The Atlantic Monthly; she is currently expanding it into a first novel. In the past year she has continued to publish her stories in The Georgia Review, Best New American Voices 2005, and The Alaska Quarterly Review. In 2005 she was a National Magazine Award Winner in Fiction and was awarded a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts this fall.
In order to devote her time to writing, she has moved back to her hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado, and is working as an online tutor. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University.
Shelter From the Storm
Peter Dee, a second-year law student at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans in late August, found himself in Missoula in September, attending UM’s law school and living in a donated house. He was one of thousands of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina—not only from their homes and cities, but from their schools as well.
Dee expected his fate might be an overflow dorm and a marginal existence after leaving a devastated New Orleans. He’s been a little surprised by the generosity he’s seen toward himself and three other law students displaced by the storm.
After Katrina hit, nearly 200 law schools, including UM’s, offered to accept law students. Dee says he decided to come to Missoula because UM’s invitation to students seemed more inviting than other schools. His partner, Susan Lee, another second-year student, joined him.
Students from the two schools, as well as other colleges and universities in the affected areas, have dispersed across the country. Tulane had a little more than 1,000 students enrolled for the fall, while Loyola had roughly 600 students enrolled.
Dee chose UM and Missoula after looking at Web sites and learning more about the University and the area. He says he wanted to continue his studies and thought Missoula, with its friendly people and outdoor amenities, was the place for him. “This was kind of like a free semester to go anywhere we wanted,” Dee says. “Montana just seemed like it would be cool.”
Another second-year student from Tulane University Law School and two from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law—a first- and a third-year student—also were admitted to the UM law school.
Heidi Fanslow, director of admissions, says she was in contact with nearly twenty New Orleans law students the weekend after the storm hit. UM was among the first to accept first-year law students.
“We agreed to honor what their original school did,” Fanslow says. For example, one student paid tuition in full before the start of classes in New Orleans and another received a full scholarship, so UM didn’t charge them to attend classes in Missoula. The two other students are in financial aid limbo, but the law school is allowing them to attend classes regardless.
Fanslow and the law school have worked hard to help accommodate the students. She helped coordinate donations from the Good Food Store, the Orange Street Food Farm, Regis Salon, Bath & Body Works, Trail Head, and Worden’s Market. She also helped get Quality Supply and Go Fetch to donate dog food for the four dogs that came to Montana with their owners.
Help for the students has come from many quarters. Students at the law school organized a clothing drive. Textbook publishers donated books. Local stores and shops donated coupons and offered gifts. Margaret Brockhaus, who works most of the week in Helena, offered up her house. Dee and Lee have been staying there and are very grateful. “This was more than I expected,” Dee says. “So many people helped us. I can’t say enough about them.”
And the law school has been taking care of the students beyond the simple necessities. A law school employee helped organize an internship for the third-year student at a local attorney’s office.
Another student, Mia Eason, came to Missoula to continue her undergraduate studies in biology. She left New Orleans with nothing but her laptop, her cat, and some important papers and, of course, her boyfriend, Jim Marchiano. —Luella N. Brien
this article in Montanan