Highlights Of The Year
One of UM's newest faculty members is an explorer, boldly going where
no man has gone before. Dan Reisenfeld, a NASA astro-physicist, recently
joined the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy. Before that
he taught at Harvard and the University of New Mexico. Reisenfeld loves
teaching, but his ultimate passion is using space probes to expand our
knowledge of the universe. He has worked on a number of NASA spacecraft
with startling names, including Ulysses, Genesis, Cassini, Deep Space
1 and the Interstellar Boundary Explorer. Reisenfeld is still deeply
involved with interpreting data for the space administration, and he
intends to get UM students working on NASA projects in his new Montana
Space Flight Prototype Facility, which will test designs for future probes.
UM climbed up on the Peace Corps' list of "Top-Producing Colleges and Universities." The
University previously held the No. 10 position on the list of medium-sized
institutions, but with 39 alumni volunteers, UM now ranks ninth among
colleges with undergraduate enrollments between 5,001 and 15,000. The
new rankings place UM ahead of institutions such as Boston College
and the University of Notre Dame, and Brown, Yale, Harvard and Tulane
NASA has extended the mission of its Terra environmental satellite for three
years, and that's good news for UM's Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group,
which crafted software for Terra and its sister satellite, Aqua. The decision
means continued funding for NTSG's director Steve Running, a longtime UM research
professor, to continue work in monitoring the Earth's surface. The $1.3 billion
Terra satellite is an orbiting stethoscope that provides daily checkups on the
Earth's health. It scans the entire planet every one to two days. Running, who
has received more than $20 million in NASA grants during his UM tenure, said
the latest funding will extend the mission through 2009.
UM's magazine, the Montanan, won the 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award in
the Most Improved Magazine category in the Association of Educational Publishers
competition. Editor Joan Melcher led a year-long redesign effort that premiered
with the fall 2004 issue of the magazine. The Montanan is mailed three times
a year to more than 65,000 UM alumni and friends. In addition, the Montanan was
named a finalist in two similar categories in competition sponsored by the Association
of Western Publishers.
So how did the skunk cross the road? Or the weasel, marmot, vole or porcupine?
A lot of times they didn't. These small animals get flattened on highways that
fragment their habitat. But a new invention recently patented by UM aims to
protect them from humanity's automotive hazards. It's called the "critter
it's the brainchild of Kerry Foresman, a UM biology professor and animal ecologist,
and Cory Claussen, an employee of Roscoe Steel & Culvert Co. of Missoula.
The critter crawl is basically a shelf suspended inside a culvert to allow
animals to move easily and safely under a highway, even when the culvert contains
water. The shelf floor is metal mesh with holes smaller than 1 inch to allow
small animals to cross comfortably. The shelf also is removable so it doesn't
impede water and debris movement during floods or high-water events. Four of
the culvert shelves are now in use beneath U.S. Highway 93 in the Bitterroot
Valley. Roscoe Steel, which made the shelves, has been licensed by UM to market
and manufacture critter crawls.
have always thought Lady Griz basketball is tops, but now the team
has an official endorsement to back that up. Street & Smith's
magazine, the bible of college hoops, named UM seventh on its list of all-time
best women's basketball programs. Published in the "Greatest College
Basketball Programs" issue,
the list touted UM and head coach Robin Selvig for winning 20 or more games
in 24 of the last 26 seasons. In addition, Montana's 16 regular-season conference
championships and 15 tournament titles rank second in the nation, trailing
only Old Dominion. Selvig's 614-179 record in his 27th season in 2004-05
ranked him sixth among active head coaches for winning percentage and 10th
in victories. The Lady Griz further distinguished themselves nationally as
one of only three female squads in the 2005 March Madness tournament to have
a 100 percent graduation rate.
President George W. Bush nominated UM President George Dennison for a four-year
position on the National Security Education Board, and in early 2005, the
University's president received confirmation from the U.S. Senate. The board
was created under President Clinton to educate U.S. citizens about foreign
cultures, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and enhance international
education and security. Aside from numerous years in higher education, Dennison
throughout his career has maintained a strong interest in public diplomacy
and international education and has spent a considerable amount of time in
other countries forging student exchange opportunities for UM. Dennison believes
strongly in the board's mission and says he will do all he can to assure
that the United States succeeds in positioning itself for effective functioning
in the increasingly global world of today.
For the second time in three years, Monte, the lovable Grizzly bear mascot,
was named National Mascot of the Year. He was crowned on national television
during the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. The victory came with a $10,000
award for the UM mascot program. Monte first won the title during the competition's
inaugural year in 2003. A show-stealer at any event, Monte again clawed his
way over the other 11 critter mascots named as finalists in the competition
through online voting and video highlighting his crazy antics and interaction
After more students earned prestigious Morris K. Udall Scholarships this
year, UM now has received more Udalls than any other institution in the nation
since the scholarship program started in 1996. With four of this year's 80
Udalls coming to UM, the University broke a tie with Cornell for the No.
1 position. 2005 winners are Zachary Benson of Colstrip; Marcia
St. Goddard of Browning; John Powell of Muncie, Ind.; and Jeffrey
Ross of Rivers, Manitoba.
The Udall Foundation awards merit-based scholarships of up to $5,000 to college
sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a
commitment to pursuing careers related to the environment. UM is known for
producing top scholars: It ranks fifth among public universities in producing
Rhodes Scholars, with 28 so far.
UM Executive Chef Tom Siegel brought home a gold medal in the entr‚e
division from the second annual Montana Chef Competition for the Culinary
Excellence Award. Sponsored by the Montana Department of Agriculture to promote
the use of Montana ingredients at fine-dining restaurants, the contest drew
more than 100 entries in three categories of competition.