University of Montana

This article is about the main campus in Missoula. For other campuses, see University of Montana (disambiguation).
The University of Montana
Motto Lux et Veritas
Motto in English
Light and Truth
Type Public university (state university)
Established 1893
Endowment $176.9 million[1]
President Royce Engstrom
Provost Beverly Edmond
Academic staff
581 full-time, 250 part-time
Students 12,922 total (Spring 2015)
Undergraduates 10,189 total (Fall 2012)
Location Missoula, Montana, U.S.
Campus University town
220 acres (89 ha)
Colors Maroon and Silver[2]
Athletics NCAA Division IBig Sky Conference
Nickname Grizzlies and Lady Griz
Mascot Monte
Affiliations APLU

The University of Montana (often simply referred to as UM)[3] is a public research university in Missoula, Montana, in the United States. Founded in 1893, the university is the second largest [4]of the Montana University System, second to Montana State University, and the flagship campus of the University of Montana System. The main campus is located at the foot of Mount Sentinel, the hill bearing Missoula's most recognizable landmark, a large hillside letter "M."

The University of Montana ranks 17th in the nation and fifth among public universities in producing Rhodes Scholars, with a total of 28 such scholars.[5] The University of Montana has 11 Truman Scholars, 14 Goldwater Scholars and 40[6] Udall Scholars to its name.[7]

The University of Montana's Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library houses the earliest authorized edition of the Lewis and Clark journals. Rolling Stone labelled the university the "most scenic campus in America"[8] and Outside magazine called it "among the top 10 colleges nationally for combining academic quality and outdoor recreation".[8]


University (Main) Hall circa 1900
University of Montana circa 1900

An act of Congress of February 18, 1881 dedicated 72 sections (46,000 acres or 19,000 hectares) in Montana Territory for the creation of the University.

Montana was admitted to the Union on November 8, 1889, and the Montana Legislature soon began to consider where the state's permanent capital and state university would be located. To be sure that the new state university would be located in Missoula, the city's leaders made an agreement with the standing capital of Helena that Missoula would stay out of the bidding for the new capital and would support Helena over its leading competitor, Anaconda. The cities' bids were supported by the rival "Copper Kings," William A. Clark and Marcus Daly, respectively.

Missoula won the legislative vote for the new university at the Third Montana Legislative Assembly in February 1893. The University was formally opened in 1895. While plans for a university campus were progressing, classes were temporarily held at nearby Willard School. The South Missoula Land Company, owned by A.B. Hammond, Richard Eddy and Marcus Daly, joined with the Higgins family in donating land for the new campus. In June 1898 the cornerstone for A.J. Gibson designed University Hall was laid and Missoula became "the University City."


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[9] 214
Washington Monthly[10] 97[11]

The University of Montana comprises eleven full colleges and schools: College of Humanities & Sciences; Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences; College of Forestry and Conservation; College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences; College of Visual and Performing Arts; UM School of Law; UM School of Business; UM School of Journalism; UM School of Extended and Lifelong Learning; Missoula College and the Bitterroot College.

The Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences is divided into five academic departments and the Institute of Educational Research and Service. In 1914, the University of Montana School of Law became a member of The Association of American Law Schools and in 1923, the School received accreditation from the American Bar Association.


Admission statistics[12]
  2014 2013 2012 2011
Admit rate
Average GPA
SAT range
ACT range

For the fall 2014 term, University of Montana offered admission to 4,956 freshmen out of 5,345 applicants, an acceptance rate of 92.7%. The entering freshman class had an average high school GPA of 3.31, and the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 490-610 for critical reading, 490-590 for math, and 470-580 for writing, while the ACT Composite range was 20–26.[13]


Symbols of the University of Montana
The University of Montana campus

The original plan of the University campus was designed by one of its first professors, Frederich Scheuch, who called for the central oval to be surrounded by immediate and future University buildings. Although Scheuch's plan called for all building entrances to face the center of the Oval, forming a radiating building pattern, buildings were later constructed with three-story in the Renaissance Revival style, with hipped roofs and Spanish green roof tiles.

The first set of buildings were set up around the oval in 1895. Since that time, various campus plans and architectural styles have been used. Today the campus consists of 220 acres (89 ha) and is bordered to the east by Mount Sentinel and the north by the Clark Fork River. The main campus comprises 64 buildings, including nine residence halls and various athletic venues, including Washington–Grizzly Stadium, a 26,500-seat football stadium and the Adams Center (formerly, Dahlberg Arena), a 7,500-seat multi-purpose arena where the university's basketball teams play.

Landmarks include:

The Oval

A 3 acres (1.2 ha) swath of grass running east to west, marking the traditional center of the university. Today it is divided into quadrants by two intersecting brick-laid paths, though originally the oval was solid grass and forbidden to be crossed by students. A double row of trees was planted around the oval on Arbor Day 1896, but many of the trees have since died and are in the process of being replanted. The original gravel driveway that once surrounded the Oval has also been replaced by sidewalk. The original master plan of the university called for all buildings to face the center of the oval, but this plan proved difficult and a new plan was created in 1935.

On the western extreme of the Oval is a life-sized grizzly bear statue created by ceramic artist and sculptor Rudy Autio in 1969.[14] The bronze statue is 7-feet tall and weighs 5000 pounds and took one year to create.[15] Many photographs of the university picture the bear with the Oval, University (Main) Hall, and Mount Sentinel's 'M' in the background.

The "M" trail

A 3/4 mile long trail with 13 switchbacks that rises 620 feet (from 3,200 feet to 3,820) from the University of Montana at the base of Mount Sentinel. The trail offers sweeping views of the city below.

There is debate of when "The 'M'" was first placed on Mount Sentinel. Around 1908, members of the Forestry Club forged a zigzag trail up the mountain and students carried up stones to shape the symbol of the University of Montana. Originally made of whitewashed rocks and only measuring 25 feet by 25 feet, the very first "M" was poorly constructed and ultimately replaced by a wooden "M" in 1912, which cost $18. That "M," unlike today's "M," stood upright on the face of Mount Sentinel. A larger wooden version of the "M" was built in 1913 and upkeep of the structure was formally charged to each year's freshman class.

When the large wooden "M" was destroyed by a blizzard in 1915, an even larger version was constructed of whitewashed granite. Once again the freshman class was tasked with annual renovation of the symbol, beginning a new tradition. Each year from then on, University of Montana freshmen made the hike up to the "M" to apply a fresh coat of whitewash and remove any weeds and grass that had grown in and around the structure.

The annual tradition ended in 1968 when a 125-by-100-foot concrete "M" was built at a cost of $4,328. Behind the decision to replace rock with concrete were maintenance issues; with the coming of the 1960s, UM students exhibited waning enthusiasm for the annual trek up the hill and for annual upkeep of the "M." Although the annual whitewashing went by the wayside, one tradition that lives on today is the lighting of the "M" during the University's annual Homecoming celebration each fall. Originally lit by a group of students on October 9, 1919 following the fall whitewashing, the event was so popular that students have continued to light the "M" each year during Homecoming week; special beacons light up the giant letter, welcoming former students back to the University.[16]

Memorial Row

On the north side of campus, 29 evergreen trees stand in two columns forming Memorial Row along what used to be the path of Van Buren Avenue. The trees, running from the corner of the Oval to Eddy Avenue, were planted in 1919 following the end of the Great War to honor UM students, alumni, and faculty who died in the war, some to combat and many more to the influenza epidemic. The trees are Pinus ponderosa (Western Yellow Pines or Ponderosa Pine), the state tree of Montana. Originally, a white T-board stood in front of each tree, with the name of the person whom it honors; in 1925, these were replaced with 35 brass nameplates atop concrete markers. At the same time, the university added a memorial tablet on a boulder near the edge of the Oval closest to Memorial Row. It lists 21 of the 31 honorees from 1919. By 1925, the university had increased the number of names on the official list to 35, and sometime later, it grew to 37.[17]

Points of interest include:

Organization and administration


The University of Montana is the main campus for the University, which includes four other campuses. The public university system is one of two in Montana; the other is Montana State University. Both systems are governed as the Montana University System by the Montana Board of Regents, which consists of seven members appointed by the state governor, and confirmed by the state Senate to serve seven-year staggered terms. The Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction, both statewide elected officials, are ex officio members of the Board, as is the Commissioner of Higher Education, who is appointed by the Board of Regents.[18]

The Board of Regents appoints the university president, who is directly responsible and accountable to the Commissioner of Higher Education.[19]


The total operating budget for the University of Montana for fiscal year 2009 was approximately $345 million. Of $135 million comes from the General Funds budget (app. $90 million from tuition, $45 million from the state) and $210 million from restricted funds (about $80 million), auxiliary funds ($46 million), designated funds ($44 million), and plant funds ($37 million).

Over the past 20 years, state support for higher education has dropped dramatically. In 1990, the State of Montana provided for 69% of the educational and general funds budget. It now supports 36% of the general fund or 17% of the university's operating budget. This decrease in funding has, in part, been made up by the university successfully competing for sponsored research money with a growth from $12 million in 1994 to $71 million in 2009 and salaries as low as 3/5 the national average.[20]

Colleges, schools, and centers

Enrollment by school/college[21]

The University of Montana comprises six colleges and three independent schools:

The University of Montana is also home to a variety of projects, research centers, and institutes.

Campus media

The Montana Kaimin, founded in 1898, is the student-run college newspaper. It is independent of the university. It attracted national attention in 2009, when football coach Bobby Hauck refused to take questions from the paper in retaliation for a story about an alleged assault by two Grizzly football players.[22] The Montanan is the University's alumni newsletter, published by the University Relations office. CutBank, founded in 1973 by the Creative Writing Program, is a literary magazine. Camas: The Nature of the West, is a literary journal run by graduate students of the Environmental Studies Program.

KBGA (89.9 FM) is the college radio station. KUFM-FM is the flagship and founding station of Montana Public Radio. Founded in 1965, its studios are located in the Broadcast Media Center, of the Performing Arts/Radio Television Building. KUFM-TV (Channel 11) is the local Montana PBS station

Student life

A variety of student organizations exist on campus. Seven fraternities and four sororities have chapters on campus. The fraternities are Phi Delta Theta (1921), Sigma Nu (established at UM in 1904), Sigma Chi (1905), Sigma Phi Epsilon (1918), Sigma Alpha Epsilon (1927), and Kappa Sigma (1927).[23] The sororities are Kappa Alpha Theta (1909), Kappa Kappa Gamma (1909), Delta Gamma (1911), and Alpha Phi (1918).

The University of Montana's International Program began as the International Student club in 1924. It was founded by Alex Stepanzoff and four other Russians who were the first foreign exchange students at the university and is the oldest student organization at the university. The first study abroad programs were created with programs to France, Germany, and Spain in 1971. In 1981, the Mansfield Center was established and certification in teaching of English as a second language (TESL) began.[24] As of 2010, the university has partnerships established with over 90 universities in over 40 countries. The largest number of partnership are with universities in Japan (eight), China (seven), and Chile (seven).[25]

Programs on Central and Southwest Asia were created in 1997. UM is currently the only American university offering a Bachelor of Arts in Central and Southwest Asian Studies. In September 2010, the Montana Board of Regents unanimously approved the creation of the Center for the Study of Central and Southwest Asia at The University of Montana.[26][27][28]



Montana Grizzlies Logo

The athletic teams are nicknamed the Montana Grizzlies, often shortened to Griz or Lady Griz (when referring to women's teams). The University has competed in the NCAA's Big Sky Conference since the conference was formed in 1963. From 1924 to 1950, the University of Montana was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference (precursor to today's Pac-12). The University of Montana has an ongoing rivalry with Montana State University, most notably the cross-state football matchups, known as the "Brawl of the Wild."

Programs include:

Other intercollegiate sports include men's and women's cross country, women's golf, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's tennis, and women's volleyball and since 2015 softball.

Intramural sports include men's lacrosse (won 2007 national championship in their division, MCLA-B) and women's lacrosse, the Alpine Ski Team (went to the national championships in winter 2006), rowing, dance and cheer, men's and women's ice hockey, men's soccer, the Woodsman Team, rodeo, the Missoula Footbag Alliance. triathlon, cycling, fencing, Jesters Rugby, and Betterside Women's Rugby. Baseball is a club sport at the university. Led by James R. "Pops" Jones since 1997, the team won three Big Sky Championships in 2003, 2004, and 2005 as a player/coach. The team is currently a member of the National Club Baseball Association and finished second in the 2004 National Tournament.

The mascot of the university is Monte, a Grizzly Bear. In 1897, a live bear cub traveled with UM's football team, then known as the "Bears" (the "Grizzlies" name was adopted in 1923). Numerous live bear cubs who served as university mascots, first named Teddy, then Fessy and finally, in the 1960s, Cocoa. UM's costumed mascot during the 1980s, dubbed Otto, donned a variety of fun-loving outfits to entertain crowds at Grizzly football games. Monte (short for Montana) was born in the mountains of Missoula in the fall 1993. The 2002–03 and 2004–05 National Champion Mascot of the Year (Capital One/ESPN) has evolved into a "motorcycle-riding, break-dancing, back flipping, slam-dunking, movie-making, crowd-surfing, goal post smashing, prank-pulling superstar that makes the women of Montana swoon."[34]

Presidents of the school


George M. Dennison Ernest O. Melby

Notable people


Entertainment and the arts

Law, politics, and government


Science and academia


See also


  1. "Sortable Table: College and University Endowments, 2013-14". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  2. "Official Graphic Standards Manual for The University of Montana". Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  3. The name of the campus is the University of Montana ‒ Missoula. See "The University of Montana Campuses," Montana University System.
  5. "University of Montana | Best College | US News". February 27, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  6. Drake, Laure (April 10), UM Student Wins Prestigious Award, UM News, retrieved April 30, 2014
  7. "UM External Scholarship Recipients 1904–present". Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  8. 1 2 Archived December 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  10. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  11. "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  12. "UMT Common Data Set". University of Montana. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  13. "CDS_2014_2015" (PDF). Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  14. "Grizzly, (sculpture)". Save Outdoor Sculpture!. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  15. "2010 Logo Information – NCUR 2010 – The University Of Montana". Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  16. The Story of Missoula's "M"
  17. "Memorial Row – Memorial Row – The University Of Montana". November 22, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  18. "Montana University System Website". Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  19. Accreditation 2010 Self-Study Report Standard Six: Governance and Administration
  20. Accreditation 2010 Self-Study Report Standard Seven: Finance
  21. data from
  22. Moy, Chelsi (October 24, 2009). "Bobby Hauck, Kaimin feud goes viral". Missoulian. Missuola, MT. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
  23. "Guide to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Delta Omicron Chapter (State University of Montana) Records 1916–1978". May 21, 2004. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  24. "History of International Activities at the University of Montana," University of Montana International Programs.
  25. UM International Partners," University of Montana International Programs.
  26. "Home – Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center – The University Of Montana". Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  27. UM International Partners:
  28. ASUM – Office of Transportation
  29. Mountain Line Routes with interactive map
  30. UM Park 'n' Ride
  31. "UDASH – The University of Montana". Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  32. UM Bicycle Information
  33. Montana Grizzlies website
  34. University of Montana's Past Presidents
  35. Anthony Sacco (October 12, 2006). "The Truth about Ray Hunkins". Wright, Wyoming: High Plains Sentinel. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  36. "The Sky I Scrape: Pearl Jam FAQ".
  37. Heaney, John. "Meet: Jeff Ament: Pearl Jam's Ament Plays for Love of Game". Missoulian. January 6, 2008.
  38. Ho, Jeff. "Interview with Jeff Ament". Juice Magazine. 2006.
  39. "The Montanan – The Magazine of The University of Montana". May 18, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  40. "Montana Governor Forrest H. Anderson". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  41. Devlin, Vince (2013-07-17). "Gordon Belcourt remembered as advocate for Indian Country". The Missoulian. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  42. Morrison, Gayle L. (2013), Hog's Exit: Jerry Daniels, the Hmong, and the CIA, Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 9780896727915
  43. "MANSFIELD, Michael Joseph (Mike), (1903 - 2001)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  44. "John Milkovich". Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  45. "Jeannette Rankin". Women in Congress. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  46. "Ted Schwinden". National Governors Association. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  47. Čeština. "World's Largest Professional Network". LinkedIn. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  48. Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey. The biographical dictionary of women in science: pioneering lives from ancient times to the mid-20th century. Taylor & Francis US. pp. 384–. ISBN 978-0-415-92038-4. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  49. Loudon, Bennett J (June 26, 2008). "Retiring Flynn oversaw time of rapid growth at Monroe Community College". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  50. "Martin Melosi". Retrieved December 11, 2010.
Wikisource has the text of a 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article about University of Montana.

Coordinates: 46°51′36″N 113°59′07″W / 46.86000°N 113.98528°W / 46.86000; -113.98528

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