Beyond Comprehension

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the fall 2013 cover of the Montanan.


I read with great delight the story about my friend John Ruffatto and his benefactor activities within the University of Montana’s School of Business Administration. Great story! John knew the need to bring the academic world and business world together.

You may not know that John also supported other philanthropic activities at our University.

I recall that when I was associated with the UM Foundation in the 1980s, John and his wife, Fran, stepped forward with generous gifts that had significant impacts on many other areas of campus. 

One that I will always remember was when Don Simmons came to me with the need to find funds to restore a 1947 Steinway piano that had trained a great many generations of music students. John and Fran wrote a check for $18,000 to make the rebuild possible.

Later on, the School of Music honored John and Fran with a special luncheon and offered to play any composition they wanted after lunch. John was caught off-guard with the offer and could only say, “Turkey in the Straw,” upon which the pianist was stumped!

A great couple for a great University.

Bill Zader, Missoula

(Editor’s note: We received numerous letters and phone calls about the image on the cover of the fall 2013 issue. The vehicle was driven to the spot along the fire road that traverses Mount Sentinel, where the photo was taken with one tire off of the road.)

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