- Editorial Offices
- 325 Brantly Hall
- Missoula, MT 59812
- (406) 243-2488
- Icons By Maria Maldonado
Alice ’46 and Bob Blair ’47, St. George, Utah, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year. Both Alice and Bob majored in journalism and worked at the Kaimin and also were members of Greek Life at UM. On March 20, 1946, they were married at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house, with a reception afterward at Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Together they raised 13 children, while Bob worked as an editor and Alice explored many different careers, including public relations and real estate. Now retired with 29 grandchildren, the couple engages in their community through volunteering and other activities, though Alice downplays that fact in a letter to the Montanan. “Bob is 94, I’m 91. Neither of us is too active anymore – but we’re alive. I swim eight laps a day at the gym.”
Willene Gunn ’59, Talent, Ore., is the artistic director for Brava! Opera Theater. She directed the opera program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 30 years and served on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Ralph Lintz ’62, M.B.A. ’67, Port Orchard, Wash., and his wife, Dorothea, received the Spirit of Philanthropy Award at the Kitsap Community Foundation’s annual Celebration of Philanthropy. The award honors an individual, couple or family who exhibits a deep commitment and heartfelt dedication to philanthropy in Kitsap County. Ralph coached youth sports, served on the Harrison Medical Center board of directors for 36 years, co-founded the Harrison Foundation and served on the boards of the YMCA, Bremerton Rotary, Golf Club and Chamber of Commerce. He retired as president of Great Northwest Savings Bank in 1992.
Don Cowles ’66, Bozeman, owns Wild West Shirt Co., which sells apparel to nearly every national park and many national monuments. In February, Wild West Shirt Co. was one of four businesses in the country selected to create a promotional video for Fruit of the Loom’s national advertising campaign.
Martin Melosi ’69, M.A. ’71, Houston, received the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Environmental History. The award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to environmental history scholarship over their career, is the highest honor in the field and only has been bestowed to seven other recipients since 1997. The Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor and director of the Center for Public History at the University of Houston, Martin has written or edited 19 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters. His 2000 book, “The Sanitary City,” won the top prize in four fields of study.
Patrick Weasel Head ’71, M.Ed. ’73, Missoula, was selected as Missoula’s 2016 Peacemaker. Coordinated by the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center and the Missoula Peace Quilters, the annual award recognizes an individual who demonstrates a long-term commitment to peace and justice in leadership roles. Patrick volunteers with Meals on Wheels, Drive a Van, the Missoula Food Bank and other organizations. He also served 11 months on the Missoula City Council and three years on the UM Alumni Association’s board of directors.
Russell Graham ’72, Fort Collins, Colo., a research forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station, was recognized for his contributions and leadership on understanding and conserving North American forests through his promotion to an “ST” graded position, a prestigious category awarded to federal scientists for performance of high-level research and development. Of the more than 4,200 scientists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 100 have been awarded ST grades.
Susan Wallace Lyons ’72, writing as Susan W. Lyons, has written, illustrated and published two children’s animal adventure books, “Sea Dogs (and a Cat)” and “Sea Dogs and the Secret of the Gold Medallion.” Written for ages 7 through 11, the books are available on Amazon.
The Harrison Ski Group, which includes many UM alumni and supporters, spent a week skiing in Selva, Italy, in February. Pictured are, front row, left to right: Twila Wolfe, Missoula; Molly Harrison Howard ’72, Missoula; Sharon Palmer ’72, Missoula; and Kelly Flaherty-Settle ’80, Helena. Second row: Jeff Gray ’79, Great Falls; Georganna Schara Clifford ’72, M.A. ’73, Spokane; Frank R. “Randy” Harrison ’75, J.D. ’83; Mary Kincaid, Missoula; and Ann Falldin, Salt Lake City. Third row: William Steinbrenner ’59, Missoula; Barry Olson ’79, Missoula; and Jill Steinbrenner Olson ’85, Missoula.
Audrey Burr ’74, Spokane, Wash., was recognized as the Washington State Social Worker of the Year for “her commitment to the core values of the profession that are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective.” Audrey has worked in a variety of practice settings, including hospitals, home health, private practice and with victims of sexual assault. She also teaches social work to undergraduate students at Washington State University and Eastern Washington University and has provided clinical supervision to more than 30 social workers as they pursued licensure in Washington.
Allen Chrisman ’76, M.S. ’80, Kalispell, received the 2015 Field Forester Award from the Flathead Valley Chapter of the Montana Society of American Foresters. Chrisman spent more than 30 years working for the U.S. Forest Service before retiring in 2008. He now owns A.B. Chrisman Forest Management Services, a consulting firm that manages family-owned property in the North Fork of the Flathead.
Robert Keller, Ph.D. ’76, Pueblo West, Colo., retired from Colorado State University, Pueblo, as a professor emeritus of sociology after 30 years of service in the criminology track in both graduate and undergraduate programs. He is the author of national and international journal articles and co-wrote a textbook, “Prison Crisis.” Prior to his retirement, Robert taught at Southern Missouri State University in Springfield and at the University of Wisconsin, Fond du Lac. While a graduate student at UM, his major professor and dissertation adviser was the late Richard Vandiver, an engaging professor and dear friend.
Michael Thompson ’76, Willmar, Minn., was elected to serve as chief judge of Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District, which covers 13 counties in western Minnesota.
Allen Slater ’78, Kalispell, retired after teaching music at Flathead High School for 28 years.
Stuart Hugill ’79, Troutdale, Ore., received the Administrator’s Exceptional Service Award from the Bonneville Power Authority. The award recognizes his work as a program implementation manager in the agency’s Pollution Prevention and Abatement program, through which he designed and implemented BPA’s groundbreaking spill prevention and control program.
Sharman Apt Russell, M.F.A. ’80, Gila, N.M., received the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for her book, “Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World.” The award recognizes a distinguished book of nature writing that combines accurate scientific information with firsthand fieldwork and creative natural history writing. “Diary of a Citizen Scientist” explores the phenomenon of volunteer citizen scientists through a recounting of the year Sharman spent studying a little-known species, the Western red-bellied beetle.
Patrick “Padraig” Sheehy ’80, Laramie, Wyo., is the executive director of WyoFile, an independent, nonprofit journalism website dedicated to providing in-depth news coverage of Wyoming’s people, places and policy.
Elizabeth Best, J.D. ’81, Great Falls, was selected as a Mountain States Super Lawyer for the seventh time. Each year, the Super Lawyers research team selects no more than 5 percent of lawyers in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada to receive the honor.
Janet Ellis ’80, Helena, received the 2016 Women in Conservation Award in March. The award honors the longtime Audubon staffer and legislator as a leader in conservation in Montana. “Janet is one of those people that’s been a tireless advocate, and she’s always been very successful both as a lobbyist and setting conservation policy,” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener told the Independent Record. “She’s persistent and also always has the facts behind her.”
Mike DeGrosky ’81, Missoula, is the bureau chief for the Fire and Aviation Division of the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation. He has more than 38 years of wildland fire and incident management experience.
Dan Vuckovich ’82, Great Falls, was elected chair of the Montana Board of Public Accountants for 2016-17. Dan, a certified public accountant and shareholder at Anderson ZurMuehlen’s Great Falls office, has served in several leadership positions within the profession, including as a council member of the American Institute of CPAs and as a current member and past president of the Montana Society of CPAs. He also has served his community through involvement in the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce, the University of Great Falls, Leadership Great Falls and the Great Falls Soccer Foundation.
Jan Metzmaker, M.S. ’83, Whitefish, was named the 2016 Montana Tourism Ambassador of the Year at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
Glen T. Cameron, M.A. ’84, Columbia, Mo., is the Maxine Wilson Gregory Chair in Journalism Research and professor of strategic communication in the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He received the 2016 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award for his research on crisis communications. He also was a finalist for the SEC’s Professor of the Year Award.
Dana Toole ’84, M.S.W. ’04, Helena, is head of the Children’s Justice Bureau in the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation. She received the Horowitz-Barker Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Children’s Alliance at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June. The award recognizes a professional who has demonstrated, over the course of a career, a dedication to the Children’s Advocacy Center movement, which stresses collaboration among agency professionals to more efficiently and effectively help victims of child abuse.
Monty Knittel, M.B.A. ’85, Paradise, Calif., was named the president and CEO of Feather River Hospital in May. Previously, he served in the same role at Walla Walla General Hospital in Washington for nine years.
Gregory Siekaniec ’85, Anchorage, Alaska, was named the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional director for Alaska. He oversees the direction and day-to-day operations of the region, which includes the massive National Wildlife Refuge System.
Wendy Shelton Sire, M.B.A. ’85, Great Falls, a financial adviser with Wells Fargo Advisors, earned the title of senior vice president-investment officer earlier this year. She has been a financial adviser with Wells Fargo for eight years and has 28 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Gary Gillett, M.M.E. ’87, Missoula, retired after teaching music education for 41 years, 30 of which were with Missoula County Public Schools.
Everett Scott McGhee ’87, Clarkton, N.C., is an artisan knife-maker who attained his American Bladesmith Society Master Smith certification in June. Certification signifies a bladesmith is capable of masterfully forging and finishing Damascus and plain carbon steel knives of the highest quality. Only 119 bladesmiths worldwide currently hold this status. Scott spent many years working as a certified arborist before becoming a bladesmith, and he likes to incorporate the aesthetics of nature into his work. “There are few straight lines in nature,” noted McGhee, who is known for making knives with flowing lines and beautiful curves.
Rob Jensen ’87, Missoula, who has taught science at Hellgate High School for 15 years, was named the 2016 Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Biology Teachers. “Rob is a very intelligent and very fair teacher,” former student Andy Vale told the Missoulian. “He expects a lot of himself and also others. That makes him a very strong role model.”
Sandra Johnson, M.B.A. ’89, Baltimore, Md., is vice president of revenue cycle management at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In this role, she’s responsible for $4 billion in net patient service revenue and the strategic direction and development of the revenue cycle for the hospital. The Baltimore Medical System recently appointed her to its board of trustees.
Amber Underhill Beckner ’90, Great Falls, is the marketing and resource development coordinator at NeighborWorks Great Falls. She oversees the nonprofit affordable housing agency’s fundraising efforts, including annual and capital campaigns, and grant compliance and reporting. She also is responsible for communications, including the organization’s website and social media channels. Before joining NeighborWorks on a temporary basis in 2012, Amber worked for D.A. Davidson Cos. for six years and at the Great Falls Tribune for 19 years. She served on the Great Falls Community Food Bank board and volunteered for United Way of Cascade County, the American Red Cross, Holy Spirit Catholic School, Great Falls High School and Project Graduation.
Julie Robitaille ’90, M.Ed. ’07, Missoula, is an executive regional director for Missoula County Public Schools. She previously was principal of C.S. Porter Middle School and has worked in the district since 1991.
Kipp Wessel, M.F.A. ’92, White Bear Lake, Minn., published his debut novel, “First, You Swallow the Moon,” much of which takes place in the western Montana wilderness.
Joe Batt, M.F.A. ’93, Olympia, Wash., is an artist and instructor at South Puget Sound Community College. His recent exhibition, “In the Cloud,” explored the impact Wi-Fi technology and devices have on the culture of daily life and included drawings and ceramic sculptures depicting children using devices like smartphones and tablets.
Photo caption: Joe Batt, left, and Peter Christenson, curator at the Washington State University Tri-Cities Art Center, install the “In the Cloud” exhibition.
B. Chance Saltzman, M.A.S. ’94, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., was promoted to the rank of brigadier general after serving 24 years in the U.S. Air Force.
Brent Kelly ’95, San Diego, is the national business development director for Wilkin Marketing, a national firm that specializes in casino marketing and media promotions.
Aaron Dysart ’98, St. Paul, Minn., is the current City Artist for Minnesota’s capital city. In his role, he helps create ways to incorporate art into otherwise mundane urban landscapes, such as city maintenance and building projects.
Hans Dyhrman ’99, Burlington, Vt., leads the marketing efforts for Nokian Tyres in the U.S. and Canada as the North American subsidiary’s director of marketing. Before joining Nokian, he was an associate marketing manager for Keurig Green Mountain. He previously worked in marketing positions at Elan USA, Burton Snowboards and Lazer Sports.
Jared Losing ’99, Missoula, a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial, was included in “America’s Top 1,200 Advisors: State-by-State,” published by Barron’s Magazine. The annual list recognizes the most outstanding financial advisers who represent the highest levels of ethical standards, professionalism and success in the field. Jared was chosen based on assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record and quality of practice.
Fourteen of the Missoulian’s 2016 list of “20 Under 40” top professionals in western Montana are UM alumni.
Keith Dunlap, M.F.A. ’00, Portland, Maine, published his debut collection of poems, “Storyland,” in June.
Adam McQuiston ’01, Missoula, is chief operating officer of First Montana Bank and is responsible for managing the bank’s statewide branch operations and business development.
Bodhipaksa Sering, M.I.S. ’01, New Market, N.H., is a Buddhist teacher and author who has been a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order since 1993. He also founded www.wildmind.org, a website that provides resources and guidance promoting mindfulness and compassion through Buddhist meditation. He previously taught meditation in UM’s religious studies department.
Melissa Kirr ’03, Avon, Colo., is the sustainability programs coordinator at Walking Mountain Science Center.
Vanessa Bucklin, M.B.A. ’04, Conrad, an agent with New York Life, earned membership in the Million Dollar Round Table for the third straight year. Achieving membership in MDRT is a distinguishing life-insurance career milestone, attained by those who demonstrate superior professional knowledge, experience and client service. MDRT membership represents the top life insurance and financial service professionals worldwide.
Kendra Kuhl ’04, Stanford, Calif., is co-founder and chief technology officer of Opus 12, a clean technology startup that is developing an electrochemical device that converts carbon dioxide, water and electricity into valuable fuels and chemicals at a cost similar to that of conventional petroleum products. Opus 12 was part of the inaugural cohort of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s incubation program, Cyclotron Road. It won the Transformational Idea Award at the 2015 DOE/Caltech FLOW competition and Fortune magazine’s clean tech startup competition.
Owen Dodd ’05, Washington, D.C., is a legislative correspondent for U.S. Rep. John Larson of Connecticut.
Arthur Adamiec ’06, Bellevue, Idaho, is a certified arborist at Arborcare Resources in Hailey, Idaho. In this picture, Art had just sawed off the top 15 feet of a huge tree he was taking down. He strongly supports recycling and conservation issues and has a compost area on his land. Art met his soulmate, Sara Whitfield Adamiec ’05, while they were students at UM, and they married five years ago. Sara is an advertising representative for the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper in Ketchum. Together, they have a fun-loving 3-year-old son, Ryder, and a beautiful 6-month-old daughter, Eeva.
Jesse Mahugh ’06, M.P.A. ’10, Kalispell, is the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flathead County. Earlier this year, he received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from Flathead Valley Community College.
Several members of The Whizpops, a children’s band known for its award-winning, science-based music, earned degrees at UM. The Missoula-based group partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to release its latest album, “Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol. 1,” which features songs that educate listeners about endangered species in North America. Pictured, from left to right: Casey Schaefer ‘06, Christina Scruggs ‘14, Daniel Kiely, Steve Kalling, M.F.A. ‘96, Josh Farmer and Kevin Cashman ’08, M.A. ’14.
Matt Cochenour, J.D. ’07, Helena, an assistant attorney general in the Montana Department of Justice’s Legal Services Division, was accepted to participate in the National Association of Attorneys General Supreme Court Fellowship Program this fall. During the three-month fellowship in Washington, D.C., Matt will provide oral advocacy assistance to state attorneys arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, attend oral arguments, provide states with written advocacy assistance and write for the Supreme Court Report.
Patrick Duganz ’07, Bozeman, is the father engagement specialist, aka “dad liaison,” with the Gallatin City-County Health Department. His wife, Alisia Duganz ’11, is a certified paralegal at the firm of Goetz, Baldwin & Geddes. Together they run a documentary wedding and portrait photography business, A+P Photography, and their work has been featured in several bridal publications. They have a 2-year-old son, Grayson.
Christine Miller, Ph.D. ’07, Gainesville, Fla., a researcher and assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida, won an $822,000 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. Christine will use the five-year grant to investigate the evolution and diversification of elaborate animal weapons – such as antlers, horns and spurs – that males use to compete for females.
Lillian Nelson ’07, Missoula, is the director and curator of the E3 Convergence gallery in downtown Missoula, which specializes in showcasing emerging artists’ work.
Hillary Rose ’07, Great Falls, is the executive director of the Great Falls Symphony.
Brendan Bannigan ’09, Missoula, is the new owner of Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in downtown Missoula.
Carey Davis ’09, Missoula, is the director of operations and employee services at Advanced Technology Group. She is responsible for all day-to-day office activities and human resource services and support at the Missoula Solutions Center. Carey ensures that ATG’s new hires join the team with enthusiasm and are immersed in the company culture from day one. She also focuses on grant management and administration, continual growth and professional development of the organization and team, and guides the philanthropic efforts of the MSC.
Shane Johnston ’09, Phoenix, graduated from Midwestern University with a Doctor of Optometry degree in June. The Class of 2016 valedictorian, Shane served as president of the Gold Key International Optometric Honors Society and the Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honors Society while at Midwestern.
Jerek Wolcott ’09, Helena, Carroll College’s sports information director since 2014, was named the Frontier Conference’s 2016 nominee for the NAIA Sports Information Director of the Year award. Jerek helped develop and launch the Carroll College website, www.CarrollAthletics.com, which earned the best website award from the NAIA-SIDA publication contest in 2014-15.
Nicholas Vrooman, Ph.D. ’10, Helena, is the executive director of Northern Plains Folklife Resources and participated in the 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., earlier this year. A recognized authority on borderlands history, he served as the gathering’s humanities scholar, writing an essay and delivering two highlighted lectures.
Schylar Canfield-Baber, M.P.A. ’11, Washington, D.C., is the executive director of Voice for Adoption, a national adoption advocacy organization. Schylar, who spent 12 years in foster care before aging out without a family, has dedicated his professional and volunteer life to supporting and improving the child welfare system. He has served on the boards of Montana Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Childwise Institute, FosterClub and the Protect Montana’s Kids Commission. “I always longed for a place to call my own and, at one point, was told that I was too old to be adopted,” Schylar writes. “I knew when I grew up I wanted to dedicate myself to creating change for youth in foster care. I am excited to be part of ensuring that my foster brothers and sisters currently in the system find their own paths to permanence. I believe every child needs the benefit of a permanent and loving place to call home.”
Margaret Hendrick, M.S. ’11, Boston, is a postdoctoral associate with Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, which assists and promotes faculty research and enhances the university’s curricular offerings and communication products related to sustainable energy.
Douglas Walter ’11, Missoula, is the director of education and technology for the America Campaign. In his role, he defines the technology strategy and educational curriculum for the Big Sky Code Academy and Montana Code Girls, among other initiatives.
Gina Raicovich, M.S. ’12, Asheville, N.C., is an assistant professor of environmental studies and sustainable agriculture in Brevard College’s new agricultural education program.
Natalie Beard ’13, Medora, N.D., is the director of the Medora Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. As director, she coordinates tourism for the historic frontier town located in the Badlands, just outside Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota’s top tourist destination.
Michael J. Dax, M.A. ’13, Santa Fe, N.M., is the author of “Grizzly West: A Failed Attempt to Reintroduce Bears in the Mountain West,” which explores the political, cultural and social forces at work in the West that gave rise to an innovative, though ultimately failed, partnership between environmentalists and the timber industry to reintroduce grizzlies to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Montana and Idaho.
Megan Telligman, M.A. ’13, Valparaiso, Ind., is the interpretation and communications coordinator for the Porter County Museum. She also is an English professor at Valparaiso University.
Kristin Mickey ’14, Missoula, is celebrating her third anniversary with Advanced Technology Group’s Missoula Solutions Center, where she was recently promoted to corporate knowledge management coordinator.
Amanda WalkingChild ’14, Helena, is the Indian Education instruction coach for Helena Public Schools.
Roberta “Bobbi” Berkhof, J.D. ’15, Great Falls, is an attorney at the law firm of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, with a focus on employment and administrative law, as well as commercial, property and transactional matters.
Toby Cook, J.D. ’15, Billings, is a staff attorney for the Montana Innocence Project, a statewide nonprofit organization that works to exonerate those wrongfully convicted of crimes.
Nate Williams ’15, Sidney, is the lead staffer for U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ congressional office in Sidney. Prior to enrolling at UM, Nate served six years in the U.S. Air Force, including three overseas deployments.