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- Icons By Maria Maldonado
Tireless UM advocate Bill Johnston retires after 36 years of service to alma mater
Fall on the University of Montana campus is a time like no other. Faculty have returned to campus ready to teach. Our Grizzly sports teams have launched into their respective seasons. And, of course, our students – both newly enrolled and returning – add a tremendous energy to campus that make this time of year one of my favorites.
For all that is new and exciting, and for all of the new faces we’re excited to see on campus, it is the departure of a familiar one that is on the hearts and minds of many in our University community. Bill Johnston, director of the Office of Alumni Relations and president and CEO of the Alumni Association, retired this fall after 36 years of service to UM.
It’s said that Montana is one small town with very long streets. Meeting Bill will make you believe it. If you’ve ever traveled this state with him, you realize quickly he seems to know everyone. He either knows them, their family or has mutual friends. When you combine that with Bill’s uncanny ability to remember, recognize and recollect so many details about the people and places that intersect with UM, it’s easy to see why, to many people, he is the face of our University.
In many regards, all of our alumni are the face of UM. Their accomplishments – many described here in the Montanan – are the reason for our existence at the University. We are here to prepare new generations of leaders, scientists, critical thinkers, talented performers and more. Through their professional accomplishments, UM alumni demonstrate and personify the academic excellence, engagement and verve that exist on our campus and stay with our students long after they graduate. Their discoveries, contributions and achievements make our University, the state and, indeed, the world, a better place.
Speaking of our amazing alumni, I want to extend my congratulations to our 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees: Darrel Choate, Timothy Conver, Arlynn Fishbaugh and Tom Seekins. Your recognition is well-deserved, and I thank each of you for being wonderful ambassadors of our great University. My appreciation as well to the team at the Alumni Association for all that they do to keep our graduates connected to UM and, in turn, ensure we have the opportunity to follow and celebrate the wonderful achievements of our alumni and friends.
I thank Bill for his service and offer my congratulations on his retirement. I know Bill will maintain his connections to UM and to the many people who line the long streets of this small town we call Montana.
Royce C. Engstrom, President