The President’s Perspective

A letter to readers from UM President Royce C. Engstrom


Categories: Campus , Academic


Our University was chartered in 1893 as Montana’s liberal arts-based institution of higher learning to provide education, research, and outreach to the state and nation. That means in today’s fast-paced world, in which our economy and quality of life are driven in significant ways by our colleges and universities, we at UM have the responsibility to examine our offerings on an ongoing basis. We must make sure we are addressing areas important to our heritage and to our future.

In all areas of education at UM, the fundamental principles of a strong liberal arts education—critical thinking, communication skills, a combination of depth and breadth of study—are solidly in place. We strive to equip all of our graduates—not just those with a major in a liberal arts program—with the tools they need to become leaders and high achievers.

The cover story for this issue of the Montanan is about the Brain Initiative—a new collaboration at UM that brings scientists, artists, students, and researchers together. It’s an illustration of the innovative thinking about highly important topics that our faculty does on a daily basis.

A total of thirty-three faculty and staff members at UM conduct research and education that contribute to the Brain Initiative. Some are looking for biomarker molecules that will show evidence of traumatic brain injury from sports, while others are striving to help veterans through the work of a newly approved Neural Injury Center. Researchers are studying speech loss and recovery; still others work on the connection between storytelling and the brain. Last summer, we opened the new downtown location of spectrUM Discovery Area, our interactive youth science museum, which has its own exhibit on the human brain.

Think of the power of discovery when we bring all these creative people together! That’s the kind of inspiration the Brain Initiative provides. And that’s the inspiration our founders had in mind at the beginning of the University of Montana.

Let me end with a quote from Reed Humphrey, chair of the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Speaking about the interaction fostered by the Brain Initiative, Reed says, “That it occurs on a campus with a long tradition of liberal arts is fortuitous, considering that the brain has right and left hemispheres.”

Enjoy discovering more about the brain, and about the University of Montana, with this issue.

Go Griz!

Royce C. Engstrom, President

President Engstrom
comments powered by Disqus