On Friday, University of Montana officials announced the most ambitious fund-raising in the school’s history called ‘Campaign Montana – Think Bold, Be Bold’.

UM President Seth Bodnar said the $400 million drive had its starting point in 2013, and will continue through 2020.

“Over the past five years while we’ve been going through what we’re calling the silent phase of this campaign, our friends, alumni and supporters have donated around $325 million already,” said Bodnar. “From scholarships to study abroad activities to internships, to endowed faculty chairs and other fellowships.”

Bodnar said the university is asking its supporters to commit to telling the story of the school’s excellence through continued fundraising,

“The reason for that passion is because this university if exceptional,” he said. “This university is one that is world-class, and has quality programs across the sciences, the arts and humanities and the professional schools. As you’ve seen, we’re not just the top-ranked school in the state of Montana, but we have programs like wildlife biology that has been recognized as the number one program in the entire world.”

Bodnar said as state funding dwindles, the university is asking the private sector to step up and provide the funding necessary to enhance the school’s tradition of excellence.

“Today, the proportion of the cost of a student’s education in the Montana university system that’s funded by the state is now one half of what it was in the 1990’s,” he said.
“So, the burden of the cost of education is falling much more heavily on students and their families, and that is a threat to accessibility, so scholarships and private support to help students with merit, and also with need, is very important.”

The campaign is managed by the University of Montana Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization that inspires philanthropic support to enhance excellence and opportunity at UM.