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UM News
February 04, 2013


The University of Montana invites students, faculty, staff and the general public to explore the excitement of teaching and learning at the University during  “Celebrate Academics on Charter Day” from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, in the University Center.

The new celebration of academics at UM is held in conjunction with Charter Day, an event marking the anniversary of the University’s founding 120 years ago. The annual Charter Day awards ceremony, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom, will recognize exemplary campus and community members.

“Celebrate Academics on Charter Day” gives participants an opportunity to learn about the innovative ideas and work happening inside and outside the classroom by UM’s world-class faculty members and students.

Peter Schmidt, director of studies at Gill St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone, N.J., and recent winner of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Build Your Own College” contest, will deliver a keynote address, titled “Climbing a Different Mountain,” about his work developing new models for higher education based on experiential learning.

"When we have the opportunity to really learn something in depth, it becomes a part of us,” Schmidt recently told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

All events are open to the public and the tentative schedule of events follows:

  • 11:30 a.m.: Missoula College Energy Technology Program student presentations, University Center Atrium.
  • Noon: Charter Day cupcakes and music student performance, UC Atrium.
  • Noon: Fun with Food and Science, Molecular Gastronomy, Eating for Academic Performance and Stimulating Your Brain, One Bite at a Time, Lommasson Center Food Zoo. (Public offered discount price of $6.25 for lunch at the Food Zoo).
  • 12:30-2 p.m.: Health and Human Performance, study abroad and experiential learning student presentations, UC Atrium.
  • 2:10 p.m.: Select UM classes open to the public, various locations.
  • 2-3:30 p.m.: UM Insights: Professors Lee Banville, Leora Bar-El, Doug Emlen, Sarah Halvorson, Martin Horesji and Cara Nelson reflect on teaching, UC Rooms 326-327.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Keynote Address: “Climbing a Different Mountain” by Peter Schmidt, UC Ballroom.
  • 4:30 p.m.: Sneak preview of “Jumping into Fire: A Chinese Tale for All Ages,” a performance by UM Theatre & Dance students, UC Ballroom.
  • 5:30 p.m.: Charter Day Celebration followed by a reception, UC Ballroom.
  • 7:30 p.m.: Bandini-Chiachiaretta Duo, UM Music Recital Hall.

The annual Charter Day awards ceremony also is free and open to the public. Missoula Mayor John Engen will attend the awards ceremony to present an official proclamation of University of Montana Day. A reception will follow the ceremony.

UM Provost Perry Brown will preside over the presentation of 2013 Charter Day awards to the following recipients:

Montana Alumni Award: David A. Bell graduated from UM in 1996 with a degree in finance. This award recognizes a former UM student for extraordinary service to the University. Bell founded and serves on the board of Grateful Nation Montana, the first of its kind in the nation. Grateful Nation provides tutoring, mentoring and a college education for the children of all Montana soldiers killed while on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Associated Students of UM Student Service Award: Sean McQuillan, a sophomore at UM, studying political science and climate change. This award recognizes distinguished service and achievement. McQuillan serves on the ASUM Student Political Action Committee as a student at large. With ASUM, McQuillan worked to promote student engagement by hosting a get-out-the-vote event the night before Election Day.

Robert T. Pantzer Presidential Humanitarian Award: Larry Gianchetta, dean of the School of Business Administration for more than 27 years. This award recognizes those who create a more humane learning environment at UM. Gianchetta long has been a supporter of humanitarian activities and diversity on the UM campus and was instrumental in bringing diversity to the forefront at the school.

Neil S. Bucklew Presidential Service Award: Rockwood Brown attended UM from 1946 to 1952, earning a bachelor’s degree in business and a juris doctorate. This award recognizes extraordinary effort to foster an understanding of UM’s needs and strengths throughout the community and the state. After graduating, Brown served as a judge advocate for the U.S. Air Force. He practiced insurance defense litigation with the Brown Law Firm in Billings for 46 years. Since retiring in 1999, he has served as senior vice president-legal and chairman of Wyo-Ben, Inc.

Tom Boone Town and Gown Award: Denise J. Dowling, interim dean of the School of Journalism and associate professor in the Radio-Television Department. This award recognizes faculty members who foster a deeper understanding between the University and Missoula. Dowling joined the UM faculty in 2000. In 2004, she launched a student-produced series of radio programs called “The Footbridge Forum.” The very name of the program exemplifies the town-and-gown approach Dowling has taken to offer citizen-generated suggestions to problems affecting the campus and the greater Missoula community.

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Dr. Herbert M. Swick, former executive director of the Institute of Medicine and Humanities. Although officially retired, he continues to teach graduate students in the Master of Public Health program at UM, and medical students at Montana State University. This award recognizes the contribution of many hours of uncompensated time to UM to help meet the needs of the campus community.

Outstanding Service to the External Community Award: Janel Chaffee Queen has just begun her 11th year of service to the School of Business Administration. This award recognizes exceptional service to the off-campus community and positive contributions to the overall mission of the University. Queen created an award-winning career preparation and employer networking program for business students. 

John Ruffatto Memorial Award: Cameron Lawrence is the Poe Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the School of Business Administration, where he is an associate professor in the Management Information Systems Department. This award recognizes UM faculty who bring practical, applicable business principles into the classroom. Lawrence has been working on transforming classroom-based business education into a model that promotes collaboration, innovation and invention.

George M. Dennison Presidential Faculty Award for Distinguished Accomplishment: Joel T. Harper, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences. This award recognizes distinguished accomplishments that have brought significant recognition to UM at the regional and national levels. Harper’s research focuses on the mechanics of glacier movement and involves integration of intensive field measurements with numerical analysis and modeling.

George M. Dennison Presidential Staff Award for Distinguished Accomplishment: Mary Kamensky began her 28-year career at UM in 1986. This award recognizes distinguished accomplishment within the employee’s work unit that brings excellence, merit, distinction or glory to UM. Kamensky worked for the Department of Psychology for 11 years and has been the administrative officer in the Graduate School for 17 years.

For more information about “Celebrate Academics on Charter Day” events, call Claudine Cellier, assistant to the provost, at 406-243-4689 or email; or call Jay Kettering, UM Office of Alumni Relations on-campus events coordinator, at 406-243-6439 or email


NOTE TO MEDIA: Students, faculty, staff and administrations can be available on Feb. 12 for media preview pieces. To make arrangements call Cellier at 406-243-6135. Video preview opportunities also are available on Tuesday, Feb. 12.  Times and locations follow:

9-11 a.m.: Missoula Energy Technology student installation preview, Assistant Professor Brad Layton, Missoula College East Campus Griz House 8, located at 905 South Ave W.

6:30-10 p.m.: “Jumping into Fire: A Chinese Tale for All Ages” dance rehearsal, Masquer Theatre, PAR/TV Center. 


Western Montana


Contact: Claudine Cellier, assistant to the UM provost, 406-243-4689,; Jay Kettering, UM alumni relations on-campus events coordinator,