The College of Forestry and Conservation at The University of Montana awarded its first Zuuring/MAGIP Graduate GIS Scholarship in April. The honor went to UM graduate student Alma Pacheco, who is earning a geography master’s degree. She studies European brown bear habitat connectivity in northern Spain.
In the 1990s, the Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals (MAGIP) established a fund to award scholarships to UM graduate students working on projects that incorporates geographic information systems. In 2007, the UM Foundation began managing the fund. With regular donations from retired UM Professor Hans Zuuring, the fund reached its current endowment level.
Zuuring is a professor emeritus of forest biometry in UM’s forestry college. In 1987, at the request of former Dean Sid Frissell, Zuuring initiated a GIS laboratory at the school. He taught GIS courses and managed the GIS lab and up to 48 graduate students until his retirement.
Zuuring has donated more than $12,000 to the fund through the UM Foundation. When asked why he wanted to support the scholarship, he said, “When I was a graduate student, the only money given out was for a teaching assistantship or for research.”
MAGIP originally started the fund to award scholarships to both UM and Montana State University students using GIS. With the transfer of the fund to the UM Foundation and regular gifts from Zuuring, UM’s Zuuring/MAGIP GIS Scholarship will now be awarded in perpetuity. Every year a student will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship to pursue graduate studies that use GIS.