University of Montana TRiO Program Honors UM Philanthropists

April 08, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana TRiO Student Support Services will host a reception to pay tribute to the Grizzly Riders International from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in Emma B. Lommasson Center Room 154. The event is free and open to the public.  

The Grizzly Riders are a group of outdoor enthusiasts who foster and promote development at UM by bringing together people with diverse national and international interests. During the past five years, Grizzly Riders have donated more than $50,000 to initiate and support a book-loan program that helps TRiO students purchase textbooks. 

TRiO SSS is one of two programs at UM funded by the U.S. Department of Education that provides support services for first-generation, low-income or disabled students. It helps students graduate from high school and attain a college degree. TRiO SSS has existed at UM the past 36 years, while TRiO Upward Bound has existed at UM for 49 years.

Montana has seven TRiO SSS programs statewide serving 2,920 students. Grants awarded to eligible students through the program amount to $3.8 million. TRiO in Montana consists of 26 programs, including Educational Opportunity centers, Educational Talent Search, McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement, classic Upward Bound and Veterans’ Upward Bound. Funding required to serve 9,049 Montana students amounts to $7.9 million.

During the past five years, 852 students have received textbooks from TRiO SSS at a cost of about $55,000. Each student participating in the TRiO program receives two or three loaner books to use during each semester, and textbooks are reused until new editions are required.

Although the book loan program is not a part of TRiO’s federal funding, the Grizzly Riders have made an impact on the campus community by helping students afford textbooks. The Grizzly Riders initially invested in helping UM students who participate in the program with the intent to find matching donors to help sustain the program. Efforts are being made to seek additional support.

For more information about the reception or the TRiO Programs, call Director of TRiO Programs Darlene Samson at 406-243-4199 or email

Contact: Darlene Samson, director, TRiO Programs, 406-243-4199,