MISSOULA, Montana – The University of Montana Foundation awarded the Order of the Grizzly, its highest honor, on Sept. 24. Suzanne and Bruce Crocker of Palo Alto, California, and Terry Payne of Missoula are the 2015 recipients and were honored at the UM Foundation’s President’s Club and Heritage Society Dinner.
“This award is one small way for us to recognize those who have given us so much,” said Shane Giese, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “Suzanne, Bruce and Terry have been incredibly generous with their time, expertise and resources over the years.”
The Order of the Grizzly recognizes those who have made a significant impact on UM through their leadership and philanthropy. This year’s recipients are shining examples.
In April 2014, the Crockers established the Suzanne and Bruce Crocker Distinguished Director Fund in support of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture. Over the past decade, Payne was instrumental in the creation of both The Payne Family Native American Center and the Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute. He also supports a variety of other campus units, including the School of Business Administration and Missoula College. In addition to their financial contributions, all three recipients have been trustees of the Foundation and active volunteers around campus.
“What both Bruce and I have valued in our work and connection with the University is the opportunity to have an impact on the institution and its students,” Suzanne said. “At UM, we feel like the results of our time and philanthropy have a direct, beneficial effect, which is truly rewarding. That is why we are so committed to helping find a home for the University’s outstanding art collection – so that it may be studied and enjoyed by both students and the community.”
Bruce recently retired after more than 30 years in the high-tech industry, including venture investing, general management and investment banking. Suzanne, a Kalispell native and 1964 UM graduate, had a long and varied career in Silicon Valley as a marketing and communications executive for technology companies. The couple raised two children, Patrick and Katie, and have four grandchildren.
Payne graduated magna cum laude from UM in 1963 with a degree in business administration. He started Terry Payne & Co., Inc., a Missoula-based insurance agency, in 1972. He also is the founder of PayneWest Insurance, a top-40 nationally ranked agency, where he serves as chairman of the board. He and his wife, Patt, have two sons, Tim (Dawn) and Steve, along with one granddaughter, Celeste.
Payne said his support for UM springs from his very positive experience as a student of the University.
“My time at UM helped form the values and direction of my career, and I am very thankful for that,” he said. “Investing in the University to help with the needs of the students, faculty and campus has been a very natural thing to do.”
Payne previously has received an honorary doctorate (2014), the Distinguished Alumni Award (2006) and the Neil Bucklew Presidential Service Award (2008) from the University.
The UM Foundation established the Order of the Grizzly in 1965 to honor individuals who sustained an active interest in Montana and whose accomplishments contributed to the welfare of the state, nation and world. Past recipients include Sen. Mike Mansfield, actress Myrna Loy and Llewellyn Callaway, who was the publisher of Newsweek in the 1960s.
The award now is conferred on those who have made a significant impact on the University through their leadership and philanthropy. Recipients are awarded a bronze miniature of a grizzly bear, the mascot of the University, sculpted by late UM Professor Rudy Autio.