The University of Montana Foundation recently has received a pledge from Bill Franke and his family in the amount of $24 million that will benefit the College of Forestry and Conservation and the Global Leadership Initiative. This will become the largest single gift ever received by the University of Montana, pending Montana University System Board of Regents approval as described below.
The Franke family has a history of investing in higher education and in the past has made major gifts to Stanford University and Northern Arizona University. They have been associated with our state for many years, own a home in the area and have had the opportunity to spend time on the UM campus. During the past six years, the Frankes have met with professors, students, administrators and alumni and have developed a strong connection to the University. The family’s gift is focused on conserving Montana’s natural resources and expanding the global perspective of our students.
In consideration of this gift, the University is requesting to rename both the College of Forestry and Conservation and Global Leadership Initiative in honor of the Franke family’s generosity. The University has begun its process of vetting the naming proposal within the UM campus community. The process includes approval by the forestry college faculty and GLI oversight board, as well as pending approval by the Faculty Senate, UM president and provost. If approved, the proposal will then be submitted to the Board of Regents for their consideration. When the Board of Regents addresses this item in November, the public will have the opportunity to participate in the process.
In the weeks to come, the University and UM Foundation look forward to sharing more about the Franke family and their inspiration for giving, as well as providing further details about their gift.