UM President, Spouse Earn 2017 Governor’s Humanities Awards

January 27, 2017

Sheila and Hal StearnsMISSOULA – University of Montana President Sheila Stearns and her husband, Hal, received 2017 Governor’s Humanities Awards during a Jan. 26 ceremony at the State Capitol in Helena.

The couple earned the awards for teaching, supporting and demonstrating the value of the humanities during their distinguished roles in Montana education. Hal worked as a teacher and public humanities presenter, and Sheila served as Montana Commissioner of Higher Education. She was named UM’s interim president in December.

“It’s a great privilege for both Hal and me to be recognized with this honor,” Sheila Stearns said. “The humanities teach so many lessons and play key roles in critical thinking and developing well-rounded individuals. They are something we have always promoted.”

Humanities Montana and Gov. Steve Bullock presented the awards to six worthy Montanans. The other awardees were Chere Jiusto, John Murray, Karen Aspevig Stevenson and Dorothea Susag.

For more information on the awards, visit


Contact: Paula Short, director of communications, UM Office of the President, 406-243-2311,