Charter Day Celebration to Mark UM’s Birthday Feb. 27

February 19, 2019

Charter-Day-Logo_web.jpgMISSOULA – The community is invited to help the University of Montana celebrate its 126th birthday during the Charter Day awards ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the University Center Ballroom.

The doors will open at 5 p.m., and the ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m. Twelve individuals from campus and the community will receive awards during the event, sponsored by the UM Office of Alumni Relations, and President Seth Bodnar will deliver an address. A reception will follow.

The individuals honored with Charter Day awards this year are:

  • ASUM Student Service Award: Tommy Jensen, a senior in the sustainable construction program at Missoula College UM West Campus. This award recognizes distinguished service and achievement.
  • George M. Dennison Presidential Faculty Award for Distinguished Accomplishment: John Sommers-Flanagan, a clinical psychologist and professor of counselor education at UM. This award recognizes distinguished accomplishments that have brought significant recognition to UM at the regional and national levels.
  • George M. Dennison Presidential Staff Award for Distinguished Accomplishment: Hilton “Skip” Conroy, a laborer and equipment operator for Facilities Services. This award recognizes distinguished accomplishment within the employee’s work unit that brings excellence, merit, distinction or glory to UM.
  • John Ruffatto Memorial Award: Michael Braun, the Poe Family Distinguished Fellow in Entrepreneurship in the Department of Management and Marketing. This award recognizes UM faculty who bring practical, applicable business principles into the classroom.
  • Montana Alumni Award: Carl Smart, president of the UM Alumni Band and retired band director. This award recognizes a friend of UM or former student for extraordinary service to the University.
  • Neil S. Bucklew Presidential Service Award: Dennis and Gretchen Eck, alums who have generously supported UM financially. This award recognizes extraordinary effort to foster an understanding of UM’s needs and strengths throughout the community and the state.
  • Outstanding Community Engagement Award: Rob Tapper, associate professor of trombone and director of jazz studies at UM. This award recognizes contributions toward the development and growth of mutually beneficial campus and community partnerships.
  • Robert T. Pantzer Presidential Humanitarian Award: Elizabeth Ametsbichler, chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at UM. This award recognizes those who create a more humane learning environment at UM.
  • Tom Boone Town and Gown Award: Kathleen “Annie” Sondag, professor of public and community health in the Department of Health and Human Performance and the School of Public and Community Health Sciences at UM. This award recognizes faculty members who foster a deeper understanding between the University and Missoula.
  • President Royce Engstrom Endowed Prize in University Citizenship: Zach Brown, a UM alum who is serving his third term in the Montana Legislature. This award recognizes a former student for extraordinary service to the University.
  • B. Speer Award for Distinguished Administrative Service: Lucy France, a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and UM’s Office of Legal Counsel. This award recognizes an administrator who has made an extraordinary commitment and contribution to the University.

To read bios for the Charter Day award recipients, visit

For more information on Charter Day, call Angela Weisenburger, on-campus events coordinator in the UM Office of Alumni Relations, at 406-243-6439 or email


Contact: Angela Weisenburger, on-campus events coordinator, UM Office of Alumni Relations, 406-243-6439,