MISSOULA – The University of Montana Foundation has awarded Eric Sprunk, a 1986 alumnus of the UM College of Business, the Neil S. Bucklew Presidential Service Award. The award recognizes Sprunk’s continuous support of UM since he graduated with degrees in business finance and accounting.
The award, named for former UM President Bucklew who served from 1981 to 1986, recognizes individuals for their extraordinary effort to deepen Montana’s understanding of UM’s needs and strengths. It has been given annually by the UM Foundation since 1988.
Sprunk received the award on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the UM Foundation’s annual President’s Club Dinner. Recent honorees of the Bucklew award include Dennis and Gretchen Eck in 2019, Mickey Sogard in 2018, Michael McDonough in 2017, Nelson Weller in 2016 and Deborah Doyle McWhinney in 2015.
Sprunk is a Missoula native who currently serves as chief operating officer for Nike Inc. He started his career at PwC and joined Nike in 1993. Throughout his career, he has continued his engagement with UM, serving on the UM College of Business Advisory Council and the National Advisory Board for Grizzly Athletics since its inception in 2000. Sprunk currently chairs the College of Business’ Campaign Montana steering committee.
Sprunk also gives generously to support business, athletics and the arts at UM. He and his wife, Blair, partnered with alumni Mark and Cheryl Burnham to establish Montana’s first-ever endowed dean’s chair position in the UM College of Business. The Sprunks were lead donors to the Eric and Blair Sprunk Student-Athlete Academic Center, which provides academic space and services for UM’s more than 300 student-athletes. Additionally, Sprunk and his family have supported a scholarship at UM in honor of his late mother, Rachel Sprunk Smith, a 1984 UM graduate and advocate for the performing arts.
Maintaining deep ties with Missoula and western Montana, Sprunk and his family support his Hellgate High School alma mater and other local organizations, including Soft Landing Missoula, the Watson Children’s Shelter and the Boys and Girls Club in Polson. The couple also actively supports organizations in their communities in Oregon and in Washington.
”The Missoula community and the University of Montana have had an incredible impact on me personally and professionally throughout my life,” Sprunk said. “I value my relationships with the University at the highest level, and I am humbled and honored by this award.”
Sprunk received the UM Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 and the College of Business Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004. He was UM’s Commencement speaker in 2018.