Mansfield Center Presents Awards for International Engagement

March 16, 2018

The Mansfield Center presented four annual awards on March 14. On hand to receive the honors were Pat O’Connor (top, right), Theresa and Zara Noonan (second image, left), Jesse Jaeger and Heidi Wallace of EmpowerMT (third image, left) and Colleen Hunter of UM (bottom, center). The awards were presented by Mansfield staffers Deena Mansour (black shirt) and Kelsey Stamm Jimenz. MISSOULA – The Mansfield Center at the University of Montana announced the recipients of four annual awards on March 15 in recognition of outstanding engagement in international exchange and public diplomacy.

UM doctoral student Pat O’Connor received the Outstanding Educational Mentor Award for building an open and engaging learning environment for international fellows.

For their efforts in introducing countless international fellows to U.S. culture and the warmth of American home life, Curtis, Theresa, Jack and Zara Noonan earned the Outstanding Host Family Award.

The Outstanding Professional Mentor Award went to Executive Director Heidi Wallace and EmpowerMT for their work in training global young leaders in tolerance, inclusion and youth empowerment.

UM sponsored programs specialist Colleen Hunter took home the inaugural Outstanding University of Montana Partner award for her commitment to excellence in grant management.

“Since 2009, the Mansfield Center has successfully won the honor of hosting nearly 30 exchange programs of the U.S. Department of State,” said Mansfield Center Associate Director Deena Mansour. “These grants fund the international travel of dozens of Montanans, while exposing thousands more to valuable experiences in global cultures, business practices and languages. At the same time, these programs have drawn nearly $15 million to our community.

“This success relies on the generosity of people like today’s awardees,” Mansour continued. “Our programs are renowned at the highest levels of the State Department for providing experiences that demonstrate the best of who we are as Americans. We’re grateful to everyone in our community who helps to make our world a smaller place.”

The Mansfield Center Awards commemorate the birthday of the late Sen. Mike Mansfield on March 16, 1903. Maureen and Mike Mansfield’s legacy of international engagement and ethics in public affairs and leadership is at the heart of the Mansfield Center’s mission and programs.

“Our awardees are actively involved in supporting this important work of our namesake and his legacy,” Mansour said.

To become involved with Mansfield programs, visit or call Mansour at 406-243-2713.


Contact: Deena Mansour, associate director, UM Mansfield Center, 406-243-2713,