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MSU Billings Foundation Officially Burns the Mortgage on McDonald Hall

The Montana State University Billings Foundation officially burned the mortgage on McDonald Hall Monday, May 23, at 10:00 a.m., at McDonald Hall, 100 Poly Drive. McDonald Hall, owned by the MSU Billings Foundation, houses the MSU Billings College of Business. Special guests of honor at the mortgage burning ceremony included members of the Judith C. and Sam E. McDonald, Jr. family.

McDonald Hall was dedicated on September 17, 2003, and was named in honor of the Judith C. and Sam E. McDonald, Jr., family, who committed $1.4 million to the MSU Billings Foundation to benefit the College of Business.

The MSU Billings Foundation purchased the former Lowe Professional Building on the south side of Poly Drive, just west of N. 27th Street, in the fall of 1996. “This was the first time the Foundation had purchased a facility for University use,” said Marilynn Miller, president and CEO of the MSU Billings Foundation. Over the ensuing year, the building was extensively renovated and by fall semester 1997, for the first time, the College of Business had a home.

Prior to this time, College of Business courses were conducted in various buildings across campus, “wherever space was available,” said Miller. The acquisition and renovation of the building was costly, and a number of community partners stepped forward with significant contributions, notably First Interstate Bank of Commerce and the First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, Northwestern Energy, US Bank and MDU Resources Foundation, in addition to federal appropriations secured by Montana’s congressional delegation: Senators Conrad Burns and Max Baucus, and Congressman Denny Rehberg.

By 2002, the debt remaining was down to $400,000 when the McDonald family committed $1.4 million to eliminate the mortgage, and to establish the Judith C. and Sam E. McDonald Family Excellence Fund with an endowment of $1 million to support operations of the College of Business. As the McDonalds have paid their multi-year commitment, the mortgage on the building has been whittled down, and now is completely eliminated.

In addition to the MSU Billings College of Business, McDonald Hall is home to the Center for Applied Economic Development and the Montana Business Incubator. McDonald Hall is connected to the MSU Billings Parking Garage by a skybridge over Poly Drive.

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