March 13, 2008



Marilynn Miller, MSU Billings Foundation, 657-2244
John Cech, MSU Billings College of Technology, 247-3003
Lonnie Schrag, Chair, Department of Nursing, Health & Safety Occupations, 247-3074
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269 / 672-2720 (c)


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded a $251,000 grant for science laboratory equipment for the Montana State University Billing College of Technology, university officials announced today. 


The equipment will complete the chemistry and biology labs in the new Health Sciences Building that was officially dedicated Thursday at the COT campus at 3803 Central Ave.  The award was presented to MSU Billings Foundation President and CEO Marilynn Miller, who submitted the proposal on behalf of the science laboratory expansion project.
Faculty at the COT said funding for the state-of-the art equipment is a welcome addition to the new facility and will invaluable for students.


“The equipment will enable us to provide much stronger lab experiences and the capacity to teach microbiology and chemistry for an expanded number of students,” said Lonnie Schrag, chair of the Department of Nursing, Health and Safety Occupations at the MSU Billings COT. 


“These laboratories are critical to our new nursing RN program,” added Cindy Rossmith, director of nursing. 


The funds will purchase the very latest technology for student use. That includes microscopes, software for anatomy and physiology simulations, centrifuges, medical instruments, a spectrophotometer and other items to provide students experience with current, top quality medical and professional equipment.


Many local organizations and individuals supported the university’s efforts in pursuing the grant and met with representatives from the Murdock Trust during a site visit in December 2007. They included St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings Clinic, St. John’s Lutheran Ministries, Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, Billings Job Service, Big Sky EDA, the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Montana Department of Commerce and COT National Advisory Board Chair Bill Underriner.


“We could not be more grateful for the support, expertise, and assistance we have received from our local and state partners, and from our colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences,” said John Cech, Dean of the College of Technology. 


The College of Technology has significantly expanded its health care programs over the last three years, including securing approval of an ASRN nursing program this fall from the Montana Board of Nursing and the Montana Board of Regents.


MSU Billings Chancellor Ron Sexton said that program expansions represent the university’s continued commitment to serving the needs of the community and the region.


“We are delighted that both the health care community and a major regional foundation have expressed such strong support for our programs and our continuing efforts both to strengthen the university and contribute to the local economy,” said Sexton.


The new $11 million, 50,000 square-foot Health Sciences Building at the COT was made possible through bipartisan support and funding from the 2005 and 2007 sessions of the Montana Legislature and Gov. Brian Schweitzer. The facility is the first new building at MSU Billings in four decades.


The College of Technology is one of six colleges of Montana State University Billings. The other colleges are Arts and Sciences; Allied Health Professions; Business; Education; and Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning.


MSU Billings is a regional, urban liberal arts university with an enrollment of about 5,000 students.


For more information about the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust grant, contact Marilynn Miller, President and CEO of the MSU Billings Foundation at 657-2244. For more information about health care programs at the MSU Billings College of Technology, call 247-3003.