May 30, 2008



MSU Billings Foundation, 657-2244
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657.2269 or 672.2720



Generosity from about 1,500 people at the 16th annual Montana State University Billings Foundation’s Wine and Food Festival netted $335,000, including $167,750 for scholarships, foundation officials said this week.


Marilynn Miller, president and CEO of the foundation, said the annual event was a big success, thanks to the broad support of the Billings community.


“This event was an amazing testament to the power of making a difference, one person at a time,” Miller said. “It is also a verification of the belief this community has in MSU Billings, its programs and its students.”


The MSU Billings Foundation works throughout the year to increase financial support for and awareness of the university. During the past 12 months alone -- including the net proceeds from the 2008 Wine and Food Festival -- the foundation has raised $2,952,000 for scholarships, university programs, capital projects and endowed excellence funds for MSU Billings.


The Wine and Food Festival featured a week of wine seminars, gourmet dining and cooking schools with local, state, and nationally-renowned chefs and wine masters. The week culminates with two grand evenings; a Friday night food, wine-tasting and social event that drew more than 800 people and a Saturday night formal dinner for more than 350. "Wine Fest," as it is now known to many, has become the signature event in Montana and the region for wine and culinary enthusiasts.


This year’s co-chairs were Stella Fong and Susan Carlson.


Over its 16-year history, the festival has netted more than $3 million to support the work of the MSU Billings Foundation on behalf of the university and its students, especially in providing scholarships. This figure reflects the support of thousands of generous donors who believe in the value of higher education, Miller said.  


Corporate partners for this year’s event were Briggs Distributing Co.; Wells Fargo; Computers Unlimited; Billings Gazette Communications; Sodexho; and the MSU Billings Foundation. Corporate sponsors this year were Albertsons; Fortin Enterprises; Underriner Motors - Bill and Mary Underriner; Heins Creative; Party Time Plus; Travel Café; and RBC Wealth Management.

Planning is now under way for the next year’s Wine and Food Festival, to be held May 11–16, 2009.


For more information about the Wine and Food Festival, contact the MSU Billings Foundation at 657-2244 or check their website: