Eight alumni recognized this week for outstanding achievement, contributions and commitment to the University
Julie Tschetter Seedhouse, Director of Alumni Relations, 247-5780
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
Two champions for American Indian children and education, an advocate for special education, business leaders and a local legend in music and theater will be honored this week as outstanding alumni for Montana State University Billings.
The 30th annual Outstanding Alumni Awards event will be held Friday, March 30 at the MSU Billings Student Union Building Ballroom. The event begins with a social at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and awards at 6:30 p.m.
This year’s event recognizes the accomplishments of eight people selected by the MSU Billings Alumni Association. Outstanding alumni are recognized in three categories:
- Distinguished Alumnus: Honors an alumnus who has distinguished him or herself through personal, professional and civic contributions, while bringing a sense of honor, pride and recognition to the University community.
- Alumni Merit Medallion: Honors an alumnus who is dedicated to the advancement of education, exemplified by his or her commitment of professional expertise and/or volunteer service to Montana State University Billings.
- Recognition for Exceptional Achievement: Honors five alumni who have distinguished themselves in fields ranging from business, professional, education, volunteer service to a community, public or civil service, or arts and sciences having impacted those fields while bringing a sense of pride and recognition to the University community.
- Awarded periodically is the Ronald P. Sexton Award for Professional Commitment. This award honors an alumnus who has shown personal and professional devotion to MSU Billings through their work at the university.
Past recipients of these awards have included persons who have exhibited unusual courage, creativity, perseverance, originality of competency in their chosen field; raised the quality of life for others; contributed to and promoted the advancement of higher education; or distinguished themselves as leaders in their profession or area of interest.
This year’s recipients are:
Distinguished Alumnus: Andrew Small, ’74, College of Arts and Sciences. Small is a part owner and lawyer for BlueDog, Paulson and Small based in Minneapolis, Minn. He has been an advocate for the rights of American Indian through the court system and has been instrumental in enforcing the Indian Child Welfare Act. He has served as general counsel and special counsel for 13 tribes and has been admitted to practice in 14 tribal jurisdictions throughout Indian Country, as well as Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Alumni Merit Medallion: Dr. Wayne Hansen, College of Arts and Sciences. Hansen received his Associate Degree from MSU Billings on his way to receiving his DDS at the University of Nebraska. After serving in the Air Force, where he flew and served with the Strategic Air Command and served as the personal dentist to an Air Force general, he Hansen opened his own dentistry practice. He has continued his affiliation with MSU Billings as a generous donor of resources and time. He was instrumental in helping re-establish the men’s baseball program a few years ago.
Recognition for Exceptional Achievement: Dr. John Cech, ’85, College of Business. Cech currently serves as Deputy Commissioner for Two-Year and Community College Education for the Montana University System in Helena. Previously, he was the Dean of MSU Billings College of Technology.
Recognition for Exceptional Achievement: Tim Harris, ’73, College of Education. Harris received his Master’s Degree in Special Education from MSU Billings and served as the administrator for the Special Education Division for the Office of Public Instruction for Montana. He is also a member of the National Wheelchair Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Recognition for Exceptional Achievement: Darrell Kipp ’70, College of Education. Kipp is the co-founder and director of the Piegan Institute on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation, which provides a language immersion school for its students through the middle school. This school has been a model for language immersion programs around the globe. Besides a degree from MSU Billings, Kipp has a Master’s of Education from Harvard University and a Master’s of Fine Art in Writing from Vermont College.
Recognition for Exceptional Achievement: Lisa Lombardy ’83, College of Arts and Sciences. Lombardy is well known throughout the Billings community for her music and theatrical performances. During the day she works as a registered nurse at the Billings Clinic Outpatient Surgery Center, but she devotes just as much time and energy to the performing arts in the area. Lombardy received her music degree from MSU Billings while she was working the night shift at the hospital. She continued to pursue her music passion and received her Master of Music degree from the University of Arizona. She has received numerous awards for her music and is currently preparing the next generation of performers by providing private lessons to area youth.
Recognition for Exceptional Achievement: Dr. George McGrail ’63, College of Education. McGrail is an Emeritus Professor of the College of Business at the University of Wyoming. He has written more than 30 refereed publications, more than 30 research papers and was responsible for four major grants while with the University of Wyoming. He received the Recognition of Service Award from the University of Wyoming, which has only been awarded twice in 40 years.
Ronald P. Sexton Award for Professional Commitment: Dennis Schuld ’76, College of Arts and Sciences. Schuld not only attended and graduated from MSU Billings, but has spent his entire career serving MSU Billings through the Information Technology department. After graduating from the university, Schuld was hired full time and has spent the last 36 years adapting and implementing new technology for the university.
For more information on MSU Billings alumni events and activities, contact Julie Tschetter Seedhouse, Director of Alumni Relations, at 247-5780 or go to www.msubillings.edu/alumni.