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Sleeter returns to birthplace; gifts $10,000 to Northern for new scholarship

Montana State University Northern is the recipient of a $10,000 gift for a new scholarship.

The Sleeter Family Scholarship was created and is supported by Tom H. Sleeter, who resides in Downers Grove, Illinois. Sleeter’s father, Howard Sleeter, had been a professor of economics at what was then Northern Montana College from 1946-1950. With that connection, the new scholarship will support Northern students in the ecommerce, business, or the diesel technology programs.

One year ago, Sleeter, who is the chief investment officer and wealth advisor at Total Clarity in Illinois, sent a letter to Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel expressing interest in visiting the university. That letter was shared with Shantel Cronk, executive director of the MSU-Northern Foundation, who coordinated details for the timing of Sleeter’s visit, which took place during the week of Havre’s Festival Days last September.

Sleeter’s visit to campus included a tour plus meetings with Kegel, Cronk, College of Technical Sciences Dean Dave Krueger and business professor Byron Ophus.

The visit was Sleeter’s first time back to the Hi-Line in 71 years.

“I was born in Havre, but had no memories of the town since we left when I was 2 years old,” Sleeter said. “I’ve been in the state of Montana virtually every year for the past few decades to hunt. It finally got to me that I should see Havre. I was curious about the town where I was born.”

“My impression of MSU-Northern was very positive,” Sleeter added. “I am particularly impressed that a small school in a small town has such a well-regarded diesel technology program. In particular, it’s been a great avenue for upward mobility for some of the less affluent young residents of the region. It’s good to see student that come from modest backgrounds are able to graduate and have an impressive income not long after graduating.”

Kegel said he was glad to meet Sleeter and is very thankful for his generosity.

“Receiving a legacy gift like this is really special to Northern,” he said. “Professor Sleeter committed his professional life to helping students be better and now, through this gift, his son will be able to continue helping students in his father’s memory.”

After departing, Sleeter told Cronk of his intent to give financial support and also offered to share his experience in finance by speaking to a class at Northern, something Krueger is working to schedule.

“A partnership with education like that forged by Tom Sleeter is critical to the future of young people entering the high tech, high skilled, and high paid careers within the technical sciences,” Krueger said. ‘Both scholarships and experience shared with students is essential and appreciated.”

Gifts to support the Sleeter Family Scholarship can be made by contacting the MSU-Northern Foundation at 406-265-3711.