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Alum donates $20,000 to Northern in memory of Galbreath

Representatives of Montana State University-Northern said they are pleased to share news of a recent gift from a Northern alum. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has contributed $20,000 to Northern with the intent that $2,000 per year will go toward scholarships for students who are part of the university rodeo team.

The scholarship will be named the Jess Galbreath Memorial Scholarship. Jess Galbreath from Browning was killed in a car accident in 1979 at the age of 27 when a logging truck’s logs came untied. Despite four decades, the donor remembers Jess and the tragic accident that also took the lives of three others.

The family of Galbreath, including his cousin Dexter “Blue” Galbreath, shared memories of him.

“We somewhat raised Jess. He was a great roper and bareback rider. We traveled around when he was in high school and competed in various rodeos,” Blue Galbreath said “He was even better on bareback than saddle.”

Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel and Northern rodeo coach Doug Kallenberger said they are extremely thankful for the contribution.

“Our team works hard both in the classroom and in the arena. I was excited to learn about this gift which will help them immensely and help alleviate some financial burdens our students face. I look forward to meeting this donor to thank them in person someday,” Kallenberger said.

The donor, who is also a lifelong Montanan, said, “I feel an education is only what you make of it.  I’m giving students a little push to help those that maybe wouldn’t have a chance to attend MSU-N and that this money may make the difference of a yes or no in their life.”

Montana State University-Northern Foundation Executive Director Shantel Cronk said the gift was very sincere and took careful consideration from the donor. Cronk said she felt compelled to learn more about whom the scholarship was named.

“I had to do some digging and was finally able to come across some family names I could reach out to on social media,” she said. “That led to phone calls and receiving some fantastic photos of Jess.

“Every call that comes into the Foundation from alumni or supporters has a unique story. This gift comes from an individual that has fond memories of their experience at Northern, their time in rodeo, and their friendships made along the way. This alum is paying it forward by honoring the memory of Jess and helping others.” Cronk continued. “I’m sure it was a wonderful surprise to the family to hear that someone has the kindness to memorialize Jess.”

While Northern, Kegel, the foundation, and Kallenbergers are thankful for this contribution, it’s the donor who told Cronk “Thank you for allowing me to give back.”