’Tis the season for giving and Montana State University-Northern is the happy recipient of a new $200,000 gift, representatives of the university said in a press release.
This week, Northern is celebrating the donation, which will be used to create a new endowment for the university. The people who made the contribution to the university have asked that the endowment fund student scholarships, specifically for students enrolled in programs that are part of the College of Technical Science.
The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, feel strongly that trades, such as plumbing, welding, automotive, diesel tech, and electrical are very important as so many trades people are retiring and new workers are needed.
Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel said that every opportunity people give students to get started in their careers with less financial burden is a win. He also emphasized that trades have been, and will continue to be, vital no matter what size the town or city Northern graduates choose to live.
“Northern prides itself in fostering graduates that have a high work ethic as well as putting into the workforce employees who can hit the ground running,” he said. “Scholarships, and especially endowed scholarships, provide endless support for our students and we are so appreciative of this gift.”
With more than 85 percent of Northern students originally from Montana, many return to their hometowns after graduation to replace retirees or become the next generation to inherit key jobs needed for those communities. That is the motivation for these Northern supporters who made the donation because they see first-hand the increased need for skilled trade workers as so many people in those trades hit retirement age or move away.
Dave Krueger, dean of the College of Technical Science at Northern, said that trade programs offer degrees with a guaranteed job placement rate.
“MSU-Northern graduates are offered exciting high-paid, high-skilled, high-tech opportunities,” Krueger said. “Most graduates will have multiple offers to choose from. There has never been a better time to be a Northern graduate.”
Without giving away their identity, Montana State University-Northern Foundation Executive Director Shantel Cronk said the donation is very meaningful.
“These thoughtful donors are examples of the generous people we have in Montana,” she said. “This gift will touch many lives for generations to come. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.”