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The Founders' Excellence Award

Founders’ Excellence is an award to deserving individuals in honor of their
professional accomplishments, loyalty and service that have enhanced the
development of Montana State University-Northern.

In 1976, Founders’ Day was added as an NMC tradition. At the first Founders’ Day event, a letter was read from Mrs. G.H. Vande Bogart reviewing
experiences from the beginning of the college. Succeeding Presidents Dr.
L.O. Brockmann, Dr. J.R. Crowley, and Dr. Duane Leech were present and
spoke on the development of the college. A picture of the recently retired
Dr. Crowley was placed in the main hallway of Cowan Hall joining those of
his predecessors. The Founders’ Excellence Award presentation banquet
has continued on a nearly annual basis for the past 46 years, and has been
traditionally included as a part of the Spring Commencement activities.

Excerpted from A Northern Reflection (2001), by Louis W. and Antionette R. Hagener.

2023 Winners 

We are happy to share that the 2023 award recipients are 
Kurt Johnson & Pam Veis
Scroll down to see all past award winners and how to nominate. We are taking nominations for 2024!

Award Winners by Year

2023 – Kurt Johnson, Pam Veis

2022 – Dr. Joseph Callahan, Clyde R. Thomas, Jr.

2021 – Patsy Divish, Paulette Cronk

2019 – Janice Brady, Dr. Leslie Ruyle

2018 – Patricia Holman, William Crandal

2017 – Dr. Margarette Campbell, Gail Rader

2016 – Tom Baker, Dr. George Bandy

2015 – Mike Tilleman, Gerry Veis

2014 – Tom Patrick

2013 – Dave Clausen, David Leeds

2012 – Larry Romo, Gail Reynolds

2011 – Dr. Alex Capdeville, Linda Vaughey

2010 – Richard “Dick” Clark, Dr. David Abbott, Lyndon Pomeroy

            Special Award “Chancellor’s Distinguised Service” – Dr. Joseph Callahan

2009 – Charles Nelson, Gary Funk, Mary Franklin

2008 – Greg Jergeson, Tony Preite

2007 – Larry Brubaker, Kristine Kline, Ross Seger

2006 – Bob Bachini, Jim Hall, Dr. Kirk J. Miller

2005 – Dr. Roger Barber, Wilbur Hensler, Lou Lucke

2004 – Judy Greenwood, Gordon Obie, Raymond Watson

             Special Award “Chancellor’s Excellence” – Emmett Willson

2003 – Norm Gorder, John Kuhr, Karen Myers, Ken Myers

2002 – Gerald Bekker, John Facey, Robert Kiesling, Joseph Mcdonald

2001 – Dr. Harold E. Kleinert, Dr. August “Gus” Korb, Dr. Donald L. Stainsby

             Special Award “Chancellor’s Excellence” – Turk Lords 

2000 – Robert T. Bricker, Edith Scheid, George Staudacher

1998 – Martha Anne Dow, Donald E. Rathbone, President Bill Daehling

1997 – Cynthia Bryson, Don Vaupel

1996 – Mary A. Blew, Wells Lamey, Carol Linebarger Robertson

1995 – Florence A. VandeBogart, Dr. Gar F. Wynne

1994 – Irene Ruyle Baker, Edith P. Gronhovd, Tom Reynolds

1993 – Tillie Patterson, Robert Hockett, Murton McCluskey

1992 – John Lloyd, James Athearn, Joseph Lutz

1991 – Robert Morrison, Louis Goller

1990 – Dave Greenwood, Bill Fuglevand, Kirk Miller, Bill Lisenby

1989 – Dr. Clark Grimm, Carl Vender, Toni Hagener, Mike Allen

1988 – Lyle Leeds, Ruth Gagel, Dr. Jim Elliot

1987 – President L.O. Brockmann, Helen Kiesling, Vicke A. Schend

1986 – Senator Stan Stephens, Professor Louis Hagener

1985 – President James Erickson, Francis Yeager, Lorraine Hockett, Roger Pugh

1984 – Vern Sedlacek, Anton Bryant, Irene Damschen, President G.H. VandeBogart

1983 – Keith Clawson, Margaret Heberly, Jim Magera

1982 – Wilbur Swenson, Rolland Sullivan, Carl Gunderson

1981 – Dr. Harrison Lane

1978 – Joseph S. Wright  

How to Nominate

Nominations for the Founders’ Excellence Award 2024 are open! Please send your nomination letter to [email protected]. Candidates must be associated with MSU-Northern and meet one or more of the criteria below. Your nomination letter must speak to how the nominee fits the criteria and must list the individual’s achievements. Nominations are accepted at any time throughout the year but to be considered for the 2024 Founders’ Excellence Award, letters must be submitted by December 31st, 2023. 

Once made, nominations are kept and carried forward to subsequent years at the discretion of the committee. If you have any questions about how to nominate someone, contact the Foundation.

Criteria for Nominees


Candidates for Founders’ Excellence must be an alum, administrator, former faculty or staff, or friend of MSU-Northern who have made a significant contribution to the development of Northern or to their chosen profession.

Local leadership

Nominees may be someone who has…

  • Offered significant ideas and actions to make change in the local community
  • Been a benefactor of Northern by giving moral support and service
  • A person who has enabled the growth of the college through legislation

State or national impact

Nominees may be someone who…

  • Gave original ideas, creations, or contributions to an academic field, particularly in a degree area offered by MSU-Northern
  • Gave dedicated and long-lasting contributions to a particular field or activity
  • Is a person of notoriety by virtue of office Service
  • Is a person who has held an important position, published material, made an important discovery or invention, made a contribution to an academic field, or has given significant direction or service to MSU-Northern for a minimum of 25 years, particularly if he/she is or was an alumnus, faculty, staff, or administrator of Northern
  • Gave direct financial contributions to the MSUN Foundation for buildings, scholarships, research, faculty development, program development, etc.