Oct 03 2016

$1.5 million gift launches new Davidson Honors College programs

For more than 25 years, Ian and Nancy Davidson have championed honors education at the University of Montana. On Sept. 30 at the Davidson Honors College homecoming celebration, the University announced the couple’s latest gift and invited others to join in supporting UM’s honors college.

With the Davidsons’ $1.5 million lead gift, DHC will launch two brand-new programs: the Teaching, Research and Mentoring Fellows Program and the Honors Career Development Program.

The TRM Fellows Program will enable the honors college to recruit world-class postdoctoral fellows who will serve DHC students as exceptional classroom instructors and as dedicated research mentors.

The ideal TRM Fellow will be the epitome of the “teacher-scholar,” using ongoing research to inform teaching and vice-versa. With research agendas that are both cross-disciplinary and relevant to society, they will teach courses that engage the full range of DHC students, from those studying the humanities to those majoring in the sciences and professional schools. Because fellowship terms are limited to two years, the TRM Fellows Program will regularly bring innovative ideas and fresh energy to the UM campus.

Ribbon cutting ceremony.Housed in the newly renovated garden level of the DHC building, the Honors Career Development Program will prepare students for postcollegiate success. Throughout their four years at UM, program participants will have access to tailored career counseling sessions, career coaching workshops, graduate school selection and application support, exclusive networking events, internship placements, resume clinics and other programming to help them succeed at the highest level.

“Ian and Nancy’s continued vision has enabled UM to develop one of the strongest honors colleges in the nation,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “With these distinctive new programs, we will engage students at the intellectual, professional and personal level. Their experience in DHC will be nothing short of transformative.”

The Davidsons’ gift will fund two postdoctoral fellowship positions over the course of six years, as well as a coordinator position for the Honors Career Development Program for a five-year period. The Davidsons have further committed to match, dollar for dollar, contributions to support an additional two postdoctoral TRM Fellow positions for six years.

“The Davidsons have once again shown their dedication to honors education at the University of Montana,” said Mickey Sogard, former chair of the UM Foundation board of trustees. “We thank them for their generosity and foresight, which has provided a wonderful opportunity for interested donors to double the size of their gifts and bring a new, innovative program to UM.”

With their support of the new programs, the Davidsons hope to inspire and activate others to invest in the continued growth of the honors college.

“The Davidson Honors College has grown to the point where it’s really on the cusp of becoming one of the leading programs in the country,” said Nancy Davidson. “We’re encouraging people who want to support an area of UM that is directly focused on the very best and brightest students to consider these DHC programs.”

Ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Davidson family’s support over the past two decades has provided a building for the honors college, scholarships for honors students and, most recently, renovations to DHC’s garden level and a gift to complete a beautiful patio area that was initiated through the generous support of Richard Krumm and family. While they are once again leading the way, it is up to UM’s dedicated alumni and friends to expand the resources that will provide an unmatched experience for DHC students.

“The honors college is a very important element in higher education,” said Ian Davidson. “It’s a logical way to contribute to academic excellence at the University of Montana.”

Fundraising for the Postdoctoral Teaching, Research and Mentoring Fellows Program and Honors Career Development Program is ongoing, and support is needed to fully launch these two programs. For more information on how to make a gift to the Davidson Honors College, contact Cindy Williams at 406-243-6686.

Pictured above (top to bottom): (1) Don Krumm cuts the ribbon to the Davidson Honors College International Patio. A $500,000 gift from Don’s late brother, Richard, helped make the patio project a reality. (2) Ian and Nancy Davidson, along with Dean Brock Tessman (left) and President Royce Engstrom (right), celebrate the grand opening of the Davidson Honors College International Patio during the college’s homecoming celebration.