Jun 25 2012


Missoula businessman Jim Auger says his father instilled in him the significance of contributing on a local and personal level. Auger committed $2 million of his estate to The University of Montana School of Business Administration with his father in mind.

“I have come to realize how right he was,” Auger said of his gift, which will provide for undergraduate, renewable scholarships. These will be awarded to business majors and will cover tuition, fees and books for several students each year. Scholarship recipients will be required to volunteer a minimum of 120 hours each academic year with a charitable organization that provides services to underprivileged members of society.

“Through establishment of this endowment, it is my intention to inspire young people to engage in service to their communities,” Auger said. “In addition, I hope that the required volunteer service will help recipients develop a deeper compassion for those less fortunate and a lifelong commitment to elevate those in our society who are often marginalized.”

Auger, a 1982 graduate of the business school, says his UM education led him to a successful career as a corporate executive and eventually back to Missoula, where he co-owns the Dairy Queen on South Higgins Avenue, one of the community’s iconic restaurants. Auger has employed many high school and college students over the years at the Dairy Queen.

Through his endowment, he wants to give students more than financial support. He wants to give them the feeling that comes from helping someone else.

“What I would like to accomplish with this scholarship is to help open students’ eyes to that part of our society which is so much less fortunate than they are,” he said. “It is also my hope that these business students might come to understand that true success in the business world is measured by whether or not they made a difference.”

Business school Dean Larry Gianchetta says Auger’s gift is particularly meaningful because it comes from such a passionate donor who has wanted for many years to contribute significantly to the University.

“This gift is truly special, and it is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Gianchetta said. “The whole notion of being good citizens through civic engagement is a huge part of educational growth.”

Auger hopes his gift will leave a legacy of well-educated business students and a community uplifted by the volunteer efforts of these students.

“Since becoming involved with the Higgins Avenue Dairy Queen, I have had the privilege to work with some of the brightest and hardest-working young people in Missoula,” he said. “Having no children of my own, this scholarship gives me a chance to say thanks.”

The UM Foundation works with alumni and friends to plan their legacy gifts. To find out how to make a meaningful contribution, call 406-243-2593 or visit