Scholarship Donor Tom Cotter Honored with Order of the Grizzly

On September 25 the UM Foundation awarded Tom Cotter the Order of the Grizzly, its highest honor. Cotter, who died in July, gave millions to support student scholarships at the University of Montana. His daughter Mary Ann Cotter accepted the award on his behalf.
The Order of the Grizzly was established in 1965 to honor individuals who sustained an active interest in Montana and whose accomplishments contributed to the welfare of the state, nation and world. The award is now conferred on those who have made a significant impact on the University through their leadership and philanthropy. It was last awarded in 2002.
“It is a great privilege to bestow this award on so deserving an individual,” said Shane Giese, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “Tom showed a keen understanding of the ways in which education can change a life.”
Mary Ann Cotter accepts the Order of the Grizzly award.Cotter was a longtime and very generous supporter of UM students, especially those from Montana.
“One of the things that’s so special about the Tom Cotter scholarship is that it helps take off that extra pressure,” said Talia Zook, a Missoula resident who was one of 15 students to receive a Tom Cotter scholarship this year. Thanks to Cotter’s generosity, some 80 students can expect scholarships starting in the 2015-16 academic year.
In the Spring 2014 issue of Raising Montana, Cotter explained why philanthropy was so important to him.

“I never could have made it without my education, and I want to see if I can help upgrade the situations of students who want the chance to learn,” he said. “I have such a love for Montana and the University and have always felt that students could be very good recipients of my money.”

Pictured above: Tom Cotter’s daughter, Mary Ann Cotter, accepted the award on his behalf.

To hear more from Tom Cotter Scholarship recipients, watch our video.