Gift Promotes Inclusive Prosperity

UM Announces New Scholarship for Montana Students

When it comes to paying for college, too many families find themselves caught in a financial gap where the cost of higher education is out of reach but they do not qualify for critical federal aid programs, such as Pell Grants, or scholarships designated for lower-income families. The University of Montana has launched a major new scholarship to help change that reality for many Montana students looking to attend UM.

The Payne Family Impact Scholarship, established with a significant $7.5 million gift from longtime UM supporters Terry and Patt Payne, will be awarded to hundreds of Montana high school students who choose to attend UM beginning in fall 2022.

Terry Payne, left, and Patt Payne

Students who earn the four-year renewable scholarship can receive this award along with other scholarships and financial aid, ensuring they have access to resources to pay for tuition, books, room and board and other college costs.

Once selected for the scholarship, students will be assigned an academic adviser who will work directly with them as they pursue successful academic and professional careers.

“Our family is blessed to be able to contribute to the education and future success of Montana students,” Terry Payne said. “We wish our gift to bring hope to students who otherwise may be unable to attend the University of Montana or continue their education once enrolled.”

A 1963 UM alumnus, Terry Payne began his career in insurance while still in college and built the successful PayneWest Insurance Inc. on principles centered around what is best for the “three Cs” of Clients, Colleagues and Communities.

That commitment to serving communities is apparent in all that Terry and Patt support philanthropically, especially at UM.

The Paynes’ contributions have included investments in the Payne Family Native American Center, that center’s Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, and several student scholarships. Additional contributions support the construction of a new Montana Museum of Art and Culture building. The Paynes also give generously to other institutions including Gonzaga University and Carroll College.

The impact of their giving spans generations and communities across the region.

“Terry and Patt embody the spirit of philanthropy and giving back,” UM President Seth Bodnar said. “We are deeply grateful for their generosity and their commitment to making a UM degree accessible for all students so that those students may pursue lives and careers of impact.”