And the Bucklew Award Goes To…

Mickey Sogard meets with Sogard Honors Scholarship recipient, Bethany Down
It was our great honor to present Mickey Sogard with the Neil S. Bucklew Presidential Service Award at UM’s Charter Day celebration on February 15.

The Neil S. Bucklew Award recognizes the work of those who have fostered a deeper understanding of UM’s needs and strengths throughout the community and state.

Mickey’s belief in the education system and UM extends beyond any one area – she is committed to success across the board and serving the students of Montana.

She has been deeply invested in her alma mater, serving as chair of the UM Foundation's Board of Trustees and a member of the President’s Advisory Council, the Davidson Honors College Advisory Board and the Flathead Lake Biological Station Advisory Board. For many years, she and her husband, Jeff, have funded a scholarship for honors students with financial need.

We caught up with Mickey to learn more about her connection to UM and why supporting UM is important to her and Jeff.

Tell me about your connection to UM.
For many years after I graduated, I did not have a connection to UM. My husband, Jeff, and I were reconnected during the first UM capital campaign by longtime friends Ian and Nancy Davidson, who were making the lead gift for the Davidson Honors College Building. It seemed only natural to make a gift to help their efforts. Shortly thereafter, I became a reader for Presidential Leadership Scholarship applicants and later joined the DHC Advisory Board.

Jeff decided to return to UM to do an MA in anthropology. He was very impressed by his instructors and wanted to do something to help the department after he graduated, which resulted in another gift. Shortly thereafter, I joined the UM Foundation Board, and we have been involved ever since.

What makes you so passionate about this place?
Education has always been important to me as a pathway to a more fulfilling life. I also firmly believe that the future of this state is dependent on an educated populace. As I have become more acquainted with UM and its many faculty, staff and volunteers, I have developed a deep respect, not only for the work they do, but for their dedication and integrity.

Why is it important for you to give back to UM?
I had a scholarship for all four years at UM. As a result, I did have to work during the school year and could participate in other university activities. Like my family, many Montana families find it financially difficult to send their kids to college. Even many students with scholarships must work and take out loans to get through school. Why wouldn’t we want to help?

Why do you support honors education in particular?
There was no honors college when I attended UM. I would like to have had the opportunity. My current involvement with the honors college comes down to people. It’s fun to be able to see students grow and develop over the course of their college life, and I can’t say enough nice things about Dean Tessman and the faculty and staff of the honors college. They are taking honors education at UM to a new level, while creating a “center of excellence” for the University. It’s fun to be a part of that.

And what about the Flathead Lake Bio Station?
I first became aware of the biological station while living full time on Flathead Lake and working with the Flathead Lakers and the Flathead Basin Commission, organizations dedicated to protecting the clean waters of the Flathead Basin. Most of the science they relied on to support their missions came from the research at the station. Currently, the station has new leadership, renewed energy with a new emphasis on undergraduate education, and very high goals. For me, being associated with the station means I’m always learning something new.