Message from the Vice President

UM Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship Scott Whittenburg

Thank you for reading this latest issue of Vision magazine from the University of Montana. Once again we showcase the vast range of research and creative scholarship being conducted by our faculty and students. Topics range from two of our most precious national parks — Glacier and Yellowstone — to an archeological field school in Belize. We also cover an intern success story in downtown Missoula and the search for new planets. Other highlights include a plays based on “The Gathering: Collected Oral Histories of the Irish in Montana” and an in-depth look at our new human biomechanics laboratory. I am sure these stories will ignite your imagination as much as they do mine.

Over the past several years, we have worked to grow the research and creative scholarship enterprise at UM and to demonstrate the value of those activities to the residents of the state of Montana and beyond. We continue on our path to become one of the nation’s top-tier research universities — a Carnegie Foundation Research Very High Activity institution.

You probably noticed the Blackstone LaunchPad Montana announcement on July 19 in Helena. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, $2 million grant will establish a partnership between UM, Montana State University and Headwaters RC&D to encourage students and alumni to nurture entrepreneurship with the goal of producing sustainable companies. Blackstone LaunchPad has the potential to generate some 150 new ventures in Montana during the next five years and is part of our increased efforts at entrepreneurship and economic development.

UM also is working much more closely with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, the state Board of Regents and the Governor’s Office to use the connection between graduate education, research and economic development to enhance business opportunities in our region.

Finally, we are striving to increase public awareness of the great scholarship and creativity demonstrated by our students and faculty. In addition to Vision magazine and our Research View newsletter, we now distribute “Glimpse” emails on campus to highlight research accomplishments of our students and faculty members. Working with University Relations, we also now subscribe to EurekaAlert!, an online science news service used by writers worldwide to discover the great work being done by research institutions. The system is for science news and also alerts campus science writers when their university scientists are featured in major journals such as Science or Nature. The service started in June and already has resulted in numerous national stories about UM research. In addition, you can learn about UM research efforts on Facebook ( and Twitter (

We have many exciting research and creative scholarship stories to share here at UM, so read on!

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