DHC and UM Alumni
Donors Make a Difference
With your support, we will attract high-achieving students from across Montana and the country, develop them into engaged citizens and professionals, and serve as a hub of intellectual, service and social activity for the UM community.
Contact Alex Rich Director of Development
Phone: (406) 243-2567
Join our Alumni Mentor Network!
Through the Alumni Mentor Network, alumni and DHC students will have the opportunity to engage with each other through our speaker series, one-on-one mentoring, as well as other DHC-sponsored events. We hope to grow this network and show our students the amazing things that DHC and UM alumni are doing across the world.
If you are interested in joining our Alumni Mentor Network, please email the Assistant Dean and Director of Career Development, Community Partnerships, and Scholarships email@example.com
Dean Nichols' Bear Necessities
Sign up today to receive Dean Nichols' Spring and Fall Semester weekly newsletter that highlights student, faculty, staff, and alumni updates, upcoming events, and more!
Located at the heart of campus in a warm and welcoming facility, the DHC is a vibrant hub and home for classes, events, and activities. Please see our calendar for a full lineup of upcoming events.
Chris Cordingley is a Senior Associate at Civitas Public Affairs Group and Co-founder of Inseparable. In his role, Chris advises individual donors and institutional funders to strategically amplify philanthropic giving across a wide range of policy issues. His client portfolio is focused on building the movement for mental health, advancing clean energy solutions, and increasing support for LGBTQ activists internationally and testing new strategies to promote LGBTQ equality in the U.S. In his time with Civitas, Chris has managed million-dollar grant portfolios, run award winning public affairs campaigns, and helped build multiple donor networks to advance specific policy solutions. He has also advised on the development of numerous new organizations, campaigns, conferences, and research programs. Chris’ interest in creating change brought him to Civitas after working on the successful 2012 reelection campaign of U.S. Senator Jon Tester. Chris is a cyclist, ceramicist, and alumnus of the University of Montana Davidson Honors College. Chris serves on the board of the UM Alumni Association and Helena Food Share.
Stefani Hicswa is the current chancellor of Montana State University-Billings and will be the next. She has engaged with our students as a guest speaker and is very responsive to student questions. She is a wonderful advocate for women in leadership and is loyal to the DHC as a place that launched her into success in higher education leadership. Dr. Hicswa has held national roles, including membership on the Higher Education Research and Development Institute nationwide advisory board. In addition, she authored a chapter in a new book titled Generation X Presidents Leading Community Colleges: New Challenges, New Leaders.
Chancellor Hicswa holds a PhD in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. A first-generation college student from Dillon, MT, she earned her master’s in adult, community and higher education and a bachelor’s in organizational communication from the University of Montana.
Dr. Jennifer Isern has 30+ years of experience in 65+ countries on financial sector development and investing. Her passion is combining financing, technical assistance, and innovation in high impact projects to improve the quality of life for people around the world. She is the founder and CEO of Catalyze Global Impact LLC working with strategic organizations in targeted development sectors including new technologies, financial sector, and private sector globally, with a focus on Africa and Asia. She serves on several boards and as advisor to investment funds, foundations, and associations in Europe, the USA, and globally. Prior to launching her own firm, she held positions with increasing levels of responsibility across the World Bank and International Finance Corporation for over 23 years, helping teams deliver high impact results.
Jennifer received her doctorate in both finance and international business from Nova Southeastern University and a master’s degree in development economics from the Wilson School at Princeton University. She is a CFA charter holder and is fluent in French and proficient in Spanish. She has authored 50+ technical and academic publications on financial sector competition, payment services, bank entry in microfinance, appraisal methods for networks and banks, anti-money laundering, and capacity building programs for financial institutions. From 2008 to 2010, she enjoyed teaching a graduate course on financial sector development at Princeton University. Jennifer graduated from UM's honors program during its earliest years on campus. Despite her extraordinary international career of global impact, Jennifer's commitment to UM and the DHC remains strong and steadfast. University of Montana runs deep. She has served as Commencement Speaker, as a visiting scholar with the College of Humanities and Sciences, as a Trustee for the University of Montana Foundation, and as a member of the DHC's External Advisory Board. A former UM Student Body President, Jennifer was named UM's Distinguished Alumni in 2015.
Dan Lauren was a first-generation college student who grew up in northern Montana. Dan has said that attending UM and enrolling in the Honor's program changed his life. He has had a very successful career and is happy that he can give back to UM and the DHC. Dan is currently the Operations Business Analyst at Weyerhaeuser in Washington state.
William Mercer served as a senior Justice Department official in the Bush Administration. As the Associate Attorney General he served as the third ranking official in the DOJ. Bill served as US Attorney in Montana from 2001-2009. He currently serves as a Montana legislator representing House District 46 and serves as a member of the appropriations committee. Mr. Mercer received an MPA from Harvard University and his JD at George Mason University School of Law. While at UM he was a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 1984. He has also served as a member of the UM Alumni Association Board.
Sara Smith, CPA, CGMA earned both her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana and her MBA from the University of Colorado. She has worked for the Target Corporation, Montana Rail Link, and spent the last 19 years at ALPS, a professional liability insurance carrier.
Sara has been active in MT Society of CPAs serving as a Director. She also serves as the Treasurer for MoFi and on the Finance Committees of Garden City Harvest. She also is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America.
Besides geeking out on data, Sara is an avid skier and mountain biker. She lives in Missoula with her husband Steve and her dog Blaze.
Hayley Blackburn completed her Doctor of Pharmacy and undergraduate degree in Cellular & Molecular Biology at the University of Montana. Upon completion of her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2013, she continued her training with a postgraduate residency program at Community Medical Center in Missoula, MT. She has since worked as a clinical pharmacist in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, and served as Residency Director at the Roseburg VA Medical Center.
Hayley joined the Pharmacy Practice faculty as an Assistant Professor in fall 2017. She teaches throughout the professional curriculum and works as a clinical pharmacist at Curry Health Center, serves as a faculty mentor for an interprofessional global health experience, and directs a fellowship program to train pharmacy graduates in providing pharmacy care in rural Montana.
Off campus, Hayley is involved in the community as a member of the Board of Directors for Open Aid Alliance, a local nonprofit focused on harm reduction and support for those living with HIV/AIDS. Originally from Seeley Lake, MT, she has a longstanding love of the outdoors. When not at work, she can be found skiing, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, or otherwise enjoying the Missoula area.
Hilary Martens is an Assistant Professor in Geophysics at the University of Montana in Missoula. She is a UM and Davidson Honors College alumna and Missoula native, and has also studied in England and California. Her research interests include the interactions between the solid Earth and its fluid envelopes, Montana earthquakes, and the geophysical environments of other planets in our Solar System. Some of her favorite memories include camping in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, canoeing on the Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers, and nordic skiing in Pattee Canyon. Her early connection to the outdoors inspired an enduring fascination with the natural world and motivated me to pursue a career in the geosciences.
Sean Morrison is a tax attorney practicing for Morrison Law Firm PLLC in Helena, Montana. After graduating from the University of Montana Davidson Honors College in 2009, Mr. Morrison worked as a research assistant on tax policy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. In that role, he advised Chairman Max Baucus and other members of the committee on federal tax policy, including issues related to tax reform, the federal debt ceiling and the re-authorization of federal highway funding in 2012.
He then attended Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude in 2015, before spending three years at a prestigious law firm in Washington, D.C. While there, Mr. Morrison was an attorney of record in one of the largest tax court cases in U.S. history. He has been published on tax procedure and policy in the Federal Bar Association’s The Federal Lawyer, Financial Executive International Daily, and Tax Notes. Mr. Morrison has also given presentations on tax policy to industry groups across the country and has been quoted in various news outlets, including Bloomberg BNA.
Mr. Morrison is an advocate of pro bono representation and has defended low-income clients in eviction proceedings before the Suffolk County Superior Court and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He has also successfully pushed for the enactment of two laws—one providing tax relief to occupants of older mobile-homes in Montana, and the other providing targeted tax relief to a homeless shelter for women with a mental health diagnoses in Washington, D.C. This latter work was highlighted in the D.C. Bar Association’s 2016-2017 Annual Report and in its 40 Year Celebration in 2018. Mr. Morrison currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the University of Montana Alumni Association and as a member of the board for Downtown Helena, Inc.
Mr. Morrison graduated from the Davidson Honors College in 2009 with high honors and with degrees in Economics and English. His senior thesis, which studied the efficacy and cost of state film tax incentives, was awarded “Best Senior Thesis” by the economics department. He attributes this thesis—a requirement of the Davidson Honors College—for helping start his career.
Check out our interactive Google map to find out where in the world our alumni are now! Open the map's menu to select graduate cohorts by school or college.