UM Names 2022 Distinguished Alumni

MISSOULA – The University of Montana Alumni Association is proud to announce the four recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Recipients of the award are individuals who have distinguished themselves in a particular field, bringing honor to the University, the state or the nation. The recipients are respected in their careers and communities. They were nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of UMAA members.

A picture of Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson, BA ’76, JD ’79, of Butte, has achieved some of the highest honors in the legal profession. He has been active in the Montana State Bar Association for decades, as well as the American Bar Association, of which he was president from 2018 to 2019. Carlson has received the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which recognizes attorneys who have proved themselves to be outstanding in their field. He gives back to his alma mater by serving on the law school’s Clinical Board of Visitors.

A picture of Mary Granger

Mary Granger, BA ’71, of Lakeside, spent more than 30 years as an elementary school teacher in Kalispell. While working as a teacher, Granger also built her passion for emergency response medicine into a life-saving network of volunteers and equipment serving communities around Flathead Lake. She earned her EMT certification in 1984 and trained more than 400 EMTs over 30 years. She later received her paramedic certification, and in 2010 was asked to manage Flathead County’s Emergency Medical Service Office. She traveled across Montana to help train 911 call center staff.

An image of Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston, BA ’79, MPA ‘91, of Missoula, served as UM’s director of Alumni Relations for decades. In that role, he built connections between UM and its alumni and represented the University at events across the country. He also spent many years as a lobbyist for UM’s priorities in the state Legislature. His passion and dedication helped improve access to UM and higher education for students across Montana. Johnston also is active in several community organizations and nonprofits. He serves as the Community Relations Officer for First Security Bank.

A picture of Pat Sweeney

Pat Sweeney, BA ’72, of Billings, is one of the most influential figures in creating environmental policy in the western United States. Sweeney dedicated his career to helping Montanans and their neighbors protect vital resources, like land, water and clean air. He was a founding staff member of Northern Plains Resource Council now one of Montana’s biggest conservation organizations. Sweeney was vital in passing historic environmental legislation, including the Montana Major Facility Siting Act. He is also a strong voice for voter engagement in the state.

UMAA and UM are excited to welcome these incredible alumni to campus during Homecoming week. To learn more about the award or this year’s recipients, please visit UMAA’s website.

For questions or additional information, email or call Jodi Moreau at 406-243-6124 or email


Contact: Jodi Moreau, associate director UM Alumni Relations, 406-243-6124,