George F. Simmons - 1936-1941

George F. Simmons

January 1936 - April 1941

"It is with men...that a University's source is built."


  • B.A., University of Texas, 1921
  • M.A., University of Texas, 1922
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1934

Accomplishments as President

Simmons was appointed President with the support of the Missoula community, and it was during his administration that several buildings on campus were either erected or renovated. A number of talented faculty members were added, including G. P. Dahlberg, for whom Dahlberg Arena was later named, and Jeannette Rankin, who as a UM alumna served as the first U.S. congresswoman.  Simmons also restructured the academic curricula to improve the quality of education and reduce expenses.  Both the School of Music and the School of Business Administration were restructured and able to apply for accreditation during his administration.  The number of students grew to 2,851 during this time.

Background History

After receiving his doctorate, Simmons became a professor of zoology at the University of Chicago. In 1924 he published Birds of the Austin Region.  He led the Blossom South Atlantic Expedition in association with the Cleveland Museum in 1925 and was a lecturer in the field of biological sciences at Western Reserve University.  In 1934, Sisson moved to The University of Montana as the Assistant Professor of zoology.  The Board of Education appointed him to the presidency in 1936.

Following the Presidency

Simmons retired from the presidency and returned to his passionate studies in zoology.  He died in 1955 after publishing several more books and articles regarding his biological discoveries.

George F. Simmons

Landmarks Erected

  • Journalism Building, 1936
  • Chemistry/Pharmacy Building, 1938
  • Addition to the Natural Sciences Building, 1938
  • New Hall (Turner Hall), 1939

Programs Established

  • Departments of Bacteriology and Hygiene and Philosophy
  • Programs in Social Welfare Studies, Pre-Nursing, Medical Technology, Wildlife Technology, and Wildlife Management