UM commits to powering a societal sea change that promotes the safety, empowerment and acceleration of all women. 

The S.E.A. Change initiative is a University of Montana campaign leading up to the centennial of the full ratification of the 19th Amendment and an effort to plan for the challenges and and embrace the opportunities ahead as we seek equity for all women. The initiative will highlight and amplify UM’s efforts to continually provide a safe and empowering campus for all women and a community that accelerates their careers and lives of impact. The initiative renews UM’s commitment to the work ahead in removing systemic barriers that prevent women from leading empowered lives and that prevent society from benefiting from these talented and determined women.

Montana’s history is populated by courageous, resourceful and bold women who persisted in the face of societal, physical and psychological challenges: Blackfeet warrior Running Eagle; African-American Annie Morgan, who filed a homestead claim in the Rock Creek Valley and was the only black woman in Granite County in the 1880 U.S. Census; UM’s first graduates in 1898, Ella Robb Glenny and Eloise Knowles; Jeannette Rankin, who graduated from UM in 1902 and became the first woman elected to Congress; the bronc-riding Greenough sisters; and champion of Native American rights, Eloise Cobell. These Treasure State women were heroic, action-oriented and audacious enough to affect change. The S.E.A. Change initiative is an emphatic reminder of UM’s promise to graduate women who, in the tradition of the many Montana women who have come before, will change our state, our country and our world.

At the University of Montana, we recognize that driving a societal sea change toward equity for all means persistent, deliberate effort and concrete action. And we recognize that we are not there yet. As a campus community that nurtures students in a landscape that gives them room to breathe and collaborate across perceived boundaries, we are well positioned to do the work necessary in addressing societal barriers that disadvantage women. We commit to taking action, the ideas for which will emerge from our community.

University of Montana women develop resilience and perseverance because this place cultivates it and the future demands it. We are a community of people who will carry the sea change forward in an unpredictable world. UM women, alongside empowered men, are the changemakers who will advance equity for all gender identities and expressions.

The S.E.A. Change initiative is an expression of our belief that we are far from finished with the work that began over a century ago when courageous women fought for suffrage. While we are proud of the progress that has been made, our UM community will continue to affect needed societal change. This work starts at home with our own students and employees. We will build upon our existing programs that empower women, and we will seek to do more.