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Montana State University Communications Services

Gamble named MSU president

10/6/00 Contact: Joyce Scott, Dept. Commissioner of Higher Education (406) 444-6750

Helena --- Geoffrey Gamble, the provost at the University of Vermont who has roots in California agriculture and educational experience with sister land-grant institutions, has been appointed the 11th president of Montana State University.

Gamble's appointment was announced today by Dr. Richard Crofts, Montana's Commissioner of Higher Education, following Gamble's selection by the Montana Board of Regents.

Gamble was chosen from a field of three finalists culled from dozens of applicants to fill MSU's top position, left vacant since the death of Michael P. Malone in December.

"Dr. Gamble's extensive experience in the West, particularly the work he had done at Washington State University, uniquely qualifies him for the presidency of Montana State University," Crofts said. Crofts cited Gamble's work with legislatures and agricultural interests in Washington state, as well as work with branch campuses and American Indians, as assets that have prepared Gamble to lead MSU.

"Those students, faculty, staff and community members who met Dr. Gamble and his wife, Patricia, during their visit to the MSU campus confirm that he is a gifted educator who will be a strong leader for both the university and the state," he said.

Crofts said the 20-member search committee that identified finalists, as well as members of the Board of Regents, were impressed with the qualifications of all three finalists for the MSU presidency. Other finalists were A. Larry Branen, dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Idaho, and Ann Weaver Hart, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University in California.

Margie Thompson of Butte, chairwoman of the Montana Board of Regents, said the quality of all three finalists for the position speaks well for both Montana State University and the Montana University System.

"We felt fortunate to have such an exceptional field of candidates apply for this position," Thompson said. She said she believes Gamble has the capacity to make important decisions that will positively impact both the university and the state.

Gamble, 58, grew up on a cotton farm in the fertile agricultural area near Fresno, California. He played offensive tackle for a year for Fresno State College and graduated in 1965 with a degree in English. Gamble told a public forum at MSU that after college he started his career in the insurance industry, but soon felt pulled to education. He again enrolled in Fresno State, this time receiving a master's degree in linguistics in 1971, then went on to obtain his doctorate in linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975.

Gamble is a specialist in Native American linguistics. After spending a year at the Smithsonian Institution, he began his tenure at Washington State University in 1976 with a job in the anthropology department. In 24 years at WSU, which is a sister land grant university, he rose through the ranks to become vice provost for academic affairs, supervising fiscal matters, personnel, planning and program implementation. He also helped WSU develop outreach campuses into "a single university, geographically dispersed," which has similarities to the MSU system with campuses in Billings, Bozeman, Havre and Great Falls.

In 1998, Gamble was named provost and senior vice president at the University of Vermont where he is currently responsible for the annual budget and academic operations.

While visiting MSU, Gamble expressed enthusiasm for MSU's relationship with Montana's tribal colleges, as well as the importance of developing relationships that would supplement state funding of higher education. Gamble remains an active scholar. He has written two books and a dozen articles on Native American languages.

Negotiations are currently underway to determine the starting date for Gamble at MSU.

Joyce Scott, Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education and chair of the presidential search committee that identified the candidates, praised the long and hard work by the volunteer committee.

"This committee worked nearly endless hours identifying three very strong candidates from a pool of exceptional applications," Scott said. "All of us involved on the committee are eager to see the dynamic direction that Dr. Gamble will lead Montana State University."

Crofts also thanked Terry Roark, president emeritus of the University of Wyoming who has served as interim president following Malone's death.

"I'm confident that the wisdom and stability that Terry Roark has brought to this campus could not have been duplicated," Crofts said. "The State of Montana thanks him deeply for his commitment and also thanks the people of Wyoming for sharing him with us."

Margie Thompson, chairwoman for the Regents, praised the work of the search committee and its chair. She thanked the four campuses and communities of MSU for their positive and enthusiastic participation in the intense selection process. Regent Thompson also thanked all of the many individuals who contributed to the process and the dozens of others throughout the state who provided input.

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A high resolution color photo of Gamble is available on the Web at:

The Web resolution photo at left can be seen at:





















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