Dear Friends of the Honors College:

As we reflect on the past year in the Honors College, we are filled with gratitude for the extraordinary students who have elected to attend the Honors College at Montana State University. The word is out, so to speak: our freshman class in Honors this fall numbered a record 380 students and we have just received nearly 800 applications for the 20 Presidential Scholarships our university offers. This is a 26% increase in applications from last year and a 37% increase from the year before. 

We are grateful for the tremendous institutional support we have received from our President and Provost to provide our students with the necessary Honors courses to fulfill their Honors Baccalaureate degree requirements. We offer Honors Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, Music, Economics, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, Earth Sciences; as well as a wonderful array of interdisciplinary Honors seminars, bookending our students’ freshman and senior years at MSU. Hike and Read, Great Expeditions, Ski and Read, Smithsonian Internships and the “Honors Presents” lecture series add tremendous depth and breadth to the students undergraduate experience. 

We were recognized by as a “notable producer  of scholarship winners. This year, Honors students received three Goldwater and two Truman scholarships. MSU is now tied for 8th in the nation for Goldwater scholarships: our nation’s premier award for students pursuing research careers in Math, Science and Engineering. With 64 such scholars, we are now ranked above Yale University.  For every year of the past six years, Honors students were named national finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, including two scholars: Katy Hansen and Joseph Thiel.

The Montana Board of Regents reinstated the Directed Interdisciplinary Studies Degree, and we welcomed our first tenure-track faculty member, Dr. Amanda Hendrix-Komoto to campus. 134 Montana University System Scholars elected to attend Montana State, more than the other schools combined.  

With all this good news, I am also asking for your support. We have identified an area of critical need: space. 

We have been given the opportunity to anchor magnificent space in the Norm Asjbornson Innovation Center. The Honors College will be located on the top (third) floor of a 70 million dollar building project. Four seminar rooms, a board room, classroom and maker’s spaces, common areas and administrative offices will combine to provide a center for our 1,300 students, where students can collaborate and study, while engaging in meaningful and transformative dialogue. Interdisciplinary “collisions” represent the type of problem solving and innovation needed to address the greatest issues of the 21st century, such as access to clean water, climate change, health disparities, poverty, food (in)security, global security and more. The Honors floor would serve as an incubator for innovative and collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. 

We envision a space filled with art, music, conversation, seminars and lectures. Our floor will serve as the catalyst for multi-disciplinary research and creativity on our campus. We have to raise $3 million in pledges to secure the Honors floor, before June 30, 2016.  Please help us do so. Your gift, no matter how small, will make a difference.  

We have been entrusted with much: nothing less than supporting our future leaders with the education they need to ensure the future of our nation and world.  

Please support our students, and by doing so, the thousands that they in turn will impact through their work.  

Please visit the Foundation's website at to make your contribution or you may send a check.  In the notes portion of your check, write “Honors College.”   Once your donation is received at the Foundation, you will receive a charitable tax acknowledgment letter. 

You can mail your donation to:

MSU Foundation  
1501 South 11th Avenue 
Bozeman, Montana 59717-2750

Thank you for your consideration in donating to the Honors College here at MSU.

Dr. Ilse-Mari Lee, Dean
Honors College