Montana State University

Spring 2017

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Mountains and Minds

Casting into the future June 06, 2017 • Published 06/06/17

Who doesn’t love a good fishing story? Ed Engle and the many contributors to the MSU Trout and Salmonid Collection have many fishing stories to tell. In an archived interview from 2016, Engle, who is a well-known angler, flytier, guide and writer based in Colorado, shares one of these fish stories about how, as a youth growing up in Virginia, his father would take him fishing when he got into trouble at school. On one of these occasions, Engle’s father explained to the man from whom they rented a boat that “Eddie got into a little trouble, and we need to fish and talk.” The man replied, “Well, the way I see it, any boy who fishes can’t be all bad.”

Today, more than 50 years later, the author of several fly fishing books is considered a staple of fishing in the Rocky Mountain West. Seeking to add depth to the collection’s angling historical perspective from Colorado, James Thull, MSU Special Collections librarian and curator of the Trout and Salmonid Collection, invited Engle to sit for an oral history of angling interview.
“Oral history is important because it is original research,” said Thull, who has conducted more than 50 interviews for the collection’s Angling Oral History Project. “The anglers, some with more than 70 years of fly fishing experience, tell us about changes they have seen over the years in the size of fish, water levels and temperatures, runoffs and the timing of hatches.

They tell us about threats to streams and rivers as well as organizations that are doing good work to improve river ecosystems.”
Engle continues to travel around the country giving presentations and sharing his passion for all things fly fishing. The MSU Library’s work on the project so impressed Engle that in addition to his oral history contribution, he delivered a portion of his own papers to Thull as a donation to Montana State and the Trout and Salmonid Collection. And, Engle has committed to making a gift designated to support the MSU Library Trout and Salmonid Initiative. Engle’s gifts to MSU cast his work into the future sustaining the lore of angling for generations to come.

“It is inspiring to see so many people stepping forward to invest in MSU. They give generously because they see the very real impact their dollars have on our campus, our people and programs,” said Chris Murray, MSU Alumni Foundation president and CEO. “In the case of the MSU Library, the incredible value and broad accessibility of its holdings and special collections have inspired gifts from a wide variety of alumni who graduated across our campus as well as donors from our community and around the country.”

Engle’s interview and those of more than 50 other anglers from all walks of life who hail from the Appalachians to the Oregon coast are available online on the MSU Library website ■

Erin and Raymond Schultz have set up a gift that helps Robin Gerlach, professor of chemical and biological engineering, investigate the use of biofilms and extremophilic microorganisms to benefit the environment, such as in the cleanup of contaminated soils, treatment of wastewater and sequestration of carbon dioxide. The Schultzes funded their gift through the IRA rollover provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

Don Baker’s master’s degree in architecture from MSU in 1966 led to a very successful career as well as a lifelong appreciation of higher education. The native of Glasgow, Montana, died in 2016, but his legacy lives on through the Don Baker Scholarship, which will support scholarships for students from Valley County who have financial need and attend any of MSU’s affiliated campuses in Bozeman, Billings, Havre or Great Falls.

Because Arne Emerson, an MSU graduate who is a successful architect in Santa Monica, California, knows that international travel to study architecture in other countries and cultures remains a dream for many students, he established a gift that supports travel stipends for fourth-year students in good academic standing who want to study abroad.

R. Lee Woodriff saw firsthand, as a professor of mathematics and computer science at universities around the country, how talented students in science and math could go unrecognized due to their challenges in reading, writing and communication. Woodriff established a scholarship endowment for mathematics and computer science majors. He also created the Lee Woodriff Mentorship Award for faculty who go above and beyond to mentor students.

Many ways to give

With philanthropic intention and commitments that suit their finances, these donors have found a variety of ways to make impacts across campus.


Leroy and Agnes Luft committed to making gifts through the charitable IRA rollover provision.
IMPACT College of Agriculture scholarships


Teddy Birnie left a gift to MSU establishing an endowment through his estate.
IMPACT Anthropology studies fieldwork


Pete and Carol Nelson established a joint deferred charitable gift annuity.
IMPACT Hilleman Scholars fund


Howard Hahn designated MSU as the beneficiary of personal property.
IMPACT Scholarships for elementary and secondary education majors and academic development support for student-athletes


Paul and Barbee Franzen gave a current-use gift to ensure access for those who have served our country.
IMPACT Veterans and military families support

To make your own impact, visit