Montana State University

Alumna establishes MSU presidential scholarship honoring mother, Olive Pearce of Butte

December 18, 2013

Montana State University alumna Mary Ann Pearce’s most recent gift to MSU Alumni Foundation establishes a full-tuition presidential scholarship in honor of her mother, Olive Pearce.   High-Res Available

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Montana State University alumna Mary Ann Pearce and her husband, David Gray, have established the  Olive Pearce Presidential Scholarship honoring Pearce’s mother, Olive Pearce of Butte, for her 85th birthday. The new scholarship will provide full tuition support for exceptional engineering students enrolled at MSU.

Pearce and Gray, of Houston, first established the Olive Pearce Scholarship in Engineering in 2005 to provide financial support for nine students, covering a portion of their total tuition costs ranging from $600 to $1,600 annually. Now, backed by an increased base of funding, the new Olive Pearce Presidential Scholarship will annually pay all of a student’s tuition costs, removing any financial constraints that may limit a student's academic pursuits.

“The Olive Pearce Presidential Scholarship will make a real difference in the lives of talented students who, in turn, will contribute in meaningful ways to our mission by integrating learning, research and discovery,” said Ilse-Mari Lee, dean of MSU’s new Honors College. MSU presidential scholarships are administered in the MSU Honors College.

"Through years of service with Butte's Girls Scouts, Rainbow Girls, and Job’s Daughters, Olive Pearce encouraged youth to their apply their talents in school and in life," Mary Ann Pearce said. "Through her example, she consistently conveyed the values of education, honesty, and hard work, the very characteristics carried by the students who benefit from the Olive Pearce Scholarship."

Twice named a Montana Standard Woman of Distinction, Olive Pearce continues to be active in her community, volunteering her time to play music at elder-care facilities in Butte.

“MSU opened opportunities to me all over the world,” said Mary Ann Pearce of her decision to first establish the Olive Pearce Scholarship. She graduated from MSU with a degree in chemical engineering. “Now I get to show my gratitude to Montana State, my mom and to my mentor at Montana State University, Dr. Lloyd Berg. I hope this scholarship will encourage students from Butte to consider attending Montana State University.”

“This gift demonstrates the depth of the Pearce family’s continuing connection to Montana State University,” said Michael Stevenson, president and CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation. “Their decision to build the value of their initial endowment adds to the generosity they have provided through the years. With their choice to increase their gift, the Pearce family has significantly increased the value students get as recipients of the Olive Pearce Presidential Scholarship.”


About the Montana State University Alumni Foundation: The Montana State University Alumni Foundation is an independent 501(c) (3) or private nonprofit corporation with three subsidiary entities that serve one mission: "We create lifelong relationships and strengthen our resources to advance Montana State University."The MSU Alumni Association is a membership body that keeps graduates and friends of our University connected to one another and to their Alma Mater. The MSU Foundation raises significant private financial support and serves as the steward for more than $180 million dollars in invested resources from many generous donors. And the MSU Innovation Campus offers powerful opportunities for partners to invest in a creative, entrepreneurial environment that offers state of the art facilities, supports start-up companies, and provides students with hands on learning experiences that can result in employment opportunities upon graduation.

About Montana State University’s Presidential Scholarship Program: Presidential Scholarships are MSU's most distinguished academic awards, recognizing students for their scholastic achievement, demonstrated leadership and unique personal qualities. Scholarship recipients receive annual tuition waivers and a generous merit grant for each of four years they are enrolled at MSU. In recent years, Presidential Scholars at MSU have gone on to become Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes and Marshall Scholars. Interested students can download applications at


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Traci Weller, Director of Development: (406) 994-2223