Montana State University

$3.5 million gift endows student scholarships and bolsters agriculture and business at Montana State University

February 20, 2014 -- MSU Alumni Foundation

MSU alumna Nancy Cameron honored her family’s pioneering heritage with a significant $3.5 million gift that benefits faculty and students across MSU. Photo courtesy of Cameron family.   High-Res Available

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Montana State University alumna Nancy Cameron has made a $3.5 million gift to the Montana State University Alumni Foundation, providing the funding necessary to establish endowments for three scholarship funds, a chair in animal and range sciences, and a business professorship at MSU. 

Pledged over the course of the next few years, Cameron’s gift impacts students and faculty across MSU. A 1954 graduate from the College of Business at what was then Montana State College, Cameron has created endowments that both provide the encouragement and support necessary for students to achieve their academic goals and fund distinguished faculty who enrich the student experience, according to MSU President Waded Cruzado.

“Nancy’s thoughtful generosity will have far-reaching impacts across Montana State University and in the communities we serve,” Cruzado said. “This gift will help MSU further its land-grant mission of learning, discovery and outreach, ensuring more Montanans have access to an education at Montana State while at the same time advancing the research and scholarship that will ultimately help ranchers and small business owners throughout Montana.”

The initial portions of Cameron’s gift will establish three scholarships that will benefit students who, like Cameron, originally hail from Montana. Descended from a pioneering ranching family with a 125-year history in the state, Cameron has endowed scholarships that reflect her family’s own pursuit of the American Dream from their ranch southwest of Great Falls. Two of these scholarships, the Cameron Pioneer Memorial Business Scholarship and the Cameron Pioneer Memorial Pre-Med Scholarship, directly honor her family’s heritage.  Each of these scholarships will eventually provide annual scholarship support to full-time MSU students who enroll in these programs.

“I am very pleased with what I have been able to do, building on the long Montana heritage of the Cameron pioneer family,” Cameron said from her home in Boise, Idaho. “I have very fond memories of my time at MSU, and I am glad that this gift will further the educational activities there.”

The third scholarship is the Nancy Cameron Presidential Scholarship for students admitted to MSU’s Honors College. Awarded on the basis of scholastic achievement, demonstrated leadership and personal qualities, Presidential Scholarships are MSU’s most prestigious scholarships. With Cameron’s gift, MSU will have additional resources to attract more students from Montana who have very strong academic records by offering them a Presidential scholarship that covers their tuition in full.

“Students are really interested in making a difference in whatever they choose to do,” Cameron said. “I want them to know that there are funds available to help them accomplish their dreams."

The largest portion of Cameron’s gift will be used to establish the Nancy Cameron Chair in Animal and Range Sciences within MSU’s College of Agriculture. The $2 million endowment will be used to support a scholar who will lead faculty and students in research that will provide direct benefits to Montana ranchers. The Cameron Chair, along with the planned Montana Plant Sciences Chair, will significantly enhance the impact that research conducted by MSU’s College of Agriculture will have for Montana’s agricultural community.

Cameron’s gift also establishes a $1 million endowment to fund a professorship within MSU’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Like the agricultural chair, the person who holds this professorship will serve as a teacher, a mentor to faculty, and the lead researcher within his or her department, inspiring students to explore new possibilities in the field of business.

“We are very thankful Nancy chose to make this gift. Taken together, the endowments Nancy has established will create enduring value for generations of MSU students,” said Kathleen Saylor, interim CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation. “With these commitments, Nancy illustrates her lifelong passion for MSU and for the important role education plays in our lives, giving MSU students and faculty the resources they need to embrace the emerging opportunities for Montana agriculture and business.”

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.

Contact: Tyler Wiltgen, principal gift officer: (406) 994-3743 or