Montana State University

MSU's Mountains and Minds magazine wins top award at regional university competition

February 20, 2014 -- MSU News Service

MSU's magazine, "Mountains and Minds," was named the most outstanding entry at a competition for communications produced by colleges, universities and secondary schools in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. "Mountains and Minds" is produced in-house by MSU's University Communications. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

Communications produced by Montana State University received awards at a recent regional contest for all universities, colleges and secondary schools in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, including the award for the most outstanding entry for MSU's magazine, "Mountains and Minds."

"Mountains and Minds" won the 2014 Virginia Carter Smith Grand Crystal Award at the District VIII competition of CASE, the professional support organization for higher education, at its annual meeting in Vancouver, B.C., last weekend.

The magazine qualified for consideration for the sweepstakes award by winning a Grand Gold award as the top magazine of the year from submissions from five U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces. The magazine, which also won a gold award in the circulation category of fewer than 29,999, the smallest category, is produced in-house by MSU University Communications staff.

Tracy Ellig, executive director of MSU Communications, serves as publisher of the magazine. Also named on the award were editor Carol Schmidt, lead designer Bridget Ashcraft and photographer Kelly Gorham. The judges, who selected the magazine as the top award from nine categories of publications, websites, design, photography, video and multimedia, fundraising and community projects, noted that it was a "wonderful publication… Excellent photos and nice clean layout. Tells the story of MSU's people, programs and community."

Both issues of the magazine produced in 2013 were entered, including the fall issue with a cover photograph by Gorham of MSU student Saul Martinez, a veteran from the Iraq war who is completing his education at MSU. Gorham also won a silver award for the Martinez photo. Also submitted was the spring issue featuring an illustration done by Ashcraft of Albert Einstein in connection with MSU's Celebrating Einstein program. Ashcraft also won a silver award in the photo illustration category for her illustration.

"MSU is humbled and honored at the honors," Ellig said. "Virtually every person on our staff has a vital role in producing Mountains and Minds, and this is a wonderful validation of the talents possessed by the members of our team." He added that it is believed it is the first time that MSU has won the Virginia Carter Smith award.

MSU's "Welcome Back Bobcats" kit also won a gold award in the Best Practices in Communications and Marketing category. The project, directed by Chelsea Schmidt, University Communications' assistant director for business and community relations, distributed free Bobcat promotional products to Gallatin Valley businesses to enhance community and university support.

MSU's viewbook for prospective students won a silver award for Multi-Page Print Design. Ron Lambert, MSU's art director, was cited, as was Lee Cook, MSU marketing specialist, and Gorham.

Gorham also won a bronze award for Photographer of the Year.

MSU's advertising spot "We Shape the Future," received a bronze award in the Video and Multimedia category. Julie Kipfer, MSU's director of marketing, was named on the award as was Dennis Aig, director of the School of Film and Photography, and MSU graduate Scott Chestnut, a Hollywood film editor who edited the spot.

To learn more about the award, and CASE, go to:


Tracy Ellig (406) 994-5607,