Montana State University

MSU one of nation’s leading public universities for 2015 Truman and Goldwater scholarship winners

August 12, 2015 -- Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service

MSU is one of just eight universities from across the nation this year to produce two Truman Scholarship recipients. In addition, MSU is currently tied for 8th in the nation for the total number of Goldwater scholars that have come from the university. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

Montana State University was recently recognized by a respected website for being one of the leading public universities in the nation for the number of Truman and Goldwater scholars it produces.

The website noted that MSU is one of a handful of universities from across the nation this year to produce two Truman Scholarship recipients. The Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive and prestigious scholarship given to college juniors with demonstrated leadership potential and commitment to public service. This year, there were 58 recipients nationwide, and only eight schools from across the nation – including MSU, Brown, Vanderbilt and Yale – had two Truman Scholarship winners each.

The Truman Scholarship provides $30,000 toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare the winners for careers in public service leadership. MSU’s recipients this year were Alexander Paterson and Cara Thuringer.

In addition, recognized MSU for becoming “a notable producer of scholarship winners, especially Goldwater awards.” The Goldwater Scholarship is the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences and engineering. MSU has produced 64 Goldwater scholars, keeping the university one of the nation’s top institutions for number of recipients. MSU is currently tied for 8th in the nation – just above Yale University– for the total number of Goldwater scholars that have come from Montana State. Other schools at the top of the list include Harvard, Princeton, Duke and Stanford.

In the last five years, MSU has produced 13 Goldwater Scholars, two Rhodes Scholars, one Gates-Cambridge Scholar, one Marshall Scholar, 16 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows, three Udall Scholars, five Boren Award winners and nine Fulbright grantees. MSU’s success in producing Truman, Goldwater and other scholarship winners can be attributed to several factors, according to Ilse-Mari Lee, dean of the MSU Honors College.

“These successes are a testament to the highly motivated students who have access to undergraduate research opportunities as early as their freshman year, combined with inspirational faculty members who serve as mentors,” Lee said. “We are honored to be among other universities that are recognized by this publication. Most of these institutions are Carnegie (very high research) institutions, but what sets MSU apart is that we are also a very high undergraduate enrollment institution, with the additional community engagement classification.”

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies MSU as one of only 108 colleges and universities in the nation – out of more than 4,600 – that maintain “very high research activity.” Of those 108 institutions, only 51 are also classified as having “significant commitment to community engagement.” And, of those 51, MSU is the only college or university with a Carnegie enrollment profile of very high undergraduate enrollment. is devoted to evaluating and discussing public university honors programs and public honors colleges. The website is associated with a book, “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs.” Published by Public University Press, the book and the website provide reviews and information about honors colleges and programs nationwide. Both were mentioned in a recent New York Times op-ed column about the value of public honors colleges.

Lee noted that the recognition comes at a significant time for the MSU Honors College, as it is currently preparing to welcome the largest incoming class in its history.

“To have these students elect to attend MSU is indicative of the confidence and trust that these students have in our institution. We stand ready to support them in every way we can,” she said. 

Contact: Ilse-Mari Lee, dean, MSU Honors College, (406) 994-4689 or