Montana State University

Dr. Paul Melvin to receive MSU honorary doctorate on May 6

April 20, 2017 -- MSU News Service

Dr. Paul Melvin of Helena will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Montana State University during the university’s spring commencement on May 6. MSU photo by Abbey Nelson.

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Dr. Paul Melvin, a graduate of Montana State University who pioneered methods of orthopedic surgery, will receive an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater during MSU’s spring commencement on May 6, university officials announced today. Melvin, who now lives in Helena, will receive an honorary doctorate in arts from the College of Arts and Architecture.

“Dr. Paul Melvin is not only a medical pioneer who improved medical care in Montana, he and his wife, Terry, have made significant and positive contributions to our university,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “Dr. Melvin is a proud son of Montana and graduate of MSU whose work has had a positive impact on us all. He is extremely deserving of this award, the highest recognition that MSU can bestow.”

A native of tiny New Deal, Montana, a now-dissolved community near Fort Peck, Melvin was raised in Butte. He graduated from MSU in 1961 with a degree in general studies before there was a pre-medicine option, then attended medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Iowa. During his schooling, he also sandwiched in military service in the Air National Guard.  

Following his residency, Melvin moved back to Montana to co-found the Great Falls Orthopedic Associates in 1972. There, as a board certified and licensed orthopedic surgeon, he pioneered new hip and knee surgery methods. Melvin held the position of founding partner at GFOA for 31 years. After retiring from GFOA, he served as the medical director at Benefis Hospitals and served as a consultant to the Helena Veterans Administration Clinic. He also worked for Mountain-Pacific Quality Health where he worked to reduce infectious disease rates in Montana hospitals. His studies resulted in improved patient safety and provided improved medical treatment within hospitals throughout the West. Melvin continues to serve as a consultant on medical issues around the state.

Melvin and his wife, an artist who also graduated from MSU, are philanthropists in the state. In 2001, their support helped MSU’s School of Art in the College of Arts and Architecture convert a former swine barn west of campus into a 6,000 square-foot graduate art studio. The studio is named the Terry and Paul Melvin Graduate Art Studio in recognition of their contributions. Melvin has also served on MSU’s Alumni Foundation Board, working to support student scholarships, endowed faculty chairs and upgraded facilities.

MSU will conduct two spring commencement ceremonies this spring. The first, which will include candidates for graduation from the Colleges of Agriculture, Nursing, Education, Health and Human Development, and Engineering, is scheduled for 9 a.m.  The second, for the Colleges of Arts and Architecture, Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Letters and Science and Gallatin College, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Both will be held in MSU’s Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Melvin will also deliver the charge to the graduates at the afternoon ceremony.

For more information about MSU's spring commencement, visit


Maggie Hayes (406) 994-2343 or