Dr. Waded Cruzado, President of Montana State University

President Waded Cruzado

Since January of 2010, Dr. Waded Cruzado has served as the 12th President of Montana State University, and during that time she has significantly reshaped the face and future of the state's first land-grant institution.

An articulate and inspirational speaker on the role of the public university, President Cruzado has become well-known for her understanding of the Morrill Act, which created the land-grant university system 150 years ago. She is a passionate champion of the land-grant's tripartite mission of education, research and public outreach, as well as the important role higher education plays in the development of individuals and the prosperity of the nation.

During President Cruzado's tenure, MSU has competitively won more than $400 million for research. In 2011-12, MSU set an institutional record of $112.3 million in research expenditures. Some recent projects include the renovation of Cooley Lab thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, as well as a $67 million grant from the Department of Energy for the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration partnership, which is housed at MSU. In 2011, the Montana University System was awarded a $20 million National Science Foundation grant to create the Institute on Ecosystems, a collaborative effort between MSU and the University of Montana to pursue research and public outreach in the environmental sciences.

MSU has set new enrollment records under President Cruzado's leadership. Since her arrival, the university's headcount enrollment has grown from 13,559 in the fall of 2010 to a record 15,421 in the fall of 2014, making MSU the largest university in the state of Montana.

During President Cruzado's tenure the campus has seen the completion of numerous major construction and renovation projects. In the fall of 2010, the university reopened one of its most heavily used classroom buildings on campus, Gaines Hall, after a $32 million renovation funded by the Montana Legislature.

That same fall, the university also opened its new, 40,000-square-foot Animal Bioscience Building. The $15.7 million building was funded, in part, by donations from Montana's livestock and grains industry. In addition to classroom and teaching laboratory space, the building is home to the MSU College of Agriculture's Department of Animal and Range Sciences.

Under President Cruzado's leadership, construction is underway on Jabs Hall, a new building that will be the home of the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Jabs Hall is made possible thanks to a $25 million gift from MSU alumnus Jake Jabs, president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse in Denver. The gift will also be used to fund scholarships and other programs. In her first year, President Cruzado also welcomed a $3 million gift to MSU from Jabs, who generously funded the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship in the business college.

Under President Cruzado’s leadership, MSU announced in March 2014 that Asbjornson had committed to give the university $50 million for its College of Engineering – the largest private gift in the history of the state. Asbjornson’s gift will fund the construction of an innovative laboratory and classroom facility that will enable collaborative, hands-on learning and leadership. The building, to be named the Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, is envisioned to promote dynamic interdisciplinary engagement, meaningful student-faculty interaction, and accelerated innovation that responds to and anticipates emerging trends in education, industry and society. University officials hope to break ground no later than the spring of 2016.

Not a year into her administration, President Cruzado also launched an ambitious campaign to raise $6 million for a 7,200-seat renovation of the south end zone of Bobcat Stadium. The funds were raised in a record amount of time and the renovation was completed for the 2011 football season. The end zone project resulted in a net gain of 5,200 seats for the stadium, for a total capacity of 17,500. However, through additional standing-room-only attendance, the stadium thrice exceeded 21,000 spectators in the fall of 2013. The end zone project greatly enhances the game-day experience of all MSU students in attendance, while improving the practice and competition environment for track and field student-athletes. Importantly for President Cruzado, the expansion serves to strengthen a sense of community between MSU's students, faculty and staff with its alumni, fans and friends. The project also included upgrades to the MSU Track and Field Complex.

President Cruzado has made improvements to student facilities a priority. In 2011, she led the university to secure $15 million in bonding authority for upgrading student residence halls. During the summer of 2011, more than $3 million was spent on the Langford and Hapner residence hall rooms to make them more modern and appealing to students, and Miller Dining Hall -- the largest on campus -- had a $400,000 seating upgrade. President Cruzado made sure students were involved in all phases of the design process. In 2012, public spaces in Langford and Hapner residence halls received a $6 million renovation, and the university completed a $300,000 seating upgrade in Harrison Dining Hall. In fall 2013, Gallatin Hall opened. The $7 million residence hall, which provides housing for 72 students, was built using sustainable construction methods and is LEED gold certified. And, in fall 2013, MSU won approval from the Board of Regents to build a new, $35 million, 400-bed freshman residence hall to help accommodate planned campus growth, as well as approval for a phased, $18 million renovation and expansion of MSU's three dining halls over the next three years.

Other renovation projects completed under President Cruzado's leadership include a renovation of the first floor of the MSU Library, an expansion of the Writing Center in Wilson Hall, a $1.5 million project to modernize classrooms, a $1.5 million project to improve campus accessibility, and $9 million in energy conservation projects, which will upgrade all residence halls and other auxiliary facilities. President Cruzado also oversaw the addition of nearly 800 parking slots around campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

MSU received legislative support under President Cruzado's leadership to expand the WWAMI medical education program for the first time in 38 years. WWAMI is a 40-year-old cooperative medical education program involving Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Montana students spend their first year at MSU and then go to the University of Washington School of Medicine. The WWAMI cooperative educates physicians at significantly lower costs than traditional medical school models and inspires students to practice primary care in rural areas--one of the greatest areas of need in Montana, the West and the nation. The legislature also supported the creation of a Veterinary Medicine Program at MSU in partnership with Washington State University. Modeled after WWAMI, it is the only Veterinary Medicine Program in the state.

President Cruzado has consistently reaffirmed the importance of a campus environment that places student success as the top priority. To that end, she has made student retention a major priority of the university by funding numerous programs and appointing an executive officer to oversee related initiatives in increasing students' financial literacy, helping more students graduate in four years and providing more student support services such as tutoring, mentoring and advising. President Cruzado has also enhanced MSU's responsiveness to students' needs and aspirations with the creation of the Veterans Center and two Family Care Rooms.

In April 2012, President Cruzado announced a goal of becoming the first university in the nation to raise $1 million in endowed, private support for Bobcat Rodeo. By the following spring, this goal had been achieved. A large portion of the funds have been invested to fund 18 scholarships, including 16 new scholarships.

President Cruzado has provided new pathways to higher education with the establishment of Gallatin College Montana State University and its range of two-year degrees and one-year certificates. Gallatin College MSU had been formerly known as MSU-Great Falls College of Technology in Bozeman and was located away from the central campus. With the renaming, Gallatin College was also given offices and classrooms in Hamilton Hall, located in the campus center. In fall 2013, Gallatin Valley voters overwhelmingly passed a property tax to support and expand Gallatin College.

Under President Cruzado's leadership, the university won a grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for the Blackstone LaunchPad, a program that introduces entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provides university students with a network of venture coaches and entrepreneurial support to transform new ideas into sustainable companies. A grand opening for the Blackstone LaunchPad's new space at MSU was held in fall 2013.

Under President Cruzado's leadership, MSU was named the winner of the prestigious C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in the fall of 2011. Montana State was recognized for the contributions its students have made in bringing clean water to a region in Kenya through the work of the MSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Given just once a year, the Magrath award recognizes a four-year public university that embraces outreach and community engagement and comes with a $20,000 prize. MSU competed for the award against three other finalist schools that have significantly larger enrollments than MSU: Michigan State, Penn State and the University of Tennessee.

Also in 2011, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded MSU its community engagement classification in recognition of the university's commitment to teaching that encourages volunteer service and the spreading of knowledge that benefits the public. MSU is among only 311 universities out of more than 4,400 nationally to receive such recognition.

This was the second Carnegie classification for the university. The Carnegie Foundation has also ranked MSU as one of the top 108 universities in the nation with very high research activity, a distinction MSU has held since 2006. This top tier classification--out of more than 4,600 institutions--recognizes the significant opportunities for research, scholarship and creative work at MSU.

President Cruzado has inaugurated an era of greater campus communication with regular memos and communications emailed to students, faculty and staff on MSU's four campuses across the state. She also initiated the Pure Gold program, a weekly recognition of student and employee excellence. Under her leadership, MSU's flagship campus in Bozeman also undertook and completed a massive strategic planning effort.

President Cruzado has enhanced MSU's alumni and community relations. Perhaps her most visible community project has been the CatWalk in Bozeman: a celebration of the relationship between MSU and the community during which the president and the MSU Spirit of the West Marching Band visit local businesses.

She was honored as the 2011 Michael P. Malone Educator of the Year from the Montana Ambassadors for demonstrating outstanding accomplishment, excellence and leadership in the field of education. President Cruzado also was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and, in November 2012, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities awarded President Cruzado the Seaman A. Knapp Memorial Lectureship, in honor of the founder of the Cooperative Extension Service.

In 2012, President Obama appointed President Cruzado to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, a seven-member advisory council that advises USAID on agriculture, rural development and nutrition issues related to global food insecurity. In 2013, President Cruzado also began serving on Gov. Steve Bullock’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force.  

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announced a three-person task force to conduct a wide-ranging review of its policies and procedures, with President Cruzado serving as the task force's chair.

In 2014, President Cruzado was elected to serve a three-year term on the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Board of Directors, the governing and policymaking body of the association.

Prior to coming to MSU, President Cruzado served as executive vice president and provost at New Mexico State University, posts she held since Sept. 1, 2007, and served as NMSU's interim president from 2008-2009.

President Cruzado has a master of arts in Spanish and a doctorate in the humanities, both from the University of Texas at Arlington.