Montana State University

Archived Spotlight story

November 16, 2006 -- from MSU News Service

ConoverBozeman - Cathy Conover, Montana State University's chief spokesperson and lobbyist, has been chosen as Montana Associate Commissioner of Higher Education. Sheila Stearns, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education, announced the six-month appointment today.

Conover will replace Dave Gibson, who is resigning his post as associate commissioner of technology, research and communications to become the Montana president of Qwest. Conover will begin her duties at the Commissioner's office on Dec. 1

"I have great respect for Dave Gibson and am honored to be selected to replace him," Conover said. "I look forward to working on the system level with the Regents, the Commissioner and her staff and the other campuses."

Conover, who is director of MSU's Office of Communications and Public Affairs, has accepted a six-month appointment as associate commissioner. Her chief duty during the term will be coordinating legislative duties for the commissioner's office as well as the Montana Board of Regents during the upcoming Montana legislative session. She will retain her position and MSU duties during the six-month term, she said.

Stearns said that Conover's decade of experience lobbying and coordinating legislative affairs for MSU will be important during the coming months.

"I am very pleased that someone with Cathy's wealth of experience and statewide respect is willing to join the Office of the Commissioner during this critical period," Stearns said. "I also express thanks to President Gamble for his willingness to work with me and my office to make this transition work for OCHE, MUS, and also, of course, the large unit at MSU that Cathy currently supervises."

Conover, who has a bachelor's degree in political science from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and a master's in higher education administration from MSU, came to the university in 1981 following a career in manufacturing operations on the East Coast. She has served MSU in several capacities including as an adjunct instructor in the colleges of engineering and business. She was director of MSU's Personnel Services until 1997, when she was hired as director of communications and public affairs.

Stearns said a search for the permanent replacement for the position will begin in January, pending review of the position with the Board of Regents.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or