Honoring a Legacy & Shaping the Future


Tyerra, a 2020 Hilleman Scholar, asks a question during a Lessons in Leadership event.

The MSU Hilleman Scholars Program, in memory of one of MSU's most notable alumni, supports recent Montana high school graduates who demonstrate leadership, academic, and career potential. This program combines academic and financial assistance, leadership development, career and financial educaiton, and high expectations to keep students engaged and on-track to graduation. Our goal is to aid in the development of shaping Montana's future leaders - who appreciate and are committed to their education. The program is based on the following structure:

Year 1:

Building expectation: Academic, Personal, Leadership & Career Development


Aaron, a 2020 Hilleman Scholar, participating in a Lessons in Leadership event.

Year 2:

Experiential Learning: Internships/Research Experience/Mentoring

Year 3:

Civic Engagement: Learning About the World Around Us

Year 4:

Civic Engagement: Giving Back to Their State/Community Through Projects of Consequence

Lessons in Leadership

Lessons in Leadership speakers provide the HIlleman Scholars with important insight on not only their career path, but also perspectives on the many and varied "wicked problems" they will need to solve in their places of work, communiites, and society at large. Our Lessons in Leadership speakers provide important context for the scholars to understand the complexity and opporutnity of the world they will inherit.

Over the past 5 years Lessons in Leadership speakers include: President Cruzado, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Steve Daines, Diplomat Stewart Devine, Dean Adams, Ty Atwater, Melissa Blixt, Marshall Bloom, Nick Borys, Kirk branch, Matt Caires, Nick Checota, Julian Collins, Lander Cooney, Meagan Damrow, Ariel Donahue, Tracy Ellig, Jill Ellwood, Dean FOlkvord, Greg Gilpin, Christine Foreman, Lisa Hammer, Judith Heilman, Kirsten Hilleman, Brian Johnsrud, Vaugn Judge, Amber Kamps, Jeff Kaufman, Chris Kearns, Matt Kelley, Brian Klein, Barbara Kuter, Todd Larkin, Jocelyn Larson, Terry Leist, Amy Lincoln, Dale Martin, Emily Mason, Josh Meyer, Jim McCray, Matt McKenna, Colleen McMilin, Morton H. Meyerosn, Michelle Miley, Duane Morris, Chris Nelson, Sean O'Callaghan, Kellie Peterson, Penelope Pierce, Christine Phillips, Will Price, Cory Pulfrey, Michael Reidy, Renee Reijo Perra, Godfrey Saunders, Steven Sieglein, David Singel, Vince MSith, Nick Stadie, Emily Stark, Wendy Stock, Chris Stoddard, Cody Stone, Buck Taylor, Carson Taylor, Mike Tooley, Jason Trieschmann, and Don Wetzel Jr. We are grateful to each contributor of the program! If you would like to recommend an inspired individual to be a Lessons in Leadership speaker or Mentor in Residence, or if you would like to share your story, please contact the MSU Hilleman Scholars Program.

MSU Hilleman Scholars Program Outcomes

Map with quoteThe MSU Hilleman Scholars Program is now at a pivotal juncture, as we are able to demonstrate four year retention and graduation outcomes for the inaugural cohort (2016). In the figure below, please note the MSU Hilleman Scholars have graduated/retained students significantly above the defined matched-pair cohort of MSU students (sharing similar attributes) and slightly higher than the overall Montana cohort. We are so proud of the scholars determination, focus, and commitment to their education and we look forward to the prospect of generating similar outcomes with future cohorts.

While we are pleased with the inaugural cohort outcomes, know that our work is not yet complete. As with any start-up venture, more in learned each day to help guide program improvements. Equally salient, the pandemic has taught us that the developmental aspect of being a college student - experiences inside and outside of the classroom - are critical for shaping self-identity and growth. Many of our students and families have been deeply affected by the pandemic, and as a result this has impacted their ability to learn, engage, and in some cases retain. Even so, each day we witness examples of grit, resiliency, humor, and determination; we are honored to support the scholars now and into the future to ensure they graduate with the full promise of a university degree. To be sure, now more than ever, the world needs more "Dr. Hilleman's."