Professor, department head in health and human development, women’s athletics founder and supporter
Ellen Kreighbaum came to Montana State University in 1965. Over 40 years, she inspired and created opportunities for advancing women faculty and students. She also built an outstanding and inspiring record of research, scholarship, leadership and teaching. Kreighbaum started women’s basketball at MSU, expanded to volleyball and gymnastics and coached all three. She guided the development of a women’s athletic department and became the first director. She founded the Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Association, founded the Fast Break Club and funded the Kreighbaum Challenge to support women’s basketball. In 1992, she was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Her teaching and research in the College of Education, Health and Human Development influenced careers of generations of students in fields of biomechanics, physical therapy and sports medicine. Krieghbaum helped organize and launch the International Society for Biomechanics of Sport and served as president. Kreighbaum played a pivotal role in a sex discrimination suit resulting in dramatic changes for campus women’s salaries, promotion, tenure and administrative positions. A visionary, researcher, scholar, teacher, mentor, donor and fan of women’s athletics, Kreighbaum has made a tremendous impact on Montana State University.
Ellen Kreighbaum and other pioneering athletes and administrators changed women's athletics at Montana State and in the process built a program long regarded as a national model for female collegiate athletics.