Founder, Museum of the Rockies, MSU honorary doctorate 1955
In 1914, at a time when few women became physicians, Caroline McGill established a medical and pathology practice in the rough and ready mining town of Butte. She treated everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, and frequently accepted objects in lieu of money. She had a passion for collecting regionally and historically significant ephemera and photographs from Montana’s rapidly vanishing frontier. McGill donated her personal collection to Montana State College (MSC) and in recognition of her generosity, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1955. Two years later, she and Merrill Burlingame founded the campus’ Historical Museum, the forerunner of today’s Museum of the Rockies (MOR). McGill died in 1959 and never saw her museum become one of the treasures of the Treasure State, welcoming almost 5 million visitors, inspiring scores of students and teaching visitors more about this region’s natural and cultural history. She was MOR’s first female director, and her example inspired the women who followed in her footsteps.
Caroline McGill’s hard work and foresight have enriched this campus and lives of so many people.