Back to top


Campaign gifts for scholarships and fellowships minimize the economic barriers that stand in the way of many students.

Victoria Barnick always knew she’d give back to MSU. A fourth-generation Montanan born in Ringling, Barnick attended Montana State at a time when women were the exception in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. As Barnick neared retirement following a pioneering career in microbiology that gave her opportunities to travel the world, she envisioned a gift in her will that would expand opportunities for future MSU students.

A visit to campus after many years inspired her to want to have an impact on current students as well. Seeing the vibrancy and growth at Montana State moved Barnick and her husband Peter to establish scholarships benefitting students today.

“When I retired, I started reflecting on what I had done and what had gotten me to the point that I had gotten to, and I realized that Montana State really set me on my path,” Barnick said. “I started to think about how we could enrich the world.”

Barnick and her husband decided to establish scholarships to support students whose life experiences mirror their own. The opportunity to contribute to the betterment of students’ lives—for Barnick, to underrepresented students in the fields of STEM, and for Peter, to first-generation American students—has been rewarding in ways they never conceived.

“September is becoming my favorite month because I get the scholarship letters [thank-you letters from the student recipients] and I find out whose life I’ve affected that year,” Barnick said. “I was stunned that the gift that I had given returned so much to me.”