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Campaign gifts for programs that increase community outreach and global engagement bridge teaching, research and service to the benefit of students, communities and the world.

Montana State University was founded in 1893 as a land-grant university to serve Montanans. During the What It Takes campaign, community leaders partnered with MSU to propel academic programs in the fields of community banking, hospitality management, culinary arts, ranch management and plant sciences.

Bill Coffee is a Bobcat alumnus, CEO of Stockman Bank and board member for the Montana Independent Bankers Association. The new MSU programs respond to the drivers of the Montana economy, and Coffee believes they will create smarter, healthier communities that build a better Montana.

“To truly be a part of the community is to know what’s going on and to have a legitimate concern about making the community a better place,” Coffee said. “These programs provide a first-class education with real-world application.”

The initiatives within the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, the College of Education, Health and Human Development and the College of Agriculture empower students by providing statewide internship opportunities, cross-disciplinary curricula and scholarship support. 

Business students will assess balance sheets and analyze income taxes with bankers. Aspiring culinary artists will connect with local farmers to learn the benefits of the farm-to-table food chain. Plant science students will survey the fields and assess the needs of Montana’s wheat and barley producers. The partnerships generated by the campaign are educating the next generation of working professionals to support the needs of Montana’s growing economy.

“It is a wonderful feeling knowing you’re supporting such a meaningful and impactful program,” Coffee said. “We are developing great young minds.”