Seth Bodnar

MISSOULA – He’s worked for a company with a slogan for “bringing good things to life.”

Now, General Electric executive Seth Bodnar will be aiming to bring good things to the University of Montana, and new life to the school’s stagnant enrollment.

Already nominated to the post a few weeks ago, the Montana Board of Regents unanimously approved the contract for Bodnar on Thursday, setting him in place to take over UM in January. He’ll be paid just under $314,000 a year, plus benefits.

“We couldn’t be more excited for him to arrive and bring his experience, ideas and energy to the University,” current UM President Sheila Stearns said. “It’s a challenging job, but Seth Bodnar will make an excellent leader for UM.”

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Bodnar, who taught at West Point and had a long Army Career as a Green Beret, promised to fight for public higher education, saying it’s a “privilege” to be on the UM team.

A Rhodes Scholar, Bodnar wasn’t a traditional candidate for the president’s job because he doesn’t have the academic management experience.

But the selection committee believed his business background could be a big asset as the University works to adjust programs and spending while growing enrollment.

MTN’s Dennis Bragg