Pair of $1M donations to new American Indian Hall at MSU complete fundraising goal

Posted at 3:34 PM, Dec 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 18:39:25-05

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Plans for the new American Indian Hall on the Montana State University will move forward after a pair of generous donations.

Jim and Chris Scott of Billings and Terry and Pat Payne of Missoula each donated $1 million which completed the fundraising goal.

“(For) 13 years we’ve had this promise out there for the Native American community that we would have this hall on campus for our Native American community,” said Michael Becker. “That we would have this hall on campus for our Native American students. We’re finally able to provide that to them. This is something that’s not only going to change the student experience at MSU for generations to come, but also help build a stronger Montana for all.”

“One of the challenges that our students face when they come to MSU is that for some, it’s a long way from home,” said Walter Fleming, Department Head of Native American Studies at MSU. “Our goal is to create a home for them here, but not necessarily that they’re going away to school, but they’re coming home to a place where their ancestors first lived. Our hope is they’ll find the American Indian Hall a place they can feel comfortable with and share and come back to their homelands.”

The entire project comes with a price tag of $20 million and has included numerous donations over the years. The all will include classrooms, the Department of Native American Studies and an auditorium. The university says the project should be complete by 2021.

The university hopes to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the hall in March 2019.

Story by Patrice Parks – MTN News