Every year, the University of Montana Foundation's Excellence Fund Drive asks Missoula area businesses to help out with expenses for various programs not covered by tuition and state funding.

This year, the Excellence Fund raised $125,000 thanks to almost 200 business and individual donors. 2012 chair of the business drive Shannon Lukes, who works at Missoula First Security Bank, was impressed with the generosity of all the donors and the dedication of the many volunteers who helped raise the funds.

Shannon Lukes

photo by Peter Christian

Missoula attorney Tom Boone remembers the early days of the Excellence Fund, when he and several other prominent business leaders responded to a request by the university to help repair the tenuous relationship between the university and the business community that existed at the time.

Boone says once the ball got rolling, the Excellence Fund Drives have grown due to the impact of the university on local businesses, and the relationship between the two entities.

Attorney Tom Boone

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom is grateful for the flexibility the Excellence Fund provides to help students with travel expenses and educational opportunities that scholarships and state funds cannot be used for. Engstrom expressed his thanks to the volunteers and business leaders who made the 2012 drive a success.

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom

President and Mrs. Engstrom hosted the Excellence Fund celebration at their home on Gerald Avenue Tuesday evening.