BOZEMAN — Seventy-six individuals associated with Montana State University will receive awards during ceremonies scheduled as part of MSU’s 2021 homecoming. The ceremonies, hosted by individual MSU colleges and units, are free and open to the public.

The college awards honor individuals in the following categories: alumni achievement, young alumni, entrepreneurial alumni, honorary alumni, distinguished staff, distinguished faculty, early career faculty, honorary Extension professional and valued MSU partner. The Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering’s alumni achievement awardees will also be inducted into the college’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

The alumni engagement awards given by the MSU Alumni Foundation honor individuals in the following categories: advocate of the year, alumni engagement advisory board member of the year, board of governor of the year, chapter of the year, chapter volunteer of the year, retiree volunteer of the year and social media contributor of the year.

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Verna Billedeaux, MSU Extension Blackfeet Reservation Agent - Photo Courtesy of V. Billedeaux

Among those to be honored is  MSU Extension Blackfeet Reservation Agent Verna Billedeaux, who will receive the MSU Extension Distinguished Faculty Award, given in recognition of meritorious service Montana State University in areas of teaching, research, leadership, achievement, mentoring, and outreach.

Verna was born and raised in Babb, and is a 1991 graduate of MSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.  She has been the MSU Extension Service Agent for the Blackfeet Reservation for 26 years. Her focus is on Beef production and management, youth and adult loan preparation and financial management and youth development: 4-H, and Jr Ag Program has assisted many youths and adults prepare and obtains funds to purchase cattle for their own business development

When Verna was student at MSU, she often wondered how her classmates already knew how to judge animals, had great public speaking skills, and socialized with others well; when she asked, they all said because of 4-H. It was then she vowed to go home and start a club, 30 years later she has had the honor to be a part of so many young people’s lives through 4-H on the Blackfeet Reservation where there are now (8) 4-H clubsinvolving well over 100 youth, and her husband is the club leader of the Rocky Ridge Riders 4-H Club. 4-H volunteers  host the annual Charging Home Stampede 4-H Fair and Auction.

Verna serves as the Secretary for the Rocky Mountain Region Intertribal Agriculture Council, member of the Montana NRCS Tribal Conservation Issues Subcommittee, Blackfeet Natural Resources Conservation District, and Secretary for the Blackfeet Nation Stock Growers Association.

She and her husband, Book St. Goddard, own a cow/calf operation south of Browning, MT and raise Simmental/Angus cattle, horses and produce alfalfa hay.

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The college and unit awards ceremonies will be hosted Thursday, Oct. 7, and Friday, Oct. 8, at the following times and locations:

Thursday, Oct. 7:

Friday, Oct. 8:

Award recipients are listed below by unit, award and name:

College of Agriculture

  • Alumni achievement award: Eric Tilleman
  • Honorary alumni award: Mark Quinn
  • Distinguished staff award: Jim Berg
  • Distinguished faculty award: Bob Peterson

College of Arts and Architecture

  • Alumni achievement award: Jerry Locati
  • Honorary alumni award: Dave Grusin
  • Honorary alumni award: George McClure
  • Young alumni award: Jason Baide
  • Young alumni award: Sasha Neulinger
  • Distinguished staff award: Jeanette Goodwin
  • Distinguished staff award: Victoria Miller
  • Distinguished faculty award: Meta Newhouse

College of Education, Health and Human Development

  • Alumni achievement award: Kelly Boswell
  • Honorary alumni award: Gianna Vanata
  • Distinguished staff award: Debra Redburn
  • Distinguished staff award: Micki MacGregor
  • Distinguished faculty award: Elisabeth Swanson

College of Letters and Science

  • Alumni achievement award: Betsy Gaines Quammen
  • Honorary alumni award: Terry Payne
  • Distinguished staff award: Lisa Perry
  • Distinguished staff award: Jody Sanford
  • Distinguished faculty award: Franke Wilmer

College of Nursing

  • Alumni achievement award: Pat (Wamsley) Wilson
  • Honorary alumni award: Jeri Bends
  • Distinguished staff award: Toni Rule
  • Distinguished faculty award: Laura S. Larsson
  • Valued MSU partner award: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez
  • Valued MSU partner award: Anne Cantrell
  • Valued MSU partner award: Kelly Gorham

Honors College

  • Alumni achievement award: Joseph Thiel
  • Honorary alumni award: Lori Rosolowsky
  • Honorary alumni award: Mark Rosolowsky
  • Distinguished staff award: Diane Donnelly
  • Distinguished faculty award: Jeffrey Heys

Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Alumni achievement award: Nicole (Acton) Jones
  • Alumni achievement award: Richard "Rick" Reisig
  • Honorary alumni award: Kirsten Hilleman
  • Honorary alumni award: Greg Slamowitz
  • Young alumni award: Tara Petre
  • Entrepreneurial award: Will Price
  • Distinguished staff award: Suzanne Hepburn
  • Distinguished faculty award: Susan W. Dana

MSU Alumni Foundation

  • Advocate of the year: Allison Hupp
  • Alumni engagement advisory board member of the year: Ginny Swan Sullivan
  • Board of Governor of the year: Greg Collins
  • Chapter of the year: MSU Mile High Chapter in Denver, Colorado (Cody Christman, Dale Zachary, Dan Dunbar, Kate Oswald, Kyra Flatow, Mark Spiroff, Marla Schroeder, Melanie Rowlison, Nicole Kindt, Roberta Kronebusch, Ryan Pitsch, Seth Wright and Traci Shanahan Williams)
  • Chapter volunteer of the year: Arielle Stoness, Houston chapter chair
  • Retiree volunteer of the year: Jerome "Jerry" Coffey
  • Social media contributor of the year: Bill Freese
  • Social media contributor of the year: Rob Maher

MSU Extension

  • Distinguished staff award: Jennifer Saunders
  • Honorary extension professional: Jamie Doggett
  • Distinguished faculty award: Verna Billedeaux
  • Early career faculty award: Michelle Grocke

Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering

  • Alumni achievement award: Alanna Woods
  • Alumni achievement award: Bill Law
  • Alumni achievement award: Christopher “Chris” Lofgren
  • Alumni achievement award: Christoph Lambert
  • Alumni achievement award: Dave Crawford
  • Alumni achievement award: Joan French Adams
  • Honorary alumni award: Larry Johnson
  • Distinguished staff award: Renee Hecox
  • Distinguished staff award: Shelley Thomas
  • Distinguished faculty award: John Hanton