Mike McDonough

Head shot of Mike McDonoughBio: McDonough is retired from a career in telecommunications. He held executive level positions at GTE (now part of Verizon), including Senior Vice President-Marketing and Sales, President-Business Markets, and Executive Vice President-Marketing and Sales for GTE Wireless.

His volunteer service to the University of Montana includes Board Chair of the University of Montana Alumni Association, Board Chair and Investment Committee Chair for the University of Montana Foundation, and member of several Presidential advisory committees. He and his wife, Mary, are currently members of the Advisory Board for the UM Flathead Lake Biological Research Station.

He, and Mary, are from Glendive, Montana. He earned a Bachelors degree in Economics from UM, and a PH.D. in Economics from Texas A&M University. They reside in Dallas, Texas, and are proud of their two children and six grandchildren.

Thank you: I thank the University and the UM Foundation for this award. After learning about the award, and after reviewing the list of previous recipients, I am honored.

Like many awards given to an individual, this reward is really a group or team award. It is the result of much good work by many talented and dedicated people, all of whom have a strong interest in helping the University of Montana and its students. I am very fortunate because these people recognized that, if they were working with me, and if progress was to be made, they would have to provide a great deal of help. Because so much help was needed, the list of people I need to thank is very long.

First is my wife, Mary, who participated directly in many of the activities, is a strong advocate for UM, and is always supportive of my volunteer service. I thank my friend, Chuck Bultmann, and Larry Gianchetta, for facilitating my re-engagement with the University many years ago. I have worked with many terrific volunteers, too many to mention all by name, but there are some who I worked with most directly, had the most impact on me, and deserve credit for any positive results we were able to achieve for the University or affiliated support organizations. In rough order of chronological engagement: Bob Seim, Joe Whittinghill, Marcia Holland, Mickey Sogard, Jack Russell, Joe Whittinghill again, Mary Olson, Mick Seidl, Mark Burnham and Suzanne Peterson. All have been a pleasure to work with, and I learned from them all. I would also like to offer a special thanks to Warren and Betsy Wilcox, volunteers who set the standard for service to this University. Because of their example, that bar is very high.

Volunteers can definitely have an impact, but much of the work, and probably the most important work, is done by leaders and employees of UM and the support organizations such as the Alumni Association and UM Foundation. I have had the privilege to work with many of them. Again, there are too many to list individually, but I offer a special thanks to those I worked with most closely. In rough order of engagement: Bill Johnston, Julie Schwartz, Jodi Moreau, Susan Cuff, Laura Brehm, Keith Kuhn, Ellen Calnan, President George Dennison, Shane Giese, Cindi Williams, Jamie Stanton, David Gantt and Tom Bansack. Finally, a special thanks to President Royce Engstrom and Mary Engstrom. Their strong leadership, dedication and constant efforts to ensure a good working relationship had a very positive impact on me and the University. Thanks again to everyone for making my association with the University so rewarding.

I want to make a brief comment about the importance of the work that we do for the University. My father went to law school with generous support from taxpayers in the form of the GI Bill. When I attended UM, I was able to pay for school with the income from a summer job, because Montana taxpayers paid the bulk of the costs. Mary and I and our family have directly benefitted from that public support. I also think society benefits from the investment in higher education. The situation has now changed, and for many reasons, public support for higher education is not at the level it was. Therefore, it is incumbent on those of us who benefitted from the public investment that was made in the past to help ensure that higher education remains widely accessible and affordable, and that educational institutions continue a tradition of excellence. The rate of return remains high, for the students, and for society. Thank you.