History and Mission


The University of Montana Alumni Association was founded in 1901 by Eloise Knowles, an 1898 alumna and drawing instructor on the UM faculty.  UMAA's purpose was simply to support the fledgling University in any way it could. The Association's purpose remains the same today, but its role, along with its alumni base, has grown vastly larger over the years.

In 1919 the Association sponsored UM's first Homecoming. Under Andy Cogswell, director of UMAA from 1946 through 1956, the Association became not only more active but better organized. One of Cogswell's innovations was the two-tiered board of delegates system, a structure that remains today.

George Sarsfield 1950, UMAA president in the mid-sixties, incorporated the Association, giving it non-profit status and clearing the way for alumni to raise substantial amounts of money for student scholarships. During the 1981 Legislature, alumni across the state formed a network coordinated by the Alumni Office staff. The network lobbied on behalf of the University system resulting in the legislative appropriation of significantly increased funds.

As the University of Montana grows and changes, so shall its Alumni Association, ever striving to meet the needs of UM and its alumni.


The University of Montana Alumni Association nurtures lifelong relationships between alumni and the University, the University with alumni and alumni with each other. The Association serves alumni worldwide, and all alumni are members.

Portrait photo of Eloise Knowles

Eloise Knowles

Portrait photo of Andy Cogswell

Andy Cogswell

Portrait photo of George Sarsfield

George Sarsfield