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Academics

Alum arranges gift to Montana Western Foundation.

UMW alum Arlie Albeck.

An avid proponent of public education, alumnus Arlie Wirth Albeck made sure to arrange a planned gift to the University of Montana Western Foundation for elementary education scholarships.  

Albeck grew up poor in rural eastern Washington and joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 17. Using his veterans benefits, he graduated from Montana Teachers’ College (now Montana Western) with a degree in elementary education. Arlie’s teaching career spanned 38 years, ranging from a Hutterite community to over 30 years at Adams Elementary School in Seattle. In addition to his teaching degree, Arlie held Master of Education and Master of Science degrees. He spent summers as a VISTA volunteer with migrant children, and as an actor in Seattle Children’s Theatre. 

Arlie was known to be compassionate. When he learned that his neighbors had dropped their aging dog off at the Humane Society, he adopted the dog the next day. He was also known for his great sense of humor. Like so many outstanding teachers, he was a life-long learner. Among his broad areas of interest were handcrafted log cabin construction without nails, perspective drawing, and archaeological digs.  

The March 9, 2015 edition of the Seattle Times published four letters submitted by readers on the subject of effective teaching. One started, “My best teacher ever was Arlie Albeck, my fourth-grade teacher in the 1960s. He made us laugh while we learned.  His heart was big, his kindness flowed throughout the classroom. Up until that year, I had been quite shy and somewhat reserved. When I left fourth grade, I felt capable and accomplished as a learner. On Teacher Appreciation Day last year I thought about finding [him] to thank him. Sadly, I found he had died the year before.”  

Arlie remembered the University of Montana Western in his will because education opens doors. It prepared him for a lifetime of work worth doing. His gift now opens doors for other UMW students who will, in turn, open doors for many children, some of whom will remember them with gratitude 50 years later.

— Montana Western —

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Alumni Profile: Marcus Williams

Marcus Williams, a '06 graduate of UMW and his wife Erika flying over Oregon wine country.

Marcus Williams came to Montana Western to play football and major in business administration.

Little did he know that transferring from the College of the Redwoods would launch him on the career of a lifetime.  

Originally from California, Williams came to UMW just as the university was transitioning from traditional scheduling to the block system known as Experience One (X1).

He credits X1 with making him a better student and allowing him the flexibility and time to not only play football, but serve as an residence assistant, work as a deejay on KDWG radio, manage concessions for athletic events and hold down a job in dining services.  

“X1 was a natural fit for me and enabled me to accomplish a lot more during my time in school,” Williams, a 2006 graduate, said. “Being able to focus on a single class at a time and learn through experience gave me the focus and determination to begin a successful career in athlete management.”  

During his time as a football player, Williams realized he had an interest in athletic scouting as a career. Former vice chancellor Tom Yahraes helped connect Williams with former UMW head football coach Bob Beers who had gone on to NFL scouting. With their recommendations, Williams applied and was accepted into an internship at Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW) in Portland, Ore. He was later hired as the assistant director of football operations for SMWW in 2006 where he worked for eight years. 

Williams is currently the president of his own firm, 1st Class Athletes, a national full-service athlete management and marketing company he started in Portland, Ore.

The firm serves an exclusive client base through a combination of representation and personalized marketing strategies tailored to the needs of each client. 

— Montana Western —

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Montana Western student receives national award.

Montana Western junior Brandon Piazzola

The University of Montana Western student Brandon Piazzola recently received a national award for his efforts toward raising awareness for student health.

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Montana Western students visit Rocky Mountain Laboratories.

Ken Pekoc assists student Desiree Dhanens with putting on a Level 4 lab suit

The University of Montana Western biology club recently sponsored a trip to Hamilton, Mont. to tour the National Institute of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML).

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UMW class produces mining and geology map

Rob Thomas' structural geology class checks data while preparing a map of the Argenta area.

University of Montana Western students from professor Rob Thomas’ structural geology class recently spent part of their block mapping the Argenta quadrangle in Beaverhead County for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology.

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"On the Rocks" series presents: Travels to the Russian far east.

Andrea Easter-Pilcher and Brian Pilcher

Former University of Montana Western staffers will present in the latest installment of the “On the Rocks” series on Nov. 30, 2015.

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Montana Western senior recognized for volunteer service.

Montana Western senior Shayla Wood was recently  named the “Volunteer of the Game” during a Montana Western home football game.

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UMW and Dillon Middle School launch collaborative effort.

Dillon Middle School teachers and University of Montana Western education faculty recently completed the first session of a new five-part professional development project.

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Acclaimed ceramics artists visit Montana Western.

Visiting ceramics artists Jeni Hansen-Gard and Kyungmin Park recently lectured and gave demonstrations to a Montana Western introductory ceramics class.

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UMW displays new banners on campus featuring students, faculty and staff.

New banners recently went up around the Montana Western campus which include the experiences and thoughts of current and former students, faculty and staff about Experience One and UMW.

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