UMW News BureauA gift by the youngest person to earn an elementary teaching certificate at the Montana State Normal School (now the University of Montana Western) will be ensuring the past 115 years of Montana Western yearbooks, student newspapers and college catalogs will be digitally archived. UMW NEWS BUREAU [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="178" caption="Photo from the Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Special Collection Research Center, Morris Library)."][/caption] A gift by the youngest person to earn an elementary teaching certificate at the Montana State Normal School (now the University of Montana Western) will be ensuring the past 115 years of Montana Western yearbooks, student newspapers and college catalogs will be digitally archived. An Anaconda, Mont. native, Sliepcevich died in Norman, Okla. on March 3, 2008. After her death the Sliepcevich estate donated $120,000 to the Montana Western Foundation. Of that gift, $69,000 went to the general alumni fund while the remaining $51,000 will be used by the Lucy Carson Library to digitize the library's collection of yearbooks, student newspapers and college catalogs for the past 115 years. “We are so grateful for this generous gift Ms. Sliepcevich has left to the Alumni Office and library,” Montana Western Foundation Executive Director said. “She will truly leave a lasting legacy at Montana Western.” Elena M. Sliepcevich graduated from the Montana State Normal School in 1936 at the age of 17. Sliepcevich’s early ambition in Montana heralded a lifetime of passion for education and the many accomplishments she would experience as she went on to become a national leader in health education. After earning her certificate, she went on to graduate from the University of Idaho in 1939 and receive a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1949. Sliepcevich became the first woman to be awarded the D.P.E. in Interdisciplinary Studies by Springfield College in 1955. She went on to serve as the Ohio State University Professor and Coordinator of Health Education from 1956 to 1961 in addition to her contributions as a visiting professor at the University of Florida, the University of California in Los Angeles, the University of Oregon and Colorado State College. In 1961, Sliepcevich became the director of the School Health Education Study, which sought to improve public health and education. She served that post until 1972. Sliepcevich went on to become a Southern Illinois University Carondale (SIUC) Professor of Health Education in 1972 where she taught until her retirement in 1992. Lucy Carson Library Director Mike Schulz said Sliepcevich’s donation will have a profound impact on the library. “This is the biggest alumni donation the library has received,” Schulz explained. “Many alumni and their relatives come to campus every year and ask to see items that related to their or their family member's time at Montana Western. Making these records digital and accessible will allow people with a Montana Western connection or interest to travel through time and visit virtually for the first time or reconnect with their memories. We could not have accomplished the breadth of this project without her most generous bequest.” To read more about Elena Sliepcevich, please visit the Elena M. Sliepcevich Centre for Health Education Studies.