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Foundation selects history scholarship recipient.

May 23, 2016

KovatchandCody webFrom left to right, Jeannete Larson, Cody Ottman and James Kovatch.

University of Montana Western junior Cody Ottman was recently selected as the first recipient of the James P. Kovatch and the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers Scholarship.

The scholarship benefits Montana Western history education students.

“The Kovatch scholarship is a generous gift toward the academic pursuits of our history education students,” Foundation Director Roxanne Engellant said. “This scholarship will ensure that students like Cody have access to high quality educational experiences.”

Kovatch approached Montana Western about creating a scholarship after watching a television ad for Experience One (X1). He was intrigued by Montana Western’s unique approach to learning in which students take a single class at a time for 18 days before moving on to the next.

Kovatch’s longtime friend and Montana Western alumnus Jeanette Larson helped direct him to the UMW Foundation to inquire about setting up a scholarship. Larson graduated from then Western Montana College with a degree in elementary education in 1966 and is a Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers (SDMP) member along with Kovatch. She also serves as the SDMP’s historian.

The SDMP is an exclusive organization featuring members who can verify their ancestors settled in what was then Montana Territory prior to Dec. 31, 1868.

As a lifelong history buff, Kovatch was particularly interested in creating a scholarship for history students. His own Montana ancestors can be traced back to 1864.

“It’s important to involve young people in perpetuating Montana’s history,” Kovatch said. “I’m pleased to donate toward the education of tomorrow’s historians and those who will preserve the stories of our rich history.”

Ottman, a 2013 graduate of Helena High School, is studying history at Montana Western and plans to become a high school history teacher and coach.

Ottman has been on the dean’s list since he came to Montana Western in 2013. He participates in extracurricular activities including intramural basketball, Catholic Campus Ministry and he is a member of the Montana Officials Association, which allows him to officiate high school football games.

“I look forward to student teaching in Spring 2017 and then graduating with a degree in history,” Ottman said. ”The generous scholarship started by Mr. Kovatch will help make my goal of becoming a Montana high school history teacher possible and for that I am grateful.”