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Montana Western Foundation establishes history scholarship.

February 11, 2016

The scholarship will benefit 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 help ensure that generations of Montana Western students have access to high quality educational experiences.”  

James Kovatch approached Montana Western about creating a scholarship after watching a television ad for Experience One (X1). Kovatch 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. 

A fifth generation Montanan and lifelong history buff, Kovatch was particularly interested in creating a scholarship for history students.

“It’s important to involve young people in perpetuating Montana 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.”   

Kovatch is the descendant of Montana pioneers who arrived in the state in 1864. He belongs to an exclusive group called the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers Society (SDMP). 

The organization was founded in Helena in 1884 and focuses on early pioneers who lived and worked in what was then Montana Territory. To belong to the SDMP members must be able to trace their bloodlines to pioneers who arrived in Montana before Dec. 31, 1868. 

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 fellow SDMP member. She also serves as the historian for the SDMP. Her relatives settled in Bannack, Montana Territory in 1862.   

Kovatch recently retired from his job at Montana State University where he worked for 27 years.  

For information about scholarships please visit the Montana Western Foundation website.