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Sharon Anderson to Receive UMW Alumni Distinguished Service Award

April 12, 2024

The University of Montana Western’s 127th Annual Commencement Ceremony, to be held on Saturday, May 4th, will honor Sharon Anderson with the University’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

Sharon Anderson receives Alumni Distinguished Service Award

Anderson was born and raised in Dillon, Montana and attended Montana Western from 1970-1973, where she pursued a degree in Elementary Education with an English endorsement. Later, she earned a Master’s Degree in Education and obtained a principal endorsement. Anderson dedicated thirty-six years to teaching at the Dillon Elementary School District, instructing students across all grade levels, from first to eighth grade. Alongside her teaching career, her passion for coaching led her to coach track and cross country at both the middle school and at Beaverhead County High School. Following her retirement from District #10, Anderson served as the Principal of Hamilton Middle School in 2010 and briefly held the position of Principal at Divide Rural School.

Throughout her 50-year career in education, Anderson also contributed as an adjunct professor at Montana Western, served as an elementary school board trustee, and played a pivotal role in observing and evaluating UMW students during Rural Fridays. She remains active as a substitute teacher at BCHS and supervises student teachers from UMW. She enjoys judging the Rural School Science Fair, track meets, and spelling bees.

Anderson is an active member of numerous organizations, including the Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary Teachers’ Sorority and the Southwest Montana Retired Educators Association. For fourteen years, she dedicated her time as the American Legion Auxiliary Montana Girls State Director. Additionally, she held positions as assistant director and head counselor at Camp Kippewa for girls in Maine. Beyond her involvement in these organizations, Anderson is a committed community supporter, serving on the Executive Board for Beaverhead United Way. She has been instrumental in organizing the Dillon Community Thanksgiving Dinner, where she also served as a chairperson. Anderson has significantly contributed to the community through her volunteer services, earning her the title of “Volunteer of the Year” in 2023.

“Montana Western is proud to honor Sharon Anderson with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Through her commitment to education and community service, Sharon has left a lasting and meaningful impact on those around her,” said Montana Western Foundation and Alumni Director, Roxanne Engellant.

The Montana Western Alumni Office will host a luncheon in the Lewis and Clark Room in Mathews Hall on Friday, May 3 at 11:30 a.m. to honor Anderson and the Montana Western Classes of 1999 and 1974. Tickets can be purchased for $30 by calling 406-683-7306 or by visiting The Commencement Ceremony will begin the following day at 10 a.m. in the Straugh Gymnasium on the University of Montana Western campus.