|Montana School of Mines|
|Motto||De re metallica (Latin)|
Motto in English
|Of the metals[a]|
|Montana University System|
|Endowment||$39.9 million (2020)|
|Students||2,428 (fall 2017)|
|Postgraduates||250 (fall 2017)|
|Colors||Green & copper|
Montana Technological University, popularly known as Montana Tech, is a public university in Butte, Montana. Founded in 1900 as the Montana State School of Mines, the university became affiliated with the University of Montana in 1994. After undergoing several names changes, in 2017 the Montana University System Board of Regents voted to designate Montana Tech as part of Special Focus Four-Year Universities, the only such designation in the Montana University System. To recognize this new designation and the greater independence with it, the name was officially changed in 2018 from Montana Tech of the University of Montana to Montana Technological University. Montana Tech's focus is on engineering, applied and health science.
In fall 2017, Montana Tech had nearly 2,700 students, 13 campus buildings and offers 45 undergraduate degrees along with 15 minors, 11 certification degrees, and 10 pre-professional career programs. Montana Tech also offers 21 graduate degrees and has Ph.D. programs in Materials Science and Engineering and Earth Science and Engineering.
The Enabling Act of 1889 which brought Montana into the Union, allotted land for the creation of a school of mines as one of the four original Montana University System universities. In 1893 the Montana Legislature provided funding to establish the school in Butte. The cornerstone of Main Hall was laid in 1896, and the university opened its doors in 1900 as the Montana State School of Mines. The first student was a woman, Clara Clark of Butte, and Nathan R. Leonard acted as the first president. Despite enthusiastic local support, even offers of free land for construction, the early history of the school was fraught with poor funding and accusations of fraud, but with the help of former governor John E. Rickards, the school was opened.
In 1919 the Montana Legislature established the Montana State Bureau of Mines and Metallurgy on the campus in keeping with Montana Tech as a school focusing on the development of minerals and industry. Charles H. Clapp of the mining department served as the first president of the Bureau.
The school was renamed the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology in 1965. The school begins moving beyond purely engineering and applied sciences, adding social science and liberal arts options. Alumni Coliseum opens on campus.
The university became affiliated with the University of Montana in 1994 with a reorganization of the Montana University System. The name was changed to Montana Tech of the University of Montana. The Butte Vocational-Technical Center was put under Montana Tech administration as the College of Technology. In 1998 Frank Gilmore becomes chancellor.
In 2010 the Natural Resource Building (NRB) opened which now accommodates the Bureau of Mines and the Petroleum Engineering Department. In 2011 Don Blackketter becomes chancellor. In 2012 the College of Technology becomes Highlands College, and Frank and Ann Gilmore University Relations Center (URC) building is opened on campus. The first Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering began in 2014 in partnership with University of Montana and Montana State University. The Nursing Department began offering a full bachelor's degree in 2015. In 2016 a full Bachelor's of Mechanical Engineering program was added, and the Natural Resource Research Center opens on campus including a new nano research lab, and additional lab space for existing departments.
In 2017 the Montana Board of Regents designated Montana Tech as part of Special Focus Four-Year Universities, the only such designation in the Montana University System, in recognition of Tech's focus on engineering, applied science and health science. This change gives greater independence by reporting directly to the Board of Regents and handling its own finances instead of through the University of Montana. To recognize this, in the summer of 2018, the school's name was changed to Montana Technological University. Les Cook became chancellor in 2019.
Montana Technological University offers approximately 45 undergraduate degrees along with over 15 minors, 11 certification degrees, and 10 pre-professional career programs. Montana Tech also offers 13 graduate degrees including two Ph.D. programs in Materials Science and Engineering and Earth Science and Engineering.
Montana Tech consists of four colleges: the School of Mines & Engineering; the College of Letters, Sciences and Professional Studies; Highlands College; and the Graduate School.
Main article: Montana Tech Orediggers football
The athletic teams of Montana Tech are nicknamed the Orediggers and are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Frontier Conference. Men's sports include basketball (Head Coach Adam Hiatt), football (Head Coach Kyle Samson), cross country (Head Coach Zach Kughn) and golf (Head Coach Sean Ryan), while women's sports include basketball (Head Coach Carly Sanon), golf (Head Coach Sean Ryan), cross country (Head Coach Zach Kughn) and volleyball (Head Coach Brian Solomon).
Orediggers Football won Frontier Conference Championship in ’36, ’39, ’70, ’72, ’79, ’83, ’92, ’96, ’97, ’04, '12, ’15, and ’16. They were runner-ups in the 1996 NAIA championship under coach Bob Green.
Head coach Adam Hiatt and the Orediggers Men’s Basketball won the 2021-22 Frontier Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2021-22. They set school records for most overall wins (27-7), conference wins (13-2), first NAIA National Tournament win, first NAIA national ranking (#14), and four consecutive winning seasons. Sindou Diallo was named 1st Team all-conference and 2nd Team all-American. Caleb Bellach was named 1st Team all-conference and Honorable Mention all-American. Taylor England was named 2nd Team all-conference, marking the 4th consecutive year of all-conference honors. Derrius Collins was the conference Defensive Player of the Year and Keeley Bake the conference 6th Man of the Year. The Orediggers won Frontier Conference Regular Season Championships in '83, '84, '85, '88, '91, '93, '22 and Conference Tournament Championships in ‘83, ‘84, ‘85, ‘88, ‘93, ‘98, ‘99, and ‘22.
Montana Tech began participating in NAIA Track and Field team started in spring 2021 with Zach Kughn as head coach. Becca Richtman won the 3000m steeplechase at the 2021 NAIA Outdoor Championship. At the 2022 NAIA Indoor Championship, Richtman won the 1 mile and 3000m races, and was named meet MVP. The Orediggers finished 6th overall.
Sean Benson won Frontier Conference Men's Golf Championship in 2019. Sean Ramsbacher won the Men's Conference Championship in 2021, no tournament was held in 2020.
In 2014, Montana Tech was ranked sixth in the nation for graduates earning the highest starting salaries, according to the Washington Post. The following year, The Wall Street Journal ranked Montana Tech ninth in the nation for best public universities for return on investment.
Montana Tech has had 1 Fulbright Scholar, 2 Rhodes Scholar finalists, 9 Goldwater Scholars and 5 Goldwater honorable mentions.