Originally founded in 1900 as the Montana State School of Mines, Montana Tech’s funding and land came from the Enabling Act of 1889, which admitted Montana to the Union and allocated 100,000 acres of public land to establish a state school of mines.
The School of Mines opened its doors with only one building, Main Hall, holding 21 students. The School of Mines offered only two degrees: mining engineering and electrical engineering.
Today, Montana Tech has nearly 3,000 students, 13 campus buildings and offers 73 undergraduate degrees along with 18 minors, 14 certification degrees, and 10 pre-professional career programs. Montana Tech also offers 21 graduate degrees and a Ph.D. in Materials Science.
Montana Tech has evolved into a dynamic institution composed of three colleges, one school, and the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Montana Tech is known around the country and world as a rigorous but rewarding university and consistently ranks among the best public institutions in the nation for graduate return on investment.
The exceptional job placement rate of graduates and the success stories of alumni, combined with the low cost of attendance in a highly personalized environment, attest to both quality and value. Stressing a deep focus on achievement, Montana Tech provides the opportunity for students to be IN DEMAMD.
- 1897: The School of Mines Building (Main Hall) becomes the first building constructed on campus. Today, Main Hall houses the Electrical Engineering and Liberal Studies departments.
- 1900: Montana Tech opens its doors as the Montana State School of Mines.
- 1919: A bill enacted by the Legislative Assembly of Montana in 1919 created the Montana State Bureau of Mines and Metallurgy. The Bureau had two main functions: first, developing the mineral resources of the state; second, improving the safety and efficiency of mining related operations. Today, the Bureau is the principal source of earth science information for the citizens of Montana.
- 1943: Montana School of Mines becomes a Naval College and offers the V-12 program, which guarantees an officer replacement program for the Navy and Marines during World War II.
- 1962: Lighting of the “M” on Big Butte.
- 1965: The Montana School of Mines becomes the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology. Shortly after WWII ended, acting School of Mines president Francis Thompson, embarked on a program destined to modernize the Montana School of Mines’ curricula. The School of Mines added humanities and social sciences options to the technical electives.
- 1965: Montana Tech opens Alumni Coliseum, which was first intended to be used for football games and American Legion baseball games. The Butte Copper Kings, a professional baseball team, also used the field during their years playing in Butte. The stadium was renovated in 2007 and has been used for Oredigger football since. The facility now features new stadium seating, a Jumbo-Tron scoreboard, and newly installed field turf on Bob Green Field.
- 1994: The Montana University System is restructured, and Montana Tech becomes affiliated with the University of Montana, becoming Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Additionally, the College of Technology (formerly Butte Vocational-Technical Center, came under the administrative umbrella of Montana Tech.
- 2010: The Natural Resources Building (NRB) is opened. The NRB houses Montana Tech's largest department, Petroleum Engineering, as well as the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. The NRB features state of the art labs that allow students to work with industry standard and specialty equipment, including a Fracture Conductivity Measurement System, a Vertical Flow Loop, a Cement Slurry Property Testing Lab, and Fracture Stimulation Equipment. In addition to this equipment, the NRB has two smart labs that allow world-renowned experts to give real-time presentations from anywhere in the world to Tech's students and faculty.
- 2011: Chancellor Frank Gilmore retires after 13 years at Montana Tech. Don Blackketter is hired as the new chancellor.
- 2012: The Frank and Ann Gilmore University Relations Center (URC), is opened. The URC is the first building on campus to be funded entirely with private donations and houses the Montana Tech Foundation, Alumni Affairs, Public Relations, and Career Services.
- 2012: Montana Tech’s two-year campus is renamed Highlands College of Montana Tech.
- 2013: The Montana Board of Regents approves a materials science doctorate for Montana Tech.
- 2014: The Materials Science Ph.D. Program’s first students begin studying at Montana Tech.
- 2015: Montana Tech breaks ground for the newest building on campus, the Natural Resources Research Center (NRRC). The NRRC will provide laboratory space for natural resources and energy undergraduate and graduate education and research on campus. The three-story, approximately 32,000-square foot building will create state-of-the-art laboratories, workspaces and support spaces. The addition includes a petroleum research lab, Nano research lab, energy lab, strengths & materials testing lab, composites & wood testing lab, occupational safety and health lab, campus-wide student project studio area, dedicated equipment and machinery rooms, student support areas, office space, general support space, and unfinished space for future growth.