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Highlands College Advisory Board Named


Outstanding List of Community Leaders Selected

Dr. Donald M. Blackketter, Montana Tech Chancellor, and Dr. John M. Garic, Highlands College Dean, announced the appointment of sixteen area and community leaders to a newly-formed Highlands College Advisory Board.

The Board will advise Tech and Highlands on ways to keep the 2-year college closely attuned to the needs of business, industry, students and the community; and in ensuring that the programs and activities of Highlands College are high quality and productive, according to the campus leaders.

“We are pleased that this exceptional group of area leaders is willing to work with Montana Tech and Highlands College to improve our already stellar educational offerings,” Dr. Blackketter said.  “Connecting better with Butte and the surrounding area is an on-going objective of our schools, and this outstanding group will help us achieve that goal.”

“Good advice from great people – we couldn’t ask for more,” Dr. Garic added.  “With eyes on the horizon and ears to the ground, our new advisory board members will insure that Highlands College is connected well to the areas and populations we strive to serve.”

Rick Griffith, former long-time manager of the Bert Mooney Airport, was named to chair the advisory board, which totals 25 members, including representatives from within Tech and Highlands.

Also named to the board from the community/area were:

  • Pete Akey, Butte – Glacier Bank
  • Anne Dobney, Anaconda – Director, Anaconda Adult Learning Center
  • Mike Hall, Butte – Butte Job Service Disabled Veterans Outreach Program
  • Pam Haxby-Cote, Butte – Blackstone Launchpad Montana Director
  • Jessica Hoff, Butte Community Health Center Director
  • Nick Kujawa, Butte – Hennessy Market/Sears Lofts, Developer
  • Penny McElroy, Butte – Human Resources Expert, Retired, NorthWestern
  • Lee Miller, Butte – Director Butte-Silver Bow Public Library
  • Maria Porchevina, Butte Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Leo Prigge, Butte – CPA - Prigge & Otten PC
  • Mick Ringsak, Butte - Region VIII US Small Business Administration Director (retired)
  • Bert Robins, Butte/Seattle – Seacast/Montana Precision Products
  • Marilyn Ross, Twin Bridges – Former Madison County Commissioner
  • Karen Sullivan, Butte Silverbow Health Department Director
  • Mark Sweeney, Philipsburg/Helena – Sweeney Real Estate & Consultant

Evan Barrett, Highlands College Director of Business & Community Outreach, will coordinate the activities of the Board on behalf of Tech/Highlands.

Sitting on the Advisory Board from within Highlands College are:

  • Linda Granger, Faculty Representative
  • Franklin Montesdeoca, Student Representative


Serving on the Advisory Board from the administration of Montana Tech, Highlands College and the Montana University System are:

  • Dr. Don Blackketter, Tech Chancellor
  • Dr. Doug Abbott, Tech Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs & Provost
  • Dr. John Garic, Highlands College Dean
  • Maggie Peterson, Tech Vice Chancellor of Finance & Administration
  • Paul Beatty, Tech Dean of Students
  • Evan Barrett, Highlands Director of Business & Community Outreach
  • Dr. John Cech, Deputy Commissioner of Two-Year Education, Montana University System

According to Barrett, the Advisory Board will meet at least twice a year at Highlands and will not only take up issues outlined by the college, but will address issues that emerge from the community.  “This is not a policy-making body, but is structured to provide advice to policy-makers about the two-year school that is now integrated with Montana Tech.  Advisory Board members are community eyes and ears for the College administration,” Barrett said.  “They will help guide Highlands as it strives to provide excellence in delivering educational opportunities to all who seek to advance their lives through higher education at our two-year part of Montana Tech.”

 For any further information about this issue or any issue pertaining to Montana Tech or Highlands College, please contact Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828 or Dr. John M. Garic at 406-496-3714.