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University History Research Guide: Presidents

A guide to the history of The University of Montana-Missoula.

Overview of UM Presidents

University of Montana president's logo superimposed of a photo of Main Hall

Seventeen presidents have overseen the University of Montana-Missoula since 1895. Seth Bodnar is the University's 18th president. View the list of past presidents for dates of their administration. To learn more about past leaders of UM, check out the resources list below.

Online Resources

Office of the President Website
The Office of the President’s website has information on the current president and his staff. It also has a page devoted to the history of all UM’s former presidents complete with photos and a biography of each one.


UM Report of the President
The University of Montana Report of the President began as an internal report submitted annually to the Montana State Board of Education detailing the organization, accomplishments and challenges of the previous academic year. The report was compiled of smaller reports submitted by each of the academic departments, as well as other campus offices such as Building and Grounds, Residence Life, and the Registrar. These are available online via ScholarWorks, and physical copies are available in Archives and Special Collections.


Mary Brennan Clapp Manuscript: Narrative of the State University of Montana, 1893-1935


In her unpublished manuscript “Narrative of Montana State University, 1893-1935” Mary Brennan Clapp (1884-1966), wife of University president Charles H. Clapp (1883-1935), covers the administrations of the University of Montana’s first five presidents. This draft includes numerous handwritten notes. This is available online via ScholarWorks, and the entire physical collection is available to view in Archives and Special Collections.


Oral Histories
Several oral history interviews with former UM presidents are available online via ScholarWorks.

In the Archives

Physical copies of the materials listed below are available in the Mansfield Library's Archives and Special Collections.

Manuscript Collections
Click on the links listed below to view a guide to an archival collection available in Archives and Special Collections. Each of these collections contains information about the Office of the President

Presidential Timeline

Oscar J. Craig  Oscar J. Craig
 July 1895 - October 1908
Clyde A. Duniway  Clyde A. Duniway
 October 1908 - September 1912
Edwin B. Craighead  Edwin B. Craighead
 September 1912 - October 1915
Edward O. Sisson  Edward O. Sisson
 September 1917 - August 1921
Charles H. Clapp  Charles H. Clapp 
 September 1921 - October 1935

George F. Simmons  George F. Simmons
 January 1936 - April 1941
Ernest O. Melby  Ernest O. Melby
 October 1941 - August 1945
James A. McCain  James A. McCain
 September 1945 - July 1950
Carl McFarland  Carl McFarland
 March 1951 - May 1958
Harry K. Newburn  Harry K. Newburn
 July 1959 - September 1963
Robert Johns  Robert Johns
 September 1963 - August 1966
Robert T. Pantzer  Robert T. Pantzer
 December 1966 - June 1974
Richard C. Bowers  Richard C. Bowers
 July 1974 - June 1981

Neil S. Bucklew  Neil S. Bucklew
 July 1981 - July 1986
James V. Koch  James V. Koch
 September 1986 - June 1990
George M. Dennison  George M. Dennison
 August 1990 - October 2010
Royce Engstrom  Royce Engstrom
 November 2010 - December 2016
Seth Bodnar  Seth Bodnar
 December 2016 - Present