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Homecoming '97



Rockie Mountain Memories

Coming home to 'Zoola

New additions to the Alumni Hall of Fame recall the best of their school days at the University of Montana


I have three lives. You're holding in your hands the focus of one of those lives. I am a staff reporter covering city politics (or "The Beat" as we affectionately like to call it) for this here alternative newspaper. Another life is that of a part-time bartender in one of Missoula's better known eating establishments. But my third life is by far the most demanding and costly -- both financially and emotionally: I am a full-time graduate student in the journalism program at the University of Montana.

In the process of trying to juggle these three lives, which I usually do about as well as someone juggling BBs while wearing boxing gloves, I all too often lose my perspective. I stop looking at the bigger picture. I forget that so many others before me have lived the piecemeal, seat-of-the-pants existence of a student.

In an attempt to give perspective and remind those of us who need it that there is a purpose to what we're doing, the Independent adds a group of alumni to our Hall of Fame every year just before homecoming. We look for those who have succeeded in life -- not just professionally or financially -- but those who give back to their communities as well.

As in years past, the list overlaps a bit with the university's own Distinguished Alumni Award winners. One of those being recognized this year, Microsoft exec John Connors, was instrumental in orchestrating plans for the year-old Gallagher Business School building.

Others included in this year's Hall of Fame will probably sound familiar to readers, even for those who have never stepped foot on campus. Daryl Gadbow's byline appears regularly in the Missoulian. Julie Schwartz's gig with the Missoula Downtown Association takes her far beyond the organization's office on Main Street -- Schwartz has a feel for the downtown that rivals anyone's. And Geoff Badenoch, as the director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, is in the business of encouraging urban renewal -- a task that puts him at the center of one of the city's fundamental struggles: growth management.

With a mix of seriousness and lighthearted humor that we all need in our lives, the Independent put three questions to these alums:

  1. What do you remember most about your time at the University of Montana?
  2. What life skill did you learn at UM that have best helped you to succeed?
  3. What is your silliest anecdote from your time at UM?

DARYL GADBOW is an outdoors feature writer and general assignment reporter for the Missoulian. He graduated in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Independent: What do you remember most about your time at UM?

Gadbow: I kind of went to U of M in shifts, and when I started at the university I had an athletics scholarship in track. For the first few years that I went to school, I was studying as an English literature major, which I enjoyed. But I was having more fun probably being gone with the track team and taking trips and making friendships and enjoying the camaraderie of the people I was competing with -- having fun with them. I remember that whole time very fondly.

Then the next stage or shift in my college education came later when I came back to school and changed my major to journalism and took pretty much straight journalism classes for the next couple of years. I think one of the things I remember most from that time was being scared and intimidated by Nathaniel Blumberg, a journalism professor. But I was also inspired by him.

What skills did you learn at the UM?

Of course I had some fine professors at the School of Journalism who gave me not only a solid foundation in the fundamentals of journalism, but inspired me to go on in the profession with a sense of ideals of how important it could be to our society.

I think one of the most important things that I gained from my experience at U of M was the challenge to think critically and keep and open mind about change and new ideas. I think that in a lot of ways, that's what journalism is all about and that's the way I try to approach my job. In addition, or I guess as much as the value of the academic preparations that I received at U of M, was the opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of creativity and discovery and learning that was there and meet interesting people from all over the country. Those things, probably as much as anything, were important for my personal growth at U of M.


That was the hardest question of all. I was there for a long time. I had a lot of fun. A lot of interesting things. It showed me the potential power of students and power of the university as an institution. It was around 1970 and we had some of the Vietnam War protests and the Kent State protests; just the huge number of people that took part and were so absorbed in it, emotionally wrapped up in it, was the most impressive thing that I saw at my time at U of M.

JOHN CONNORS is the Vice-President Chief Information Office at Microsoft. He graduated from UM in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Accounting.

Independent: What do you remember most clearly about your time at the University of Montana?

Connors: Probably the single biggest impression from my days at UM was developing a world view. I was raised in Miles City and when I went to the U, I met people from all over the world and had exposure to many new and different points of view. I became interested in topics and subjects that to this day are invaluable in working in a multinational/multicultural company like Microsoft.

What life skills did you learn at UM that have best helped you to succeed?

In high school I didn't study very hard but was able to get decent grades. At UM I quickly learned how competitive the world was and how important preparation, competitiveness and diligence were to success. Additionally, I learned the importance and value of effective written and oral communication skills. Both of these skills are fundamental to success, regardless of the field or vocation one chooses to pursue.

What is your silliest anecdote from your time at UM?

Myself and two good friends did some serious partying and late one night we took a road trip to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs over Lolo Pass. We arrived at the hot springs and they were full of partying hippies. We joined in the party and early the next morning as we went to leave we found nearly all our clothes were gone. Fortunately, we did not lose our keys but lost most everything else. It was a cold run back to the car and a long drive back to Missoula. I bet those hippies are in the Top Hat right now!

JULIE SCHWARTZ is the executive director of the Missoula Downtown Association. She graduated in 1995 with a Master's degree in Public Administration.

Independent: What are your most vivid memories of your time at UM?

Schwartz: Probably the people I went through the program with, which was a graduate program, the public administration department. Basically you went through with the same group of people who became your friends, a lot of them. That and being in the same classroom for two years. Wasn't a lot of rotation.

What life skills did you learn at UM?

I'd say it helped polish up and refresh my research skills -- where to find information -- and also public speaking, presenting your position ideas and your research in front of your peers. I'm going to have to say that I took a semester and went to Holland and that obviously was very valuable to me -- life skills, self-sufficiency, going where no one knows you at all, not to mention a foreign country. That was a great shot in the arm to get out of my comfort zone and pursue the academics at the same time.

So what would you say as your anecdote?

As one of our projects, we took on the city of Hamilton. It was basically an examination of their form of government and what we would do to make it better. We took a big field trip down to Hamilton and ended up doing a tour of Hamilton's bars with the then-chief of administration. It was a great time. Learned more doing that than five hours in the classroom. That was a fun memory. And the presentation was great. That's called hands-on learning.

GEOFF BADENOCH is the director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in political science, and brought home a master's in public administration in 1982.

Independent: So what do you remember most clearly about your time there?

Badenoch: I remember most clearly about my time was that the university, for the time I was there, was my home. The campus is a beautiful campus and the people who were closest to me lived there. It's where I had focused most of my responsibility.

What life skills did you learn there that have helped you to succeed?

I think the most important life skills I learned from Dr. Henry Bugbee, who was the first professor I had at the university. He taught me to look at life and see richness there. And that richness includes being able to understand that there are lots of different points of view, which has been very important for me in my work for the public -- understanding the underlying quality of humanity.

[Bugbee] was the head of the intensive humanities program and came out of the philosophy department. It was a program where people were trying to rethink what college education was all about. There was a lot of experimentation going on about no grades, spending time every week in a tutorial, spending time one-one-one with a professor to talk about your work.

There was a program called Round River that was based on writings by Aldo Leopold and some of the other great environmental thinkers. The people in that program, we used to tease them that that really wasn't college -- you guys are going out camping a lot and building snow caves and learning about environmental degradation. You're getting a degree in camping and skiing. It was like, 'I've got to go read Plato and you guys are reading Silent Spring.'

What's your anecdote?

When I was a freshman at my very first quarter at the university I took a course in art; it was like bonehead art or something. One of our assignments was that we had to create an environmental sculpture, and what that means is that to appreciate it and to observe it, you actually had to be able to get inside the sculpture. For a period of six weeks, I cultivated provocative graffiti in the stalls of the men's room of my dorm. People talked about provocative questions and would develop these dialogues. No one would sign their real names because nobody wanted to get in trouble so everybody had developed a persona or alias. It was kind of like a chat room that you see on the Internet today.

One of the requirements of this assignment was that we had to have an opening and the art faculty and all of my classmates came to the dorm to see my environmental piece.

I had about 30 people wandering through the stalls of the men's room reading this dialogue. This was the first quarter of the year and the stalls were all brand new clean when we got there and by the time that this opening was, the whole thing was covered with dialogues and stories and poems and observations and criticisms. It was hilarious.

Daryl Gadbow says he learned to respect the power
of the press as a journalism student under
Nathaniel Blumberg. Photo by Jeff Powers.

John Connors credits his success at Microsoft
with skills he picked upat UM. Photo
courtesy of UM Alumni Association.

Julie Schwartz says she values the hands-on experience
she got at UM. Photo by Jeff Powers.

Geoff Badenoch has fond memories of the experimental
programs popular at UM in the 1970s. Photo by Jeff Powers.

Griz players build strength to match their hearts

Unproven team displays the potential Missoula fans crave from footballers


I know I'm not alone in this slight, edgy unease I feel. I know how Grizzly fans work. It doesn't matter how many points are in the home column or how many third-rate teams have been exposed in the purifying fire of the maroon defense. Doubts prevail, teeth-chattering and second-guessing persist.

Certainly, some of the folk assembled for the first two games at the Blessed Cathedral of Saints Washington and Grizzly seemed less than suffused with the Faith. Even as the Griz rolled up solid wins against the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin and the Gallopin' Gaels of St. Mary's, plenty of carping could be heard in the stands.

The litany: Back-up quarterback Darren Rowell wasn't confident enough; the defense looked sickly (most of them were, literally, down with the flu); the Griz seemed vulnerable to the pass, and they lacked spark, especially in the stultifying second half against St. Mary's; there were too many penalties and sloppy plays; the offensive line wasn't giving Rowell enough time to get set.

If you've engaged in any of this pointless bitching and moaning (and I know I have), then brothers and sisters, let me pull your coat to some cold hard facts. There are plenty of reasons for confidence heading into this weekend's Homecoming '97 match-up with the Sac State Hornets.

Long-time Griz fans remember an era when two wins in a row were to be prized like fist-sized chunks of the True Cross, so complaining at this point sounds flat-out weak. What are we, Notre Dame? You can keep your Touchdown Jesus; I'll take the Silvertips I saw on the field the last two weekends.

The Griz have passed every test they've faced. When All-America QB Brian Ah Yat went down wounded in the first quarter of the SFA game, Rowell came off the bench for his first meaningful playing time. Some glitches were to be expected, and he did look hesitant and a little confused at first. But the coolly efficient first-half work-over of St. Mary's saw Rowell in much more comfortable form, picking receivers, especially Josh Paffhausen, out of crowds of Gaels. If Ah Yat returns this week as expected, fine and good, but if not, I think the Grizzers are in good hands.

When Stephen F. Austin went into the locker room at half time with a one-touchdown lead, Lumberjack players had the gall to taunt Montana fans. The Griz responded to this display of bad manners with an awesome defensive effort in the second half. Although a lot of the starters, including heart-and-soul linebacker Jason Crebo, were laboring under a nasty virus, they held the line time and again, giving the offense plenty of chances to click.

Afterwards, SFA coach John Pearce reportedly complained that the Lumberjacks lost, not because the Griz straight-up kicked their collective ass, but because the grass on the field was too long.

Anyway, the point being, the defense, especially the linebacker corps, has carried the colors with pride. They got a little sloppy in the second half of the St. Mary's game, but the Gaels had long since been shown up as pretenders to the throne. That second half was irrelevant; if you want to talk to someone about what the Griz D can really do when the chips are down, you might call Coach Pearce down in Texas. That's (409) 468-3502. He's dying to take your calls.

Beyond Crebo, plenty of hard men have come forward for a moment in the sun. Marcus Wilson and Adam Boomer are the heavy hitters of the future, and Rylan Jollymore gets special commendation for staring down two St. Mary's players who were looking for trouble after a kickoff last week.

On the other side of the ball, Paffhausen, an ex-quarterback from Butte, has been tearing it up, setting a receiving record last week even though he, too, has been sick as hell. Running back Josh Branen has proven himself the exact kind of player you'd want on your fantasy team; if he can't juke free of a defender, he just puts his head down and devastates him. With the ball in hand, he always fights for extra yardage, and he's worth watching even when he blocks. From my seat in the south end zone, I saw him bury a taller, brawnier SFA defender alive while protecting Rowell. That's the spirit.

So hush up your whining. This year's team remains largely untested, but it deserves high marks so far. Sac State, the Grizzers' first Big Sky Conference opponent, managed only a single win last season, so don't expect any backs-to-the-wall heroics this week.

The Griz will need to hold that strength in reserve for the border war with Wyoming on Oct. 4. Montana has never beaten Wyoming and the two schools haven't played since Kennedy was president. That away game will provide the first real indication of the team's true form. We've already seen plenty of its heart.

It's not time to make reservations for the National Championship in Chattanooga just yet, but if you'll let yourself just sit back and enjoy, the Griz will keep you happy. Their road to the league championship and national honors won't be as smooth as last year's steamroller, it's true. But what if, just maybe, that adversity makes them even better? It's a possibility worth waiting on before passing judgment.

Griz players practice Tuesday in preparation for
Saturday's homecoming contest with Sacramento State.
Photo by Jeff Powers.

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