Montana State University Local Executive Board Minutes, 1893-1970

Overview of the Collection

Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.). Local Executive Board.
Montana State University Local Executive Board Minutes
1893-1970 (inclusive)
2 linear feet
Collection Number
The Montana State University Local Executive Board Minutes consist of bound volumes detailing the board's minutes and financial reports. Topics covered include personnel matters, buildings and grounds maintenance, curriculum discussions, management of the experiment station farm, and financial management data.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
Telephone: 4069944242
Fax: 4069942851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Montana State University, Bozeman, was founded in 1893 as the "Agricultural College of the State of Montana" by means of a statute signed into law by Governor John E. Rickards. The law stipulated that the institution was to be governed by a Local Executive Board of Education, a group of prominent citizens also appointed by the Governor which included Bozeman residents Peter Koch, Lester S. Willson, and Walter Cooper. This first board had tremendous power to set policy, establish a budget, and issue faculty contracts, recognizing only general direction from the State Board of Education. As a result, the Local Executive Board hired the first president, Augustus M. Ryon, and practiced oversight of all the college's finances. The Local Executive Board demonstrated the reach of their power within the first year of the college's existence by pressuring Ryon to resign as president and replacing him with James Reid. This act was followed by another purge of the faculty within a few years, this time permanently severing Ryon's connection with the college.

Over the next seventy years the name of the college changed, from the "Agricultural College of the State of Montana" to the "Montana State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts," or simply shortened to the "Montana Agricultural College." In 1965 the name was permanently changed to "Montana State University." During this same time the Local Executive Board gradually reduced their oversight role and became more of an advisory board to the university's president, giving up their role in financial affairs by 1953. This gradual change was underscored in 1972 when the new state constitution allowed for the formation of the State Board of Regents of Higher Education and an office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. The Regents assumed many of the duties of the original Local Executive Board and extended its oversight to all campuses in the Montana University System. In 2001 the duties of the System's various Local Executive Boards were confirmed by state law as "consultative and advisory service to the CEO of the institution as well as other duties as may be duly specified and communicated to them by, or on behalf of, the Board, CEO or the Commissioner of Higher Education."

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The minutes of the Local Executive Board of Montana State University trace its history from the first meetings in 1893 to those held in 1970. As might be expected, the earliest minutes are a more extensive record of the Board's deliberations (which concerned a wider variety of governance issues) than later documents. Personnel matters, buildings and grounds maintenance, curriculum discussions, management of the experiment station farm, and financial management data introduced during frequent meetings are recorded in detail within the first volume encompassing the years 1893-1902. The second volume, 1902-1907, also records more detail of meetings, but toward the end of the volume financial reports dominate. The next four volumes, covering the years 1907 to the first half of 1917, are almost entirely financial reports. When the narrative portion of the minutes resume during the latter half of 1917 in volume 6, the information demonstrates the shift from active governance to more advisory role taking place during less frequent meetings. The volumes have been chronologically arranged, with laid in materials removed and placed in appropriately labeled folders in box 2.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2009 January 21

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Volume
1 1 1983 March-1902 March
1 2 1902 April-1907 November
1 3 1907 December-1910 December
1 4 1911 January-1913 April
1 5 1913 May-1915 May
1 6 1915 June-1917 February
2 7 1917 April-1927 November
2 8 1928 February-1945 May
2 9 1945 June-1965 March
2 10 1965 April-1970 March
2 1 Laid in Documents from Volume 1
2 2 Laid in Documents from Volume 2
2 3 Laid in Documents from Volume 4
2 4 Laid in Documents from Volume 10

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Corporate Names

  • Montana Agricultural College (Bozeman, Mont.)-Local Executive Board
  • Montana State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts-Local
  • Montana State College-Local Executive Board
  • Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.)-Administration
  • State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (Montana)-Local