May 29-30, 2003
ITEM 119-2001-R0503 Authorization to Confer the Title of Dean Emeritus of the Museum of the Rockies upon Marilyn F. Wessel; Montana State University-Bozeman
THAT: Upon the occasion of the retirement of Marilyn F. Wessel from the Museum of the Rockies, the Board of Regents wishes to express its appreciation for her service to the University, the Montana University System, and the people of the State of Montana.
EXPLANATION: Dean Marilyn Wessel received her B.S. degree in journalism from Iowa State University and her M.P.A. from MSU-Bozeman. She attended the Harvard University Institute for Education Management and held a Senior Congressional Internship awarded by the U.S. Congress. Prior to her affiliation with Montana State University, Bozeman, Dean Wessel served as a newspaper reporter and as Director of Information for the National 4-H Foundation. She also served as a freelance communications consultant and editor for the Cooperative Extension Service at MSU-Bozeman. As news director for KBMN Radio she presented news and public affairs programs. From 1980-1990, she worked as special assistant to the president at MSU-Bozeman and then served from 1990-1997 as the Director of University Relations. In her role as special assistant to the president, she played a vital role in bringing public broadcasting to this state. Since 1997, she has served as Dean and Director of the Museum of the Rockies. Based on her distinguished career in university and public service, she has earned the rank of Dean Emeritus.
Highlights of her distinguished career include the following: She has served on the board of directors of the Helena Branch of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. In addition to serving as president of the Bozeman Rotary and as a senior associate with the Burton K. Wheeler Center for Public Policy, she has served on the board of directors of the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce and was elected president of the Montana Ambassadors after receiving an invitation from the governor to serve as a member of that body. Over the years, she has compiled an enviable record of service to the campus, the state, and the nation.
In addition to her service record, Dean Wessel has co-authored one book on the history of the 4-H club movement and edited two other books. She has written numerous articles on the media and produced a dozen television and radio programs. Many of these focus on public affairs and on enhancing the public perception of the role of higher education in addressing issues of concern to Montanans.
Especially noteworthy in Dean Wessel’s executive career at the Museum of the Rockies was her commitment to better integrating the Museum with the University. She played a key role in developing the Museum Studies Minor for undergraduates and in partnering with the Department of History and Philosophy in securing a major US Department of Education grant to deepen the knowledge of Bozeman-area teachers about American history.
For all of these reasons, Dean Wessel merits emeritus status. Her contributions to the university and to the people of the state will have a lasting impact.