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UM Business School Gets $2 Million Donation

Mark Burnham (L) and Erick Sprunk (Center) announce a $2 million donation to The School of Business Administration along with UM President Royce Engstrom (R), Friday, January 29, 2016 at UM.
Josh Burnham
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Mark Burnham (L) and Erick Sprunk (Center) announce a $2 million donation to The School of Business Administration along with UM President Royce Engstrom (R), Friday, January 29, 2016 at UM.

The University of Montana announced a pair of $1 million private donations today. The gifts will establish the University’s first endowed dean position. It will be in The School of Business Administration.

Eric Sprunk, one of the donors, is a 1986 graduate of the school, and currently chief operating officer at NIKE.

"Our business school has to continue to attract and retain world-class faculty that in turn attracts and educates world-class students," Sprunk said.

President Royce Engstrom says this gift is the first of its kind at UM.

"This will be a trailblazing gift because it is the very first endowed dean's position and it will allow us to attract the high caliber leadership with funding," said Engstrom.

The other $1 million gift came from Mark Burnham, a 1984 graduate of the business school. He’s the director of finance of Hawthorn Retirement Group, a senior housing company, and managing principal of OZ Cap, an advisory firm. He and Sprunk have long been involved as mentors and donors at UM.

Spunk said the donation was motivated by his desire to support the community that supported him.

"I believe my education, and just as importantly, my experience at the university of Montana has been a critical factor in the career success I have been so blessed to have. I know it takes many factors to drive success in a career, but I believe the fundamental element is a first-class education and the support of community in which you develop as a young adult," he said.

Larry Gianchetta, the current dean of The School of Business Administration retires June 30. The school is in the process of recruiting a new dean and expects to have the position filled by July 1.

MTPR's Josh Burnham is not related to Mark Burnham.

Josh Burnham is MTPR's digital editor. He works as an editor on the news team and as a content strategist managing the station's website, podcasts, email newsletters and social media.
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