By HDN Editorial Board
The Montana University System lost a champion, leader and friend Tuesday with the passing of Montana State University-Bozeman President Mike Malone.
Malone, 59, served nine years in the role of president of Montana's largest university and was the first MSU president to preside not only over the original land-grant campus in Bozeman, but also campuses in Billings, Great Falls and here in Havre. In total, Malone's administrative responsibilities spanned nearly 20,000 students and more than 3,600 faculty and staff.
The pain of Malone's passing was felt deeply here in Havre and throughout the campus at Montana State University-Northern. Chancellor Mike Rao said he considered Malone to be a close personal friend even though their working relationship had only just begun.
Malone, a great historian who wrote nine books and 20 articles during his distinguished career, was working on his 10th book which was to look at the Western American history from 1930. His best known work, "Montana: A History of Two Centuries," was coauthored with close friend and colleague the late Richard Roeder.
But even more important than writing about history was his love of teaching history. More than 4,000 students passed through his Western history courses first at Texas A&M in 1967 and then at MSU-Bozeman, where he was the head of the Department of History and Philosophy from 1976 to 1979.
Success forced him from the front of classrooms to the office of dean of graduate studies at MSU in 1979; to vice president for academic affairs in 1988 and finally to president after a national search revealed MSU's home-grown success.
Malone's shining moments came through as MSU president. He spearheaded an aggressive fund-raising campaign, helped the Montana State University units receive legislative funding, and helped build MSU's research enterprise from $13 million to approximately $50 million through 1999.
We know the Montana University State family will continue to thrive during these trying times simply because Malone had fought hard to make the university family stronger.
After all is said at Monday's funeral, Malone will be greatly missed by not only his immediate family, but by all of the members of the Montana University System family.