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In retirement, profs Danley and Welch give to Northern's future


Last updated 8/18/2021 at 7:28am

Courtesy photo

Retired Montana State University-Northern agriculture professors emeritus William "Bill" Danley, left, and Thomas "Tom" Welch pose for a photograph. The two have started The Danley-Welch Agriculture Endowment endowment with the Montana State University-Northern Alumni Foundation and are inviting people to add to the endowment, which will provide scholarships for agriculture students at Northern.

Press release

Montana State University-Northern is celebrating a new endowment supporting future Northern agriculture students from donors who know that department well.

Retired professors, William "Bill" Danley and Thomas "Tom" Welch are collaborating to fund a $10,000 endowment and are encouraging others to contribute to it. The Danley-Welch Agriculture Endowment will support a new scholarship specifically for agriculture students at Northern, a discipline close to the hearts of Danley and Welch who, combined, have 84 years of teaching experience in Northern's agriculture department.

"We taught together for 37 years," Danley said.

"We worked together serving students as an agricultural team longer than any other program professors on campus," Welch added. "It is only fitting that this 'Bill and Tom agriculture team' format continue in the form of an endowment for Northern agriculture students."

Danley and Welch also served as advisors to the Professional Agricultural Students Club since its inception in 1982. Both retired professors are passionate about agriculture and believe that agriculture education is a key component to the continued success of the food and fiber industry.

Danley, who retired in 2018 and was granted professor emeritus status in 2020, started teaching agriculture classes at Northern in 1973.

After 45 years at Northern, Danley said, he wanted to start this endowment, "because of PAS Club and the students financial struggle to afford to go to events, I was inspired to give."

He said that these relationships he made with PAS Club members taught him the importance of giving back.

Welch, who retired in 2020, began his teaching career at Northern in 1981. This past March, the Montana Board of Regents voted unanimously to also grant emeritus status to him.

When asked why he made the decision to create this endowment, Welch said, "I was an agricultural educator at MSU-Northern for almost four decades, and during that time I was able to meet, work with and help create learning environments for so many outstanding young men and women. Many of them came to Northern from the land, had wonderful work ethics and shared my passion for agriculture.

"This endowment will help fund Northern agriculture students, with these same admirable traits, gain a college education, grow as individuals and contribute to our agriculture industry," he added.

Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel, who is also a long-time colleague of Danley and Welch, said he is extremely appreciative of this gift.

"It is special to have them give back and especially for it to be in the form of an on-going endowment that will forever help students," he said.

Shantel Cronk, executive director of the MSU-Northern Foundation, said, "Agriculture is the backbone of north-central Montana and this generous gift will help foster continued financial support for those individuals seeking a higher education in that area."

Danley and Welch said they are enjoying retirement, continue to live in Havre and think fondly back to their time as teachers.

"Teaching is a giving profession," Welch said, "and I hope this endowment, like teaching, will help future Northern agriculture students meet their education goals."

When asked about the legacy they leave behind, Danley said, "I never thought about it as leaving a legacy, I just want to give back to the students."

"My Northern legacy, if I have one, is that part of my agriculture knowledge and passion is shared and carried by hundreds of former Northern students that I was fortunate enough to know and participate in learning environments with," Welch said.

"After so many decades of generous work at Northern, it's a testament to their devotion for the agriculture department and students creating this endowment" Cronk said. "Endowments ensure stability for the university for years to come."

Danley and Welch said they are encouraging all past students and people in the agriculture industry to help support the endowment, which will give back to agriculture students at Northern in perpetuity.

People who would like to give a tax-deductible gift to Northern to help grow the Danley - Welch Agriculture Endowment can contact the MSU-Northern Foundation office at 406-265-3711 or email [email protected] .


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