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Montana Tech of the University of Montana
Motto De Re Metallica
Literal translation: “Of The Metals”. This was the title of a book published by Georg Agricola (aka Georg Bauer) in 1556.
Established 1889
Type Public
Endowment $20.8 million[1]
Chancellor Franklin Gilmore
Students 2660 (2009–10)[2]
Postgraduates 134 (2009–10)[2]
Location Butte, Montana, United States
Colors Green and Copper
Nickname Orediggers
Mascot Charlie Oredigger
Athletics The Orediggers
Affiliations University of Montana System

Montana Tech of the University of Montana (commonly known as Montana Tech, and formerly known as Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, Montana State School of Mines, and Montana School of Mines) is a public university located in Butte, Montana. It was founded in 1893 as a mining school. Since 1994, Montana Tech has been affiliated with the University of Montana.

Montana Tech offers programs under the auspices of four Colleges and Schools. The School of Mines and Engineering offers courses in engineering and industrial hygiene, the College of Letters Sciences and Professional Studies offers liberal arts curricula, the College of Technology offers occupational training and education, and the Graduate School offers post-graduate education complementary with the undergraduate programs. The 2009-10 enrollment was 2794 students, which included 2660 undergraduate and 134 graduate students.



On February 22, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed the Enabling Act by which Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington were admitted to the Union. This act was part of a series of federal acts that established and funded land grant colleges, and an expansion of the original Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862. As a result, 100,000 acres (400 km²) of public land were appropriated to Montana to establish and maintain a state school of mines. On February 17, 1893, the Montana Legislature established the Montana State School of Mines as a corporation, and subsequently (March 7, 1895) created the State School of Mines Commission to prepare plans and specifications for construction of the school. The Acts of 1895 also created a School of Mines Building Fund, which received the proceeds from the Congressional land grant. Finally, in 1896, construction began; and in 1900, the Montana State School of Mines opened.

Charles Horace Clapp (1883-1935) was president of the school from 1918 to 1921. Clapp was initially hired as head of the geology department in 1916. As president he successfully lobbied to create the state bureau of mines and was named director of the new bureau. While in Butte, Clapp earned a strong regional reputation for promoting professional and economic development. He left the School of Mines to become president of the State University of Montana at Missoula—a position he held until his death. Because of chronic underfunding of the state university system (a condition that still prevails today), Clapp faced enormous administrative problems.

In 1943, the Montana School of Mines was designated a Naval College and a V-12 Navy program was started, which took over the campus. The V-12 program guaranteed an officer replacement pool for the Navy and Marines and gave many young men the opportunity to attend college. The program was disbanded at the end of World War II, having trained 478 students.

In 1945, school president Francis Thompson embarked on a program to modernize the Montana School of Mines’ curricula. To this end he set up a reconversion committee to determine what direction the college should take in the post-war years.

Until that point, students elected a major and could not take classes outside of it. The reconversion allowed students to take more technical electives and gave them more options in the humanities and social sciences. The reconversion committee marked a significant milestone in the history of the Montana School of Mines, setting the stage for the creation of non-engineering programs on campus. In addition to the curriculum changes, the school also elected to change its name in 1965 to the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, a move which boosted enrollment from 331 in 1965 to 998 in 1971. Over time, this long and clumsy name was shortened to simply Montana Tech.

The Montana University System was restructured in 1994. Montana Tech become affiliated with the University of Montana-Missoula and the name officially changed to Montana Tech of The University of Montana. Additionally the College of Technology (formerly Butte Vo-Tech) came under the administrative umbrella of Montana Tech.


Montana Tech of The University of Montana has evolved into a dynamic institution composed of two academic divisions, a college of technology, and the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. The School of Mines grants BS and MS engineering degrees in fields such as geophysical, geological, environmental, electrical, welding, metallurgy, petroleum, and mining. The College of Letters, Sciences, and Professional Studies is more broad-based, with degrees ranging from chemistry to liberal studies to technical communication.


Montana Tech, though small, is respected for its challenging curriculum and hard-working students. The school’s emphasis is primarily in engineering and science, although there are also programs in technical communication, business, nursing, and liberal arts. Most of the campus' programs boast a near 100% placement rate for graduates. Montana Tech has been nationally recognized as the 4th best value in higher education (Ranked in 2005 Edition of America's Best Universities and Colleges), it is also among the Princeton Review’s best colleges in the country.

As a small engineering institution, Montana Tech also has a significant liberal arts college. Classes are small, students know their faculty from freshman year on, and there are excellent undergraduate opportunities in research and service learning.

Montana Tech Professional and Technical Communications Degree Program - There is a BS degree in Professional & Technical Communication and an MS degree in Technical Communication. Both programs emphasize both communication technical information and using technology to communicate. And both integrate traditional written communication with multimedia communication and the cultural context within which communication occurs.

Chemistry & Geochemistry Department - The Chemistry Degree (Professional Option and Environmental Option) are certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). A large fraction of students participates in undergraduate research. Graduates find career positions in laboratories or research positions and are prepared for many other career opportunites in the expansive field of chemistry. Montana Tech graduate have been very successful gaining admittance to professional health schools in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and other health science programs.

PreProfessional Health Studies - Students may prepare for entry into professional schools of health (including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatry, chiropractic, etc.) by completing a Bachelor's degree at Montana Tech, provided the necessary prerequisite courses are included. Students can complete the first two years at Montana Tech for many pharmacy programs, including the program at the University of Montana. In all cases, students are urged to work closely with the appropriate advisor at Montana Tech, to consult catalogs, and whenever possible, advisors at the institution where they wish to apply.


Montana Tech is in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains and there are superb 4-season recreational opportunities. Students can enjoy fly fishing for trout on the Big Hole River ("Montana's Last Best River"), a day on the slopes at the nearby Discovery Ski Area, backcountry and cross-country skiing just 15 minutes away, rock climbing along Pipestone Pass, backpacking in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, or elk hunting on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.


  • Kelvin Sampson, former coach of the Indiana University Hoosiers, had been head coach at Montana Tech from 1981 through 1985. Despite his storied off-court issues, Sampson has an open invitation to return to Butte to coach again. Montana Tech named its new basketball court after Sampson. Athletic director Joe McClafferty said Sampson is a "great man" who did a tremendous amount for the school."
  • The Oredigger Football Team is coached by Bob Green. Bob has coached the Digger football program for over 20 years, and has taken the Mining City school to national NAIA prominence. Green is world-renowned for his comical, off-the-wall statements he says with frequency, often called "Greenisms". Such quotes include "lost like Chinese arthimetic", or "I've been coaching since the dead sea was only sick!".


  • 25 Statutes at Large, 676; 1 Supp. Rev. St. U.S. pp. 645, 648.
  • Laws of 1893; Section 1572, Political Code of Montana
  • Laws of 1895; Sections 1591, 1594, 1595, 1600, Political Code of Montana
  • McGlynn, Terrence D. Montana Tech 1893-1984. Butte, MT: Montana Tech Foundation, 1984.
  • Munday, Pat. Biographical entry for C.H. Clapp (1883-1935), geologist and Montana School of Mines President. American National Biography, ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, 24 vols. (Oxford University Press: 1999): v. 4, pp. 900–1.

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