Montana Tech Establishes Endowed Professorship with Million Dollar Gift

Montana Tech announced today a $1 million gift to the university from David and Sherry Lesar. The gift will establish an endowed professorship at Montana Tech, and will be named the Stan & Joyce Lesar Professorship after Dave’s parents. Dave is the chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton Company, one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry.

The Lesars have a strong connection to Montana as Stan and his brother immigrated to East Helena, MT, as young men, at the end of World War II after being forced out of what was then communist Yugoslavia. The Stan & Joyce Lesar Professorship will be utilized by Montana Tech to encourage innovation and excellence in teaching and research by providing an up to 3-year award to a Montana Tech faculty member(s). The professorship recipient(s) will receive the award through a competitive process, with the final selection being made by Montana Tech’s Chancellor Don Blackketter. The award will be based annually on a fixed percentage of the endowment’s value.

“Dave and Sherry Lesar are extraordinary people who understand that hard work, passion, and dedication are required to advance any cause,” explained Joe McClafferty, president of the Montana Tech Foundation. “Their generous gift will allow our top-notch faculty to innovate and share that knowledge and practical application with our students.”

The Stan & Joyce Lesar Professorship will be used to support programming and research designed to enhance our ability to develop, and responsibly use our natural resources, and to enhance and ensure an environment that is supportive of continued natural resource development. The professorship could be shared by more than one faculty member as a means of promoting collaboration among faculty members and across disciplines.

“My parents taught us that if you study hard, work hard, take risks and treat people fairly then good things will come to you,” said Mr. Lesar. “I’ve seen first-hand the tremendous impact Montana Tech graduates are making in the workforce thanks to the same work ethics – especially at Halliburton. Sherry and I are pleased we can help establish the Stan & Joyce Professorship to support the professors who build their students’ skillset and help them achieve their dreams.”

"The Lesar's gift is the largest personal endowment ever established at Montana Tech in support of our faculty," noted Chancellor Blackketter. “Mr. Lesar has long-recognized the impact Montana Tech has in his industry, and we are thrilled to receive the Lesar family’s personal support. This unbelievable gift in honor of Mr. Lesar’s parents will impact our institution in perpetuity.”