UM president-appointee meets with faculty, students


MISSOULA,Mont. - The 18th president of the University of Montana, Seth Bodnar, and his wife, Chelsea Elander, came to Missoula for a meet-and-greet held Thursday with faculty, students and community members.

Bodnar answered questions at the Payne Family Native American Center, where he told the media he wants to make this university one of the great universities in the Mountain West.

"I want to make this a great place for students to be, and the way you do that is spending time with them in their environment," said Bodnar. "I want to know what they do on a day-to-day basis, what their needs are, and what their ideas are. To get that you only get that perspective by spending time with them."

Bodnar is honored to be taking the role of president at the University of Montana, but does realize there are challenges he will face. He believes the university will prosper under his leadership.

"I want to be the premier flagship university in the Mountain West. As I've said, I'm going to challenge all of us and say 'Why not us? What do we need to do that?' We are going to aim for excellence, we're going to aim for that big goal, and yes there are challenges, but I really want to focus on what is great about this place and amplify the opportunities," said Bodnar.

Bodnar and his wife will be taking part in Homecoming festivities, ranging from a 5k run to lighting the M on Mount Sentinel.

Pending Board of Regents approval in November, Bodnar will assume the UM presidency on Jan. 1.