The MSU Billings Alumni Association recently recognized seven graduates with Outstanding Alumni Awards.
Jerry Anderson is the recipient of the Alumni Merit Medallion, which honors an alumnus or alumna who is dedicated to the advancement of education, exemplified by his or her commitment of professional expertise and/or volunteer service to MSU Billings. Anderson is an Eastern Montana College graduate from the class of 1977. He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, but dedicated his career to business. After graduation, Anderson spent the next 30 years in the financial services industry. Anderson has a long history of community involvement, supporting multiple organizations and participating in events. Beginning in 2010, Anderson served on the MSU Billings Foundation’s board of trustees for six years in continued support of his alma mater.
Carter Mollgaard is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni award, which honors alumni who have distinguished themselves through personal, professional and civic contributions, while bringing a sense of honor, pride and recognition to the university community. Mollgaard worked for several major corporations after graduating from Eastern Montana College in 1976, including Nabisco and Frito-Lay. He and his wife, Betsy, purchased M&C Beverage in Miles City in 1989 and still own the business. Mollgaard currently serves as vice chair on the MSU Billings Foundation’s board of trustees and is a long-time philanthropic supporter of the university. He and Betsy have funded two MSU Billings student scholarships, and given to the Yellowstone Science & Allied Health Building campaign and the annual Wine & Food Festival. In 2018, Mollgaard was recognized by the First Interstate Bank Trust Department with the Platinum Award for M&C Beverage’s outstanding 401K retirement plan for employees.
Krista Montague also received a Distinguished Alumni award. Montague is a native of Hysham and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from MSU Billings. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business administration, Montague was a four-year letter winner on the MSU Billings women’s basketball team. As a senior, she helped MSU Billings reach the West Region Championship — the program’s first Elite Eight appearance in women’s basketball. MSU Billings became the first NCAA institution in Montana to hire a female athletic director when Montague was appointed to the role in 2013. The Billings Gazette recognized Montague in 2016 as one of the area’s best and brightest business professionals with its annual 40 under Forty awards.
Harold Olson is the recipient of the Recognition for Exceptional Achievement, which recognizes the accomplishments of alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in their chosen professions, made positive impacts on their communities, and are involved with MSU Billings. Olson has been an educational professional for 50 years. In 1968, he became a science teacher and coach at Colstrip Public Schools. After earning his master’s degree in counseling from Eastern Montana College in 1971, Olson has dedicated his career to education. He held roles at several Billings middle schools before becoming president of K-12 Billings Catholic Schools in 2004. Olson retired to join MSU Billings as the director of the Dual Enrollment and Montana Career Pathways program in 2015. Under Olson’s leadership, the program has grown to schools in 12 Montana towns, with more than 50 college course sections offered to high school students.
Judy Povilaitis also received the Recognition for Exceptional Achievement award. After 30 years in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Povilaitis returned to Billings in 2010. Povilaitis has spent 39 years preparing students to be lifelong learners. As an educator, she encourages students to focus on their careers early, which is integral to developing a well-educated workforce. Currently, Povilaitis is the executive director of the Student Services Division for Billings Public Schools.
Darwin George also received the Recognition for Exceptional Achievement award. George grew up in Billings and graduated from Eastern Montana College with a degree in business administration in 1984 and works for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate. He was voted Billings’ Best Realtor five times, and received national recognition for sales and realty excellence. George is president of Playhouse Parade and secretary of the MSUB Foundation board of trustees, among other service organization roles.
Trudy Collins is the recipient of the Ronald P. Sexton Award for Professional Commitment, which honors alumni who dedicate their professional lives as employees of MSU Billings. This award is given to an alumnus or alumna who has dedicated 10 or more years to MSU Billings and has significantly contributed to the advancement of the university. Recipients of this award will have emulated Chancellor Sexton’s passionate commitment to access, excellence and student success. Collins is the vice chancellor for administration and finance at Montana State University Billings. In 25 years, Collins progressed in responsibilities from her first position as a cashier in the campus business office. Her experiences have led her to encourage others to develop professionally as an active member of the Western Association of College and University Business Officers. On campus, Collins champions the Yellowjacket spirit. She earned her undergraduate degree at Eastern Montana College in 1988 and returned to complete a master’s degree in 2018. Collins co-chairs the MSUB Jacket Proud: Catch the Buzz employee engagement initiative to encourage campus pride. She has also contributed personal financial support toward scholarships to aid current and future students in achieving their educational goals.