MSU Alum Leaves Millions to School


Montana State University announced on Thursday that the late Bill Wurst, a 1959 alumnus in electrical engineering, has left $4 million to the MSU College of Engineering as a gift from his estate. The gift will be used as matching funds for the university’s planned Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center. Through a bequest from his estate, Bill Wurst designated $4 million to be directed to the greatest needs of the College of Engineering. Wurst had first shared that MSU would be a benefactor of a portion of his estate in 2011 during a conversation about his philanthropic goals and estate planning with MSU Alumni Foundation Senior Director of Development Jackie Sather.

When Bill Wurst passed away last year, Edith and his children worked with the Alumni Foundation and realized Bill’s gift would really have a big effect on the match for the Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center.

According an article on the website, Wurst was an energetic supporter of future engineering students at Montana State. He had established a scholarship with matching funds from HP for students in electrical and computer engineering in 1994. In addition, Bill established two additional endowed scholarships designated for engineering students from Flathead and Lake Counties in Montana, where he grew up.

Wurst received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MSU, and he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering while working as a research and teaching assistant at the school. Wurst had a 30-year career with Hewlett Packard.

Colleagues described Wurst as a natural leader who developed a reputation as an innovator and strategic thinker. Many at the school believe these qualities about him make his estate gift to the school especially appropriate. The building will be designed to promote student-faculty interaction and accelerated innovation that responds to and anticipates emerging trends in education, industry and society.

University officials hope to break ground on the facility by the middle of 2016.

Reference: (September 18, 2015) “Late Ronan man leaves $4M estate gift to MSU”

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