(Published in MEANDERINGS in the BUTTE WEEKLY April 5, 2017)
Of all the good things that my beloved alma mater does to positively affect the lives of so many students from every corner of the planet, my favorite Montana Tech accolade was given in 2014. According to CollegeNET, Montana Tech was the highest ranked school in the nation according to a research instrument called the Social Mobility Index (SMI).
What on earth is a Social Mobility Index? It is a data-based measure of how effectively colleges and universities graduate students from low-income backgrounds into promising careers. The SMI ranked 539 US Colleges and Universities. Just as it sits perched atop our town, Montana Tech sits atop this ranking, which to me is the most important and impressive no.1 ranking we’ve earned.
When you combine Montana Tech’s ability to positively redirect the lives of so many with the fact that we are also ranked the no.1 institution for Return on Investment (ROI), it is easy to see why so many for so long have emphasized the importance of Harvard on the Hill to this community.
Every single person in this community knows somebody who came from humble circumstances, who enrolled at Montana Tech, worked hard and earned their degree, and went on to change the general drift and direction of their family for generations. That’s what so cool about social mobility, when one person breaks through they usually bring their children and their grandchildren with them.
How many of us live lives we couldn’t have otherwise lived were it not for the opportunities we were provided to study at Montana Tech? I can think of dozens, if not hundreds.
Though we are highly respected globally recognized institution, Montana Tech has always also served those who grew up within a short drive to campus. Few institutions of higher education have served their communities better than Montana Tech has served us.
It is fun for a sports crazy town to have an excellent college football team, and Coach Morrell has our guys dominating one of the toughest NAIA conferences in the country. But Chuck Morrell is here in part because he knows he’s a part of something bigger than college football. He’s part of an institution that changes lives for generations.
We’re no.1 ranked in all the right ways today. In many ways, these are the good old days. Go Diggers