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UM hosts Montana Board of Regents meeting

University of Montana campus
Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 19:26:17-05

MISSOULA — A Montana Board of Regents virtual meeting Thursday saw University of Montana officials providing an update on how this semester went in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UM is wrapping up its first full semester in a pandemic and is calling it a success saying they were able to educate, retain and most importantly, protect its students.

“We have seen our retention and persistence increase. We saw our first-year retention rate this year six percentage points higher than it was two years ago. And we saw record graduate enrollment this year,” UM President Seth Bodnar said.

Bodnar also praised the success that UM has had in further developing a COVID vaccine, contact tracing efforts, and other tools to help combat the pandemic.

Frankly, that’s one of the big reasons why the University of Montana was named this August to a list of the top 10 universities solving the coronavirus pandemic,” Bodnar said. “Joining institutions like Harvard and Oxford in combating the pandemic.”

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the only topic covered during the meeting. A purposed plan would see Aber Hall serve as an administrative swing space for staff displaced by Food Zoo expansion in the Lommasson Center building was also discussed.

If Aber Hall is needed for student housing in the future those operations would not be moved back to the Lommasson Center but would instead find a new building on campus according to UM Vice President for Operations and Finance Paul Lassiter.

The Board of Regents will vote on the Aber Hall repurposing plan Friday morning.