Missoula couple to be awarded honorary doctorates at UM

2013-03-24T21:46:00Z 2013-03-24T21:50:02Z Missoula couple to be awarded honorary doctorates at UM missoulian.com

Sue and John Talbot of Missoula each will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Montana during May 18 commencement ceremonies.

The Talbots earned the honor for their longtime efforts to enhance educational opportunities for UM students and their tireless work in the Missoula community and Montana.

“John and Sue have worked hard to make the university a better place, and their efforts will pay dividends for generations to come,” UM President Royce Engstrom said.


Sue Talbot is the daughter of Don Anderson, the longtime newspaperman who became the namesake for UM’s Don Anderson Hall journalism building. She earned an undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College in 1952 and a master’s degree from UM in 1980.

She taught French in Virginia, Billings and Missoula and was the honorary French consul in Montana for many years. She also chaired the United Way Campaign Committee, the Missoula Youth Homes board, the Montana Arts Council, the Montana Community Foundation and the Governor’s Task Force on Philanthropy.

“We feel fortunate to live in a community with such a fine university that has offered us so many years of intellectual stimulation and pleasure,” she said in a written statement.

John Talbot graduated from Harvard College in 1951. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1950s during the early years of the Cold War. He then was employed by Trans World Airlines at the time of introduction of jet aircraft to airline service.

Most of his career was with Lee Enterprises, which owns newspapers nationwide, including the Missoulian, Billings Gazette, Helena Independent Record, Ravalli Republic and Montana Standard. He ended his years with Lee in Missoula as publisher of the Missoulian.

In 1986, he developed and taught a course in news media management at UM’s School of Journalism. He taught the course until 2002.

The Talbots played a major role in fundraising for UM’s Don Anderson Hall, which provided a new home for the journalism school after it was dedicated in May 2007. They also have been faithful supporters of the UM College of Visual and Performing Arts, as well as the arts in Montana generally.

In addition, the Talbots have been involved with Symphony Chorale, the Missoula International Choral Festival, the Steinway piano fundraising campaign and the John Ellis Endowment. Their efforts have been recognized by the Governor’s Arts Awards in 1994 and the Missoula Cultural Council’s Cultural Achievement Award in 2002.

They are extremely active in the Missoula community, including serving more than 20 years on the board of Five Valleys Land Trust. Among many other activities, they have served on advisory boards for both UM’s School of Journalism and School of Fine Arts.

In his nomination letter, former UM journalism Dean Jerry Brown wrote, “I have never known two people who did more for their fellow citizens and asked less in return. Their humility is as genuine as their engagement in endeavors to improve the social and economic environment and to enrich the lives of others.”

Reach the Missoulian newsroom at @missoulian, at newsdesk@missoulian.com or at (406) 523-5240

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