Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The University of Montana has received a prestigious award from Washington Monthly as the top university in the U.S. for service to its community and the entire country.

KGVO News spoke to UM Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz on Monday for details about the distinction.

UM can now say 'We're Number One'

“Recently Washington Monthly, which is a magazine out of Washington D.C. ranked all the four-year colleges in the United States of America based on certain attributes, and UM made the ranking as the number one institution in the country for having the highest concentration of community and national service,” said Kuntz. “So when put up against our peers when looking at things like military service, Peace Corps service, or service in like the federal workforce or volunteerism, the University of Montana ranked number one in the nation.”

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Kuntz said the student participation rate for service to the community and the nation is off the charts.

“Whether it's joining armed forces, serving our country overseas, or entering into a career or life of service, I think we have the tools both on the academic side of the house here at UM, as well as how we can specifically train those people in order to make real big impacts here in Montana and across the world in the service realm,” he said.

It's About Much More than Classes, Grades, and a Diploma

Kuntz said the relationships between the university and its students go far beyond that of the consumer and the client.

“This isn't some transactional enterprise where they pay tuition, they get a degree, and then go off into the world,” he said. “Rather, while they're here at UM, we work really hard and make sure that students understand their role in society going forward. Whether it's being able to study in areas like youth in crisis or public education, understanding food security, housing issues, mental health counseling, or any sort of nonprofit sector work, our students are able to come here, find like-minded students and find the academic route and then be able to be set up for strong careers in those service realms.”

Kuntz provided this post script about the national award from Washington Monthly.

“This is something that's been going on here at the University for a long time,” he said. “Now it's an additional investment from the University in some of these offices. We think that the sky's the limit in terms of being able to not only train students for the jobs that are open in our country, but also make sure that we're doing our part to get students into those service-centered careers that could help make the world a better place.”

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