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Montana Western Announces Commencement Speaker Dr. Steve Mock

The University of Montana Western’s 127th Annual Commencement Ceremony will feature speaker Dr. Steve Mock, retired Professor of Chemistry Emeritus and Climbing Instructor in the Environmental Sciences Department at Montana Western.

Steve Mock’s journey from a small farming community in Indiana to his retirement in Dillon, Montana, is a testament to a life filled with adventure and dedication. Graduating from Manchester College in 1977, Steve and his wife, Jan, pursued their love for the wilderness, eventually settling in Missoula in 1978. Steve’s academic pursuits led him to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Montana State University in 1989, later joining the faculty at the University of Montana Western in 1991.

During his tenure from 1991-2019, Dr. Mock taught a variety of courses, including chemistry, earth science, and rock climbing. His dedication extended beyond the classroom, serving on numerous committees and playing key roles in administrative searches including search committees for the Provost in 1997 and Chancellor in 1999. In 2001, he assumed the role of Dean of Arts and Sciences at UMW, while also directing the Experience One pilot project from 2001 to 2005.

Outside academia, Dr. Mock’s passion for climbing led him to significant involvement with the Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC), a project of the Bozeman based Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (ALCF) and Denali Rescue Volunteers (DRV). Serving as Co-Director of KCC for ten years, he played a vital role in training Nepali citizens in climbing and guiding. He also participated in Denali Ranger patrols, earning him the President’s role at DRV in 2018.

In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Mock received the Alumni Honor award from Manchester University in 2023 and the National Park Service Hartzog Award in 2022.

Following his retirement in 2019, Steve and Jan continue to embrace their love for outdoor activities, remaining active in Dillon. They still enjoy hiking, hunting, canoeing, skiing, climbing and travel. Steve continues to immerse himself in the community by being part of the local Beaverhead Search and Rescue. Their journey exemplifies a life filled with exploration, service to others, and unwavering commitment.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Steve Mock back to Montana Western for our 127th Annual Commencement ceremony. Dr. Mock’s dedication to learning, teaching, and his adventurous spirit in the great outdoors provide a deep reservoir of experience and accomplishments to help inspire and celebrate our graduating students,” said Montana Western Chancellor, Michael Reid. “We look forward to his address, as he helps us celebrate their achievements and ignites a sense of possibility and excitement for their future.”

Montana Western’s Commencement ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Straugh Gymnasium on the UMW campus on May 4, 2024. For more information, please contact the Montana Western Registrar’s Office by calling 406-683-7371 or visit

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