Mike and Nomie Ketterling
Mike '75, '77 M, and Nomie (Wells) '75 Ketterling love MSU, and so putting the Montana State University Alumni Foundation in their will was a simple step. Like many others, it's important to the Ketterlings to give back to their alma mater and make a difference for the next generation of students.
Earning college degrees at Montana State University led the Ketterlings to each other and to successful and fulfilling careers. "I feel like going to college was an incredible step in the life I've lived and the career I've had," Nomie says.
Mike agreed, "I wouldn't have gotten to where I was without MSU. It's as simple as that."
Mike was born and raised in Billings, Montana, where his interest in excavation, road construction and the way things work mechanically led him to earn his bachelor's and master's in civil engineering from MSU. Mike has been a consulting civil engineer in private practice for his entire career. After becoming a principal with a firm, he decided to start his own engineering firm in 1995. In 2015, he merged his company with another in Fort Collins and it is now one of the largest civil firms in Northern Colorado—Northern Engineering.
Nomie grew up in the small town of Park City, Montana, and graduated from MSU with a degree in sociology, the study of people. Nomie went on to build her career from dispatcher at the Gallatin Valley Sheriff's Office to serving as a counselor for inmates in Colorado where she saw the difference that education can make for people's options and life choices. She shifted to one-to-one mentoring and concluded her career at a community mental health center prevention program for drug and alcohol prevention.
Nomie and Mike's philanthropy is rooted in their own experiences and in the belief that a college education can change people's lives. Including the Montana State University Alumni Foundation in their will was a simple step, but it is also part of a larger commitment that the Ketterlings made to MSU. They currently fund an annual engineering scholarship and give to the MSU Library.
"Now it's our turn to help others," Mike says.
Mike and Nomie get to hear firsthand about the difference their scholarship makes in the lives of students, from letters they receive from them.
"It is so rewarding to hear the students tell us about their stories and goals in life," Mike says.
Nomie recalls the story of a young woman from a small-town Montana high school whose goal was to get an engineering education. "Hearing her goal was especially moving and touching for me as a woman," Nomie says. "Fifty years ago, I didn't know any female engineers."
The Ketterlings would like every student to experience the successes they have. Mike summed it up well with one of his favorite quotes by Winston Churchill, "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give."
Mike and Nomie live in Eaton, Colorado, and wear their Montana State gear and cowboy hats whenever they can.