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Estate Gift From Montana Tech Alum Will Impact Lives for Years


The Montana Tech Foundation received a $712,000 gift from the estate of Thomas Danowski that will grow the existing Thomas W. and Virginia Bready Danowski Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship benefits Montana Tech students studying mining, petroleum, geological and metallurgical engineering.

Born in New Jersey, Tom served his country in the United States Army during World War II. He attended the Montana School of Mines through the GI Bill, graduating in 1951 with a degree in mining engineering. Tom met and married a Butte girl, Virginia Bready, and began his career working in the mines of Butte. His career in industry eventually took Tom, Virginia and their daughter Susan all over the world, before they finally settled in Tulsa, OK where Tom retired from the Williams Companies. Tom passed away on Christmas Eve 2016 and was preceded in death by the loves of his life, wife Virginia and daughter Susan.

“Tom was a humble man, grateful for the experiences he had in life, for his family, and for the education he received on our campus,” said Michael Barth, Executive Director of the Montana Tech Foundation. “When he established this scholarship, he stressed two things. First, he wanted to honor the memory of his wife Virginia by having her name on the scholarship. Second, he wanted to ensure that young people from ordinary backgrounds and beginnings had access to a Montana Tech education. I was fortunate to work with and get to know Tom over these past many years and we are all honored by this gift and the opportunity to carry on the Bready and Danowski names and legacy on our campus.”

Tom was able to attend an alumni event in Tulsa in the Spring of 2016. At that event, Tom proudly represented the Class of ’51, with other alumni in attendance spanning the decades, right up to a newly-graduated member of the Class of 2015. Tom shared his story and went around the room, introducing himself to all in attendance. He was so pleased to meet everyone, to enjoy the fellowship and see the traditions being carried on by his extended Oredigger family. With Tom’s generous gift, he will be changing lives through education far into the future, ensuring more people like him have the opportunity to lead extraordinary lives.