Montana Tech received a $600,000 gift from the estate of Charles ‘Chuck’ Arentzen that will provide scholarships to students pursuing 4-year degrees.
Born in North Dakota, Chuck served his country in the United States Navy during World War II. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he was stationed in the Philippines. On May 6, 1942, he was captured on Corregidor Island after General Wainwright surrendered his troops. He spent the remainder of the war as a P.O.W. Upon return to the United States he was honorably discharged from the Navy and enrolled at Montana Tech School of Mines. He received a B.S. Degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1950 and met and married the love of his life, Margueritte (Kane), in 1951. He became a successful extractive metallurgical engineer with Anaconda Copper Company, receiving several patents for his innovative work.
In 1965, Chuck survived the United Airlines Flight 227 plane crash in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received a commendation for saving passengers' lives by helping to extinguish flames after the fiery crash.
In 1970 he was awarded an Honorary Professional Degree from Montana Tech for his contributions to the field of metallurgy. Chuck and Margueritte moved to Tucson in 1968, spending the rest of their years together on east Camino Bavispe, sharing their lives with many neighbors.
“Chuck was a humble, hard-working extractive metallurgical engineer who credited Montana Tech with helping him find his passion,” said his friend Darren Clausen. “Attending Montana Tech on the G.I. Bill, after spending 4 years as a prisoner of war in Chinese Manchuria during World War II, was the opportunity he needed to put him on a path to a successful life. It was important to him to provide that same opportunity to future students of Montana Tech.”
“Through this gift, we’ve been able to offer scholarships to over 50 students who will begin pursuing their educational goals in the fall of 2018,” said Chancellor Don Blackketter. “Montana Tech is known for attracting purposeful and practical, hard-working students who want to make a difference in the world. Mr. Arentzen made a powerful endorsement of a Montana Tech education through his generous gift and at the same time made a powerful investment in the future of the students who will receive his scholarship. I’m amazed by his personal story and by his courage and wish I could have had the opportunity to have known him and thank him for providing these scholarships.”