BUTTE – Montana Technological University received a historic $31 million gift from Ryan and Lisa Lance today. The transformative gift to the Montana Tech Foundation will benefit future students, educational programs, research, entrepreneurism, and a pivotal investment in shaping the energy workforce of tomorrow.
A Great Falls, Montana native, Ryan Lance earned a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering at Montana Technological University in 1984. Lance credits his success with starting literally from the ground up. Lance put himself through college by working on oil rigs in Wyoming.
“We are extremely grateful to Ryan and Lisa Lance,” noted Montana Tech Chancellor Les Cook. Their $31 million gift is historic and transformational for our university. It embraces the university’s mission and accelerates our vision for the future. Three times larger than any gift the institution has ever received, the Lance gift is a game-changer. Montana Tech offers a robust academic and student experience that provides a unique advantage in helping change the world. Ryan and Lisa Lance’s investment confirms the value of a Montana Tech degree and the promise it offers for every student to succeed.”
Lance has served as Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips Company since 2012, guiding the firm’s transformation into the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. He now has 39 years of industry executive and technical experience with ConocoPhillips and predecessors Phillips Petroleum and ARCO.
In September, the Montana Technological University School of Mines and Engineering will be renamed the Lance College of Mines and Engineering pending review and approval by the Montana Board of Regents.
The gift, the largest in the university’s history, was announced on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. in the Lance Leadership Hall. Speakers included Montana Tech Foundation CEO Jaime Heppler, Chancellor Les Cook, ASMT President Kylee Godfrey, and Lance.
“I am humbled by the generosity of Ryan and Lisa Lance. Their commitment to the university is a real-life testament to what’s possible with a Montana Tech education. On behalf of the Montana Tech Foundation, we are grateful for the Lance’s investment in tomorrow’s leaders,” said Jaime Heppler, CEO of the Montana Tech Foundation." The $31 million gift will establish the Lance Scholars program, an endowed Energy Chair, and provide a leadership investment to Digger Athletics."
The Lance Scholars program will provide Montana resident students and transfers the opportunity to receive a four-year, $4,000 per year scholarship. Ryan’s passion for Montana residents to achieve a four-year degree is personal.
Lance added, “Lisa and I made this gift to Montana Tech to recognize the impact the university has had on our lives. We want to help Montana kids go to school and have a profound impact on their futures. Becoming an Oredigger set us on a path we could never have imagined. We want that opportunity for all our Montana high school graduates."
Among Lance’s professional commitments, he is a board member of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a trustee of both the George H.W. Bush Library Foundation and PGA Reach, and an advocate for various charities benefiting youth through his service on the board of Spindletop International and the advisory council of the University of Texas Energy Institute. He is a former chairman of the American Petroleum Institute currently serving on its Executive Committee and chairs the National Petroleum Council’s Agenda Committee.
Ryan and Lisa are parents to two children and are getting ready to welcome their first grandchild.
A first of its kind at the university, the endowed Lance Energy Chair will expand Tech’s expertise in STEM and establish the institution as a leader in energy, environment, and sustainability. The position will collaborate with academic programs across campus and develop unique multidisciplinary opportunities to expand research, modernize curriculum, and further industry engagement and commercialization. All to help shape tomorrow’s energy workforce.
“The Lance Endowed Energy Chair will propel Tech to the forefront of the energy industry in Montana and beyond. The new chair will converge Montana Tech faculty, private businesses, industry, and government agencies to create new and exciting opportunities benefiting the next generation of energy-related workforce,” said SME Dean Kenneth Lee, Ph.D.
Digger Athletics will receive $1 million towards its endowed scholarship fund, generating greater access for student-athletes to compete and achieve on and off the field.