With unanimous approval, the Montana Board of Regents has named former General Electric executive and West Point graduate Seth Bodnar as the University of Montana’s next president.
Bodnar begins the job in January and will replace interim president Sheila Stearns.
“I can’t think of a more important fight than public higher education,” Bodnar said after his confirmation. “It’s fundamentally important, and it’s a privilege to be on this team.”
After a national search and a final round of deliberation, the Board of Regents selected Bodnar for the university’s top post, citing his vision for the flagship institution and his skills as a leader in the private sector.
Bodnar, considered an atypical choice, currently serves as the senior executive at GE, where he’s responsible for long-term strategy and business transformation at GE Transportation, a global company with over 10,000 employees and approximately $5 billion in revenue.
“We couldn’t be more excited for him to arrive and bring his experience, ideas and energy to the university,” said Stearns. “It’s a challenging job, but Seth Bodnar will make an excellent leader for UM.”
Bodnar, the son of two educators, graduated first in his class from West Point. He received both the Rhodes and Truman scholarships and earned two masters degrees from the University of Oxford.
At West Point, he served as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences. He continues to serve as an officer in the Army Reserve and a visiting faculty member at West Point. He also serves as a board member at The Positivity Project, a nonprofit organization focused on character education.
“Seth has a remarkable record of excellence in his academic achievements, public service and visionary leadership, and is someone who uniquely understands the critical importance of a liberal arts education across disciplines,” said Fran Albrecht, a Regent from Missoula.
Bodnar’s salary is set at $313,000, roughly equal to that of the Montana State University president.