May 24, 2011

FVCC President Honors George Ostrom with Mentor Award

Flathead Valley Community College President Jane Karas honored Flathead Valley radio icon G. George Ostrom with her sixth annual Montana Mentor Award during the college’s 43rd commencement May 13.  The award was created in 2006 to honor a community leader who every day inspires us with their leadership, vision, integrity and passion and exemplifies the meaning of mentor.

In Karas’ presentation, she recognized Ostrom as a Montana pioneer in the broadcasting industry and for improving the quality of life for the residents of the Flathead Valley and the great state of Montana.

“For more than 30 years, this individual has actively supported Flathead Valley Community College, whether teaching history courses, serving as a guest lecturer or reporting the ‘good news’ from the college on his morning radio program,” she said.  “His contributions to the education community are immeasurable, abundant and significant.”

1n 1966, Ostrom served on the college’s first advisory board and worked with the original founders of FVCC to educate voters across Flathead County to support the organization of a community college.  Ten years after FVCC opened its doors in 1967, Ostrom returned to serve the community as a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.

“His vision of a local college in a community like the Flathead Valley has benefitted women and men seeking to better their lives and has significantly impacted the economy in Northwest Montana,” she said. 

Karas credited Ostrom’s foresight for influencing the “immense” economic impact Flathead Valley Community College has on the local economy.

“Mentors like Ostrom know that quality, affordable and accessible education returns far more to taxpayers than it costs,” she said.  “Our community, our residents and our economy are all measurably better.”

Ostrom was unable to attend commencement to accept the award.  Instead, he attended the college’s Board of Trustees meeting yesterday where Karas presented him with the award.

Following the acceptance of the award, Ostrom openly reflected on his memories of the college’s early years, his role in advocating the passage of the mill levy and his early days of teaching when the campus was located in downtown Kalispell.  He thanked the Trustees and the college leadership for their direction and vision.

“I can’t help but get a tear in my eye when I drive by this place,” he said.  “I really appreciate all you have done to drive this college to what it is today.”

“I am deeply touched by this award,” he continued.  “I love the job you all are doing, and I thank you.”

Ostrom’s career in the radio broadcasting industry spans over 50 years, and he is currently heard weekday mornings on KGEZ 600 AM.   He is the author of three books and is a national award-winning columnist for the Hungry Horse News.  He continues to lead hikes with the “Over-the-Hill Gang” in Glacier Park and the surrounding area.  Ostrom served in the United States Army and worked as a smoke jumper before entering his career in broadcasting.   He has served on various boards in the community including the Red Cross, ALERT, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and The University of Montana President’s Advisory Council, among others.  Ostrom was inducted into the Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

Last year, Karas presented the Montana Mentor Award to retired Kalispell Police Chief and FVCC alumnus Frank Garner.

For more information, contact Monica Settles at 756-3801.