Green Beret And West Point Graduate Appears In Missoula As Candidate For UM President
The UM presidential candidate with the closest ties to Missoula appeared before a packed house in the University Center Theater on Friday after noon.
He is Seth Bodnar, whose wife Chelsea grew up in Missoula and attended Hellgate High School, so Bodner and his family are familiar with the city and with the university and the issues surrounding the search for a new president.
Bodnar is a graduate, and eventually a faculty member of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces' Green Berets.
Bodnar spoke about his alma mater.
“West Point is, despite what most people may think, at its heart a liberal arts college,” Bodnar said. “It’s meant to provide a transformative educational experience. When I was on the faculty, it was rated as the number one institution in the country in doing so. I also had the opportunity to go to Oxford to complement my experience at West Point. I like to say that West Point taught me how to solve problems, while Oxford taught me how to ask the right questions.”
As part of his presentation, Bodnar displayed a slide with three logos, Uber, Airbandb, and Facebook, each with a unique distinction to show how the world has been transformed by technology.
“You have the world’s largest taxi company and owns no vehicles,” said Bodnar. “You have the world’s largest accommodations provider that owns no buildings, and the world’s most popular media company that creates no content.”
That being said, Bodnar emphasized that a university is not a business.
“A university is not a business,” he said. “There are principles from business that are applicable to ensure that a university meets its objectives, but a university if not a business. I think what’s illustrative in the way I think about this university is how does it create value, and who does it create value for?”
Following his presentation, Bodnar took questions from the audience for over an hour.
The final candidate scheduled to appear on Monday, is Charles Ambrose, who will also appear at a public forum at the University Center Theater starting at 3:30 p.m.