Name: Bill Kennedy
Official Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
A Billings West High School graduate and an Eastern Montana College alumnus, Bill joined the MSU Billings Foundation August 2016. Education is Bill’s first love and he is excited to help students, grow the workforce, and serve the community. Prior to his appointment and subsequent re-election as Yellowstone County Commissioner in 1993-2016 (retired), Kennedy taught seventh and eighth grades in Colstrip and K-8 grades in Billings at Billings Catholic Schools. He also served as Parish administrator for St. Thomas Church and as director of the Even Start Family Literacy Program for School District 2. Additionally, Bill has been a long-time community leader, serving on multiple volunteer boards and spear-heading initiatives for veterans, mental health services, and the reconstruction of MetraPark. Bill earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Montana State University and his master’s degree in personnel and guidance from EMC (now MSU Billings).
Name: Jon Egeland
Official Title: Chief Financial Officer
Jon began working for the Foundation in September 1991. As Chief Financial Officer, his duties are to manage foundation assets to insure funds are used appropriately on behalf of MSU Billings within guidelines established by the Foundation’s donors and policies. Working for the Foundation is a natural fit for Jon; MSU Billings provided him with an excellent education and he has a strong belief in higher education and the value it provides to students who live, work and play in the Billings community. One of the things he finds most rewarding is connecting passionate donors with outstanding university leaders and students to improve and enhance educational opportunities and programs at MSU Billings. Jon holds a BSBA with an Accounting Option from MSU Billings.
Name: Shannon Behounek
Official Title: Director of Annual Giving & Executive Assistant to the CEO
Shannon first worked at the Foundation from December 2005 to June 2008, and then returned in July 2012. Shannon coordinates the Annual Drive for Excellence, which provides dollars to support the immediate needs of the University. Aspects of the Annual Drive for Excellence include the alumni phonathon, campus and community drives, direct mail, and the annual “An Evening with…” event. She also coordinates the creation, publication, and distribution of the Foundation’s informational pieces. Shannon takes great pride in raising funds which enable students to pursue their academic dreams. She loves hearing powerful student stories and how their scholarship allowed them to come to or stay in school to earn their degree and change their family’s future for the better. Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Montana.
Name: Jeanne Moller
Official Title: Development Officer – Wine & Food Festival
Jeanne began working at the Foundation in November 1995. Her role encompasses everything Wine & Food Festival related, from the first event of the year in September to the festival week in May. She works with over 200 volunteers, chefs, presenters, sponsors and donors to make sure the Wine & Food Festival goes off without a hitch. Jeanne works with an amazing team to raise scholarship dollars that provide life-changing opportunities to students and their families at MSU Billings, work she finds very rewarding. Jeanne earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings) in 1984.
Name: Robbie Carpenter
Official Title: Development Officer – Campaign Director
Robbie joined the Foundation in August 2016. As the Campaign Director for the Foundation, Robbie’s first priority is to plan, direct and coordinate the fundraising campaign for the Yellowstone Science and Allied Health Building. The aged Science Building needs renovation and expansion to serve the hundreds of science and pre-professional nursing students with top flight classrooms and research facilities. Graduates will help fulfill the need for 15,500 health care employees in the next 10 years in the local community, and in turn, businesses that employ these graduates will benefit from their expertise and education by providing quality healthcare to the region. Robbie believes this is a win-win-win for everyone and is excited about moving the project forward. She has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations, and fundraising.
Name: Chris Long
Official Title: Development Officer – Major Gifts
Chris Long worked with several state and national political campaigns and with not-for-profit entities over the past 15 years in both professional and volunteer capacities prior to founding Longview Strategies. In December 2016 he joined Montana State University Billings. Chris’ strength is helping not-for-profit institutions develop honest, effective, and proven strategies that grow resources. Chris earned his BA in History, Political Science, and Religion from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, his MAT in Secondary Social Studies Education from Teachers College at Columbia University, and his M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration with a double concentration in Student Affairs and Institutional Advancement from Vanderbilt University.
Name: Mary Ann Keenan
Official Title: Development Officer
Mary Ann came to work at the Foundation in October 2016. Most of her professional employment has been in hotel sales. Her forte is forging close relationships with customers, donors, and co-workers. She firmly believes that, in sales and in fundraising for a worthy cause, the process should be a win for all parties – donors, MSU Billings, and especially for the students whose education will be enhanced by the new Yellowstone Science and Allied Health Building, as well as the people and organizations that will benefit from the expertise of those graduates. Mary Ann is intrigued by architecture and construction; once the new building is underway, you may find her on site wearing a hard hat and showing off the facility and its plans to prospective donors.
Name: Susan Rhodes
Official Title: Scholarship Administrator
Susan began working for the Foundation in September 1982. She works with donors to establish new annual or endowed scholarships, coordinates the annual selection of scholarship recipients with various on and off-campus selection committees, coordinates the distribution of the scholarship awards each semester with the Financial Aid and Business Offices, and notifies the scholarship recipients of their awards. She says the best part of her job is giving money to students! Reading the recipient’s thank-you letters and knowing how a scholarship has impacted a student’s life truly warms her heart. Susan received her Associates of Arts Degree in Business from Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings) in 1973.
Name: Jennifer Ries
Official Title: Scholarship Associate & Social Media Manager
Jennifer Ries joined the Foundation in June 2015. She oversees the allocation and application of external scholarships to student accounts, assists in coordinating the selection and distribution of privately-funded scholarship awards, and corresponds with scholarship recipients. Every time Jennifer sends a scholarship award letter she knows she is helping a student get a little bit closer to achieving their goals, and that’s a powerful motivator. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jennifer worked in journalism, database management, and organizational communications. Jennifer attended Rocky Mountain College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2001.
Name: Bonny Perkins
Official Title: Research & Records Coordinator
Bonny started at the Foundation June 2015. Her main responsibilities include maintaining the Foundation’s extensive alumni, friends and donor database, producing data reports to support all activities of the Foundation, research, and article writing. Bonny was able to attend MSU Billings due in large part to the scholarship funds she received from the Foundation. She feels a great deal of responsibility to fulfill the promise she made to her benefactors of improving the community by contributing to the efforts of MSU Billings and the Foundation. She is grateful to be a part of the team. Bonny earned a Bachelor of Science from MSU Billings in 2013.
Name: Lisa McDaniel
Official Title: Event Coordinator & Office Assistant
Lisa joined the Foundation staff in June 2015. When you call or visit the Foundation office, she is likely the first voice you will hear and the first face you will see. Lisa is in charge of making sure that everything at the Foundation is running smoothly and all of our donors and visitors’ needs are met. Prior to joining the Foundation, Lisa taught upper elementary and middle school special education in Yellowstone County. She enjoys seeing students reach their goals through scholarship awards and enthusiastically supports the efforts of the Foundation to further MSU Billings’ mission. Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education from MSU Billings in 2013.