Impact of Giving: Carl Ueland

Investing in Students

Carl ’70 and Barbara Ueland are true philanthropists. They support organizations important to them. They give back because it is the right thing to do. If they do well financially, they pay it forward by investing in charities, in his alma mater and in the students who attend MSU Billings. Carl represents what education is: gaining knowledge, skills, and experience and then using it to improve one’s life and the lives of others. Through the years, the Uelands have donated funds to the Foundation, predominantly for biology scholarships at MSU Billings. Like many donors, they started with small donations and have gradually increased their support.

Carl grew up on a ranch in Butte, Montana, and followed his older brother, Ray, to study at then Eastern Montana College. While studying at EMC, Carl participated in cross country and track as well as student government. He majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. After graduation in 1970, he used the knowledge and skills he gained at EMC to create successful businesses.

One of Carl’s companies, Actagro LLC, developed an innovative fertilizing process to be used on many food crops, increasing the fertilizer’s effectiveness. Actagro has been a successful national company for many years, expanding its reach globally. As his company grew, so did the Uelands’ ability to give back. In 2012, Carl promoted the sale of his company while retaining some ownership. He retired in the fall of 2013.

Because of Carl’s educational background, the Foundation approached him about supporting a potential opportunity to update the science building. After funds were appropriated for the project by the state, Carl and Barbara made the very first donation toward the Yellowstone Science and Allied Health Building, i.e. the renovation and expansion of the campus science building. Additional donations to his alma mater, for both scholarships and the Yellowstone Building, have followed.

Periodic visits have allowed Carl to tour the building and meet with science faculty and students. During his last trip, he visited with both Dr. Kurt Toenjes, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, and Dr. Tasneem Khaleel, Professor of Botany and Biology. Dr. Khaleel expressed her hope that Carl would consider another gift toward the Yellowstone Building because the updates to the building would greatly improve the student experience. Dr. Toenjes explained that the biology scholarship selection committee was using the scholarship funds provided by the Uelands as an incentive for those students who otherwise would be unable to attend the University. It really made a difference for all of the students who received the scholarship.

“That’s why I invest here,” said Carl.

Carl and Barbara were able to give a generous donation to the Yellowstone Building this past summer, making them the single largest donors toward the project. The Uelands believe that investment in the updated facility is necessary for the future of the University, its students, and the local economy.

“There’s a lot of local industry, and they [MSU Billings] need a good science department,” Carl said. “They have some good professors there, some good students, but for the future they need a good science building, and it’s way overdue.”

For more information about contributing to this forward-thinking project or to find out about available naming opportunities, please contact the MSU Billings Foundation at 406.657.2244, 888.430.6782, or

Carl Ueland

Carl Ueland

MSU-B Yellowstone Hall