Opening in 1900 as the Montana State School of Mines, Montana Tech’s funding and land came from the Enabling Act of 1889, which admitted Montana to the Union and allocated 100,000 acres of public land to establish a state school of mines. 

Main Hall in 1900
The School of Mines opened its doors with only one building, Main Hall, holding 21 students and offering two degrees: mining engineering and electrical engineering.

Montana Tech specializes in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math, and healthcare disciplines and has repeatedly been recognized among the top universities in America.

Montana Tech offers certificate programs, associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees along with a Ph.D. in Materials Science. All degree offerings derive a special emphasis from the unique setting and continued tradition of high quality that has characterized Montana Tech since its founding.

The exceptional job placement rate of graduates, our successful alumni, combined with the low cost of attendance in a highly personalized environment, attest to both quality, value, and overall return on investment. Offering practical, hands-on learning, Montana Tech provides the opportunity for students looking to be difference-makers, leaders, innovators, healers and problem-solvers.


The School of Mines Building (Main Hall) becomes the first building constructed on campus. Today, Main Hall houses the Electrical Engineering and Liberal Studies departments.

Montana Tech opens its doors as the Montana State School of Mines.

A bill enacted by the Legislative Assembly of Montana in 1919 created the Montana State Bureau of Mines and Metallurgy. The Bureau had two main functions: first, developing the mineral resources of the state; second, improving the safety and efficiency of mining related operations. Today, the Bureau is the principal source of earth science information for the citizens of Montana.

Montana School of Mines becomes a Naval College and offers the V-12 program, which guarantees an officer replacement program for the Navy and Marines during World War II.

Lighting of the “M” on Big Butte.

The Montana School of Mines becomes the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology. Shortly after WWII ended, acting School of Mines president Francis Thompson, embarked on a program destined to modernize the Montana School of Mines’ curricula. The School of Mines added humanities and social sciences options to the technical electives.

Montana Tech opens Alumni Coliseum, which was first intended to be used for football games and American Legion baseball games. The Butte Copper Kings, a professional baseball team, also used the field during their years playing in Butte. The stadium was renovated in 2007 and has been used for Oredigger football since. The facility now features new stadium seating, a Jumbo-Tron scoreboard, and newly installed field turf on Bob Green Field.

The Montana University System is restructured, and Montana Tech becomes affiliated with the University of Montana, becoming Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Additionally, the College of Technology (formerly Butte Vocational-Technical Center, came under the administrative umbrella of Montana Tech.

The Natural Resources Building (NRB) is opened. The NRB houses Montana Tech's largest department, Petroleum Engineering, as well as the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. The NRB features state of the art labs that allow students to work with industry standard and specialty equipment, including a Fracture Conductivity Measurement System, a Vertical Flow Loop, a Cement Slurry Property Testing Lab, and Fracture Stimulation Equipment. In addition to this equipment, the NRB has two smart labs that allow world-renowned experts to give real-time presentations from anywhere in the world to Tech's students and faculty.

Chancellor Frank Gilmore retires after 13 years at Montana Tech. Don Blackketter is hired as the new chancellor.

The Frank and Ann Gilmore University Relations Center (URC), is opened. The URC is the first building on campus to be funded entirely with private donations and houses the Montana Tech Foundation, Alumni Affairs, Public Relations, and Career Services.

Montana Tech’s two-year campus is renamed Highlands College of Montana Tech.

The Montana Board of Regents approves a materials science doctorate for Montana Tech.

The Materials Science Ph.D. Program’s first students begin studying at Montana Tech.

Montana Tech breaks ground for the newest building on campus, the Natural Resources Research Center (NRRC). The NRRC will provide laboratory space for natural resources and energy undergraduate and graduate education and research on campus. The three-story, approximately 32,000-square foot building will create state-of-the-art laboratories, workspaces and support spaces. The addition includes a petroleum research lab, Nano research lab, energy lab, strengths & materials testing lab, composites & wood testing lab, occupational safety and health lab, campus-wide student project studio area, dedicated equipment and machinery rooms, student support areas, office space, general support space, and unfinished space for future growth.

The Natural Resource Research Center (NRRC) opens on the campus of Montana Tech. The NRRC is a three-story, 31,000-square-foot addition to the Engineering Laboratory Classroom Building. The NRRC houses research and lab space for the Petroleum, Civil, and Mechanical Engineering Departments along with space for the Occupational Safety & Health Department. The building serves as a strong recruitment tool and provides state-of-the art research and laboratory space.

At their May 2017 meeting, the Montana Board of Regents approved a fourth institutional classification for higher education units in the state. The new classification, Special Focus Four-Year Universities, of which Montana Tech is the only unit, was added to the previous three classifications: Two-Year Colleges, Four-Year Regional Universities, and Research Doctoral Universities. Prior to its new classification, Montana Tech was included in the Four-Year Regional Universities classification. This new classification was in part due to the unique mission and high quality of Montana Tech and a recognition of the opportunities a Special Focus designation might afford Montana Tech.

Montana Tech breaks ground for the Student Success/Living & Learning Center (SSC). The SSC will be operational by Spring 2019. This 82,200-square-foot facility will enhance the student life experience on campus, providing an inspiring environment for students to live, learn, study, socialize and cultivate valuable leadership skills.

At their May 2018 meeting, the Montana Board of Regents unanimously approved Montana Tech's formal name change request. The university's formal name was changed from Montana Tech of the University of Montana to Montana Technological University.

Montana Tech’s 11th chancellor, Dr. Donald M. Blackketter, retired from the university in June 2019. Blackketter served in the leadership position since 2011. In July 2019, Dr. Les Cook became chancellor of Montana Tech.