Montana State University

College of Engineering

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173820
Bozeman, MT 59717-3820

Tel: (406) 994-2272
Fax: (406) 994-6665
Location: 212 Roberts Hall

Dean and Director:

Brett Gunnink

The College remembers Blake Morstad

Blake Morstad

In recognition of COE alumnus Blake Morstad, his friends, colleagues and the college have come together to establish a memorial scholarship fund. On January 1, 2005, Blake was killed by an avalanche while backcountry skiing near West Yellowstone on Mount Nemesis. All five members of the group he was with were experienced in avalanche safety. Although their rescue efforts provided for a quick recovery, Blake had sustained fatal injuries while being carried by the avalanche.

Blake will be remembered for his exemplary character and integrity, academic excellence, strong work ethic, positive attitude, and a level of maturity well beyond his 24 years. Blake is survived by his wife, Adele and their soon-to-be born child, due in February.

In 2002, Blake graduated from MSU with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and was awarded the Montana Society of Engineers Gold Medal Award. He continued to study mechanical engineering, earning his master's degree in August 2004. In his graduate research, Blake focused on processes causing crystallographic changes to a snowpack that occur near the surface, creating a weak layer within the snowpack. This volatile layer increases the potential for an avalanche to occur. In September, Blake's research was well received at the International Snow Science Workshop in Jackson Hole, WY.

The Blake Morstad Memorial Endowment was established to provide scholarship funding in perpetuity. It will support outstanding engineering students who resemble Blake's honorable character and who are studying snow mechanics. Tax deductible contributions can be made online at (Blake's friend and colleague Ryan Jordan-Ph.D., '99, civil engineering-oversees these efforts). Donations may also be made through the MSU Foundation, 1501 South 11 th Avenue, Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717-2750. MSU employees may contribute to the endowment through payroll deduction. Contact Linda Wyckoff for these deduction forms (406) 994-2223.