MSUB logo

Benedict and Frances Surwill Memorial Teaching Award for the Outstanding MSU Billings Female Graduating Elementary Education Major

The Benedict & Frances Surwill Memorial Teaching Award for the Outstanding MSU Billings Female Graduating Elementary Education Major was established in memory of Dr. Benedict J. Surwill Jr. and Mrs. Frances M. Surwill. Dr. Surwill was the Dean of the School of Education at Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings) from 1968-1989 and Special Assistant to the President from 1989-1991. He retired in June 1991. He dedicated his life to education first through his years of teaching children and then through educating teachers. Frances M. Surwill was an elementary teacher in the Billings Public Schools. She received her bachelors and masters degree in education from Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings). She was recognized by her peers as an outstanding elementary teacher. She will be remembered as a dynamic, creative teacher, and caring person who filled her classroom with exciting learning for each and every one of her students. Dr. Surwill passed away October 1996; Mrs. Surwill passed away April 1988. Each year a female elementary education major at Montana State University Billings is selected to receive the Benedict & Frances Surwill Memorial Teaching Award for the Outstanding MSU Billings Female Graduating Elementary Education Major. The student selected receives an inscribed plaque and a monetary award, which are presented at the College of Education Spring Convocation.

Impact

“It is with great appreciation that I am writing you. I am a recipient of the Benedict & Frances Surwill Memorial Teaching Award for the Outstanding Montana State University Billings Female Graduating Elementary Education Major, and I cannot express how grateful I am for this gift. Truly this award is a gift, because it has encourage my next steps toward my future. I had a fairly rough upbringing in a fairly broken family. In the midst of choosing growth over crumbling from the past, I found my passion: helping children make the same choice for themselves. I want to be the person I needed when I was their age. The best part of this profession is the future that is being built. My students will one day face the gravity of their impact on the world. I am hoping that, from this side, they can learn which kind of impact the world desperately needs. I want to thank you for the opportunity you have granted me in this award. I am able to focus on solidifying a sure foundation in my education as well as in my convictions. You have enabled me to show the future generation the passion that once saved me from the crossroad and that has been leading me to growth and strength ever since. Thank you for your support. I cannot tell you the depth of gratitude I have for your generosity." — Jaclyn T., Elementary Education major