Bill Wurst, a 1959 alumnus in electrical engineering left $4 million to the MSU College of Engineering as a gift from his estate. The gift was designated for the greatest needs of the college, giving the family and the college the flexibility to apply it where it would do the most good. Wurst had spoken with the alumni foundation’s senior director about the gift in 2011. The funds will be used as matching funds for the university’s planned Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center.
This is an example of estate planning that achieves the donor’s goals after they have passed away, which can only happen when proper planning takes place. When MSU alumni Bill Wurst passed away in 2014, his wife and children worked closely with the foundation at MSU and found a way for his generous gift to have a maximum impact on the college.
According an article on the KPAX.com website, Wurst was an energetic supporter of future engineering students at Montana State. He had established a scholarship with matching funds from HP for students in electrical and computer engineering in 1994. In addition, Bill established two additional endowed scholarships designated for engineering students from Flathead and Lake Counties in Montana, where he grew up.
Wurst received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MSU, and he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering while working as a research and teaching assistant at the school. Wurst had a 30-year career with Hewlett Packard.
Colleagues described Wurst as a natural leader who developed a reputation as an innovator and strategic thinker. Many at the school believe these qualities about him make his estate gift to the school especially appropriate. The building will be designed to promote student-faculty interaction and accelerated innovation that responds to and anticipates emerging trends in education, industry and society.
University officials hope to break ground on the facility by the middle of 2016.