Dianna Riley Fund Established

Dianna and Larry Riley

In memory of long-time African-American Studies supporter, Dianna Riley, a fund to support AAST and the Black Student Union has been established. Already nearly $19,000 of the $50,000 goal has been reached.

In 1968, Ulysses S. Doss founded the department that would give birth to the African-American Studies Program and the Black Student Union at the University of Montana. In 2018, we will celebrate a half-century of study, community building and the pursuit of racial justice at UM. For many of those 50 years, volunteer and advocate Dianna Riley offered energy, vision and hospitality in support of the department’s goals. She organized BSU reunions, was the driving force behind the Ulysses S. Doss scholarship, and offered enthusiasm, direction and spirit to the AAS and BSU programs. In her memory, we have established the Dianna Riley Fund. The fund will provide a strong foundation to help both programs thrive for the next 50 years.

A contribution to the Riley Fund is a contribution to:

  • The success of students in the African-American Studies Program. In 2017, we celebrated the first class of graduates with an AAS major. Since 2003, we have seen a five-fold increase in the number of students enrolled in the minor. In a time of declining enrollments at UM, African-American Studies has fostered vibrant growth.
  • The growth and development of students in the Black Student Union. UM’s original Black Student Union was the driving force in the development and implementation of the African-American Studies program. Your support helps ensure that UMBSU continues its mission of providing a sense of community for Black students on campus while championing the ideas of diversity and inclusion for all members of the University family.
  • The historical legacy of black students at UM. As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, current students will conduct Story corps-type oral histories with AAS and BSU alums to ensure their stories are preserved for the future.

The Riley Fund will invest:

  • $15,000 in the Black Student Union to underwrite events and activities that assist students in their quest to create a more diverse and inclusive campus.
  • $30,000 in African-American Studies Programming to bring national speakers to campus, raise the profile of African-American Studies across the state and fund student research.
  • $5,000 in commemorating and celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Black and African-American Studies at UM by bringing a high-profile speaker to campus for an anniversary event, funding the BSU alums oral history project and underwriting celebratory events during 2018.

To make a gift, contact the H&S Development team, or the University of Montana Foundation.

Black Studies Reunion

Dianna Riley Missoulian Front Page