Terry and Patt Payne Empower Students with Major Scholarship Gift

Terry Payne
Terry Payne, dear friend and Gonzaga University benefactor

October 20, 2021

SPOKANE, Wash. — Longtime supporters and dear friends Terry and Patt Payne of Missoula, Montana, have made an extraordinary $5 million gift to Gonzaga University, which will provide successive cohorts of high achieving, low-income students with the support necessary to make a Gonzaga education possible. By applying this funding with particular attention to the needs of students from Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the generosity of Terry and Patt promises to have a significant impact that aligns perfectly with the mission of the University.

An alumnus of the University of Montana, Terry Payne began his career in insurance while still in college, and built the successful PayneWest Insurance, Inc., on principles centered around what is best for the “three Cs” of Clients, Colleagues, and Communities. Payne’s companies rank among the “100 Largest U.S. Brokers,” and were named by Business Insurance as among the “Best Places to Work in Insurance” for the past four years.

The Paynes’ care for community is evident in all they support philanthropically. The Payne Family Native American Center & Elouise Cobell Land & Culture Institute at the University of Montana exemplifies the high regard in which Payne and his family hold the indigenous cultures and people of their home region. The Payne Center for Leadership Development at Gonzaga University represents the priority they place on ensuring that people from all backgrounds and academic disciplines are given the opportunity to grow as leaders, regardless of field or role. Through the Robert J. Spitzer Endowed Scholarship, the Paynes have provided financial assistance to empower those whose circumstances would otherwise keep them from assuming leadership roles.

Patt Payne
Patt Payne

The Paynes have also provided the funding certainty for construction of the new Montana Museum of Art and Culture on the University of Montana campus, and a significant gift to help fund the recently dedicated American Indian Hall at Montana State University in Bozeman.

“Terry and Patt are empowering Gonzaga to realize its commitment to education for all in a monumental way with this extraordinarily generous gift,” said Gonzaga University President Thayne M. McCulloh. “The ultimate priority is to enable students whose backgrounds and social circumstances would not otherwise allow them to study at Gonzaga — particularly those from economically challenged communities. We are truly grateful for what the Paynes are making possible.”

Terry Payne has long been an advocate for recognizing the power of quiet yet impactful servant leadership, a quality that has been present in many of the students participating in programs through the Payne Center for Leadership Development, and in the staff members responsible for its operation.

“Father (Robert J.) Spitzer, President McCulloh and Katie Herzog are the individuals who have motivated my giving,” Payne said. “But what inspires me further is the overall atmosphere of the Gonzaga University campus — the quality and cleanliness of it, the cheerfulness, friendliness and attitude of the students. It is where I would be proud and happy to enroll as a student.”

The Paynes’ most recent gift of support will provide scholarships that will be awarded to recipients every year, from their first until graduation. By alleviating financial worry for these students, the gift will ensure that they can take advantage of the full Gonzaga experience, aligning with the University’s mission and the Jesuit value of providing education for all.

McCulloh added, “I am humbled by the generosity and dedication of Terry and Patt Payne to providing opportunities for others. They truly exemplify the values Gonzaga seeks to inspire in its entire community.”

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