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The Magazine of The University of Montana

Raising Montana

Work Pays
Griz Couple Turns Wedding Gifts into Scholarships

Wedding Gifts

Terry and Angela Lang at their wedding on July 14
Photo by Rhiannon Horsley, Simple Reflections Photographic Art

For Terry Lang, hard work has paid off with a college degree, a successful career, and a new bride.

While a student at UM, he worked thirty hours a week at Wendy’s to fund his education. After his graduation in 2004 and the start of a career at Verizon Wireless in Missoula, he began thinking about how to give back to the University as soon as possible. With his own story in mind, he decided to establish a scholarship for working college students.

“I asked if I could create a scholarship for someone who is majoring in business but working to pay their way through school,” Lang says. “Verizon will match up to $5,000 in gifts each year, so I knew I could double what I was able to give.”

He’s already working toward funding year two of the scholarship, and he’s received some creative help from his wife, Angela, as well as from guests who attended their July 14 wedding. In lieu of traditional gifts, the couple asked guests to contribute to the scholarship fund.

Such a move shows Lang’s passion for UM. During his college career, he performed as Monte, UM’s grizzly mascot. And he’s still a fixture at UM sporting events. In fact, his first date with Angela included dinner, a movie, and a Lady Griz basketball game.

“It was January 14 versus Weber State. I remember the Lady Griz won,” Lang says, recounting important details of the date.

“Angela’s a teacher, and both of us come from families of educators,” he says. His parents, Don and Carolyn Lang, supervise student teachers for the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences at UM.

“Angela knew about the scholarship, and she fully supported it,” he says. “So for our wedding, we asked people to donate money to fund the scholarship rather than give gifts.”

When asked about the experience of establishing a scholarship, Lang is an enthusiastic supporter.

“I would definitely encourage people to do something like it,” he says. “Everyone talks about leaving a legacy or making tomorrow better for their kids. This is the way to do it. You’re doing it for a good cause, it’s a charitable donation, and it’s personally rewarding. It will feel good on every level.”

On May 3, the first Work Pays Scholarship was awarded to Eric Johnson of Great Falls. Johnson’s college experience mirrors Lang’s, as he works twenty hours a week while attending school. His approach to both work and school made him the ideal recipient for the scholarship.

“When I began my studies at The University of Montana, I considered college just school,” Johnson says. “Now that I am starting the second semester of my junior year, I consider attending college my job. I truly believe in this comparison between work and class.”

Moving forward, the Terry and Angela Lang Work Pays Scholarship will help students such as Johnson pursue their dreams. It’s all because, when asked to support the future, Terry and Angela both said, “I do.”