Bozeman, Montana State College

Part of the Pirsig Pages of Psybertron by Ian Glendinning (Last update 5th June 2004)
Concerning Robert M Pirsig author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Pirsig taught English / Rhetoric at Montana State College (MSC), Bozeman 1959 to 1961

Not a single mention of Pirsig in the MSU web-site pages (though his books are held in the College library).
Verne Dusenberry with whom Pirsig shared an interest in Indian anthropology is recorded though.

Originally Montana Agricultural College (MAC) founded February 16th 1893, it became known as MSC in the 1920's, Pirsig was there 1959 to 1961 and it became Montana State University (MSU) July 1st 1965.

From MSU History Pages [Quote] With the fear of communism escalating throughout the country, due in large measure to the Korean War and the hysteria spread by Senator Joseph McCarthy, President Renne felt obliged to keep careful watch over how the university was perceived by the public and the legislature.  Although President Renne was a committed liberal and strongly supported the right to academic freedom, he was forced to downplay his ideals in order to secure funds for the expansion of MSC.  He even went so far as to deny Eleanor Roosevelt permission to speak on campus.[Unquote]

Pirsig explains (Z25 p146/149) the college was going through the moves to get accreditation as a University (1965) whilst he was there (1959/61), and that his radical teaching methods brought him into conflict with the authorities. It is also cited (Z25 p105) that when the State Governor was killed in a plane crash, he had a list of 50 radicals, which included Pirsig (Montana governor Donald Nutter was one of six killed when their plane crashed in a snowstorm near Wolf Creek on 25th January 1962).  Pirsig jokingly makes reference to the Eleanor Roosevelt ban quoted above (Z25 p106), alluding that one didn't have to be all that  radical to get on such a list at that time.

Pirsig revisits MSC with son Chris, Tuesday 16th July 1968 whilst on the ZMM trip.

Chris, now aged 11, mentions (Z25 p175) recognising the "house with the funny roof" (Montana / Old Main Hall) , from earlier memories aged 3 and 4.

Recent (1999?) picture below.
Roof-line, flues and cupola, subject to minor development over the years, but the cupola remains the trademark image of MSU.

Picture of unknown date below. (Linfield Hall on right built 1909)

Picture from 1914 below.

Gary Wegner's 1978 Picture collection. Just one example below.
(Notice the absence of a cupola at this point, just a nest of PA speaker horns.
Gary currently uses an image of the front door as the entry page to his ZMM Route WebSite.)