Kyle Montague, 1978 Carlson Award Winner, Economics and Management Department

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by

1978 Carlson Award Winner, Kyle Montague, Economics and Management Department

Kyle Montague

The Edgar M. Carlson Award for Innovative Teaching was established by the Board of Trustees of Gustavus Adolphus College to honor the long and outstanding leadership Dr. Carlson gave our college. The award is made possible by a grant of $1,500 provided annually by former board member, Arnold J. Ryden of Minneapolis. Each year students and colleagues present the Board of Trustees with their nominees for the most outstanding and innovative teacher. This year’s award winner is Professor Kyle Montague of the Department of Economics and Business.

During the days of formal fraternity and sorority banquets, Kyle and the late George Anderson
were clearly the most able and popular speakers on the circuit. It was at one of these banquets that I heard him affirm, with stentorian finality, that he was a pathological Gustavian. Let me briefly examine this contention.

Kyle came to Gustavus as a freshman from Willmar in 1930. The great depression was one-year-old but Kyle and the college were not to be intimidated. That was the year that Gustavus received her first national recognition when Edgar Carlson and Wilton Bergstrand brought home the first place trophy from the National Pi Kappa Delta debating competition. Kyle went to work as a history major and quickly established himself as a brilliant debater and as Gustavus’ number one sports enthusiast. In those days his hair was a flaming red. It was only natural that in 1932 when Doris Nygren came on the scene from Wheaton, as the blondest of the blond (Kim Novak could almost have doubled for her), that the two would get together. They were known on campus as Titian and Blond. In 1934 Kyle and his buddy, Millard Ahlstrom, went to the National Debate Tournament in Lexington, Kentucky, to defend and attack the proposition, Resolved: that the powers of the President of the United States should be substantially increased as a settled policy. They survived ten rounds, bested 121 schools and made Gustavus unique in being the only school in the country to twice hold the championship. He graduated that year, 1934, as president of his senior class.

He was married to Doris in 1938 and taught in the public schools in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He entered the naval reserve in 1943 during World War II and after the war entered the Marquette University Law School. He practiced law in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and in 1949 he joined the Gustavus faculty in the department of economics and business. His next 29 years display an enviable record of dedicated, inspired and tireless teaching.

What are the special ingredients of Kyle’s formula for teaching? Perhaps forthrightness, conviction. When Kyle expounds on a principle of contract law, banking or taxation, all who hear know that he understands and believes what he is talking about. Students appreciate his forthrightness, his conviction and his dedication to truth. That is why his classes are so frequently overenrolled. It explains why his counselee list is never a single page document. It explains why so very many alumni seek him out on their return to campus. Kyle loves his teaching so much that he has been known to dismay over the length of the summer vacation! He loves teaching enough to maintain a separate teaching responsibility at the William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul to keep his perspective current. As one nominator summed it up, “Prof. Montague is truly a unique and unforgettable teacher.” Another speaks for many others in citing his concern for each student – a concern that transcends academics and reaches the student in his daily activities. We on the faculty especially appreciate his alert and incisive legal mind. We know that in faculty or committee debate Kyle will maintain our focus on issues and save us hours of fruitless talk.

In speaking of Kyle, an editor of the 1934 Gustavian concluded that he was one of the greatest debaters and intellects developed at Gustavus Adolphus College. The assessment still holds. Kyle, it is a rare privilege for me to present you with the Edgar M. Carlson Award for 1978.

But Kyle, I’ve been thinking. You can be wrong. It is not really resolved that you are a pathological Gustavian. The condition is not pathological at all. Though highly contagious, it’s normal -and we’re all glad you have it.

Presented by Arne Langsjoen
Professor of Chemistry
1977 Recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award


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