Ullman saw the value in vocational education

(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series about namesake properties in and around Glendive and the people for whom they are named.)
Hunter Herbaugh Ranger-review Staff Writer
Sunday, January 23, 2022
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Harold Ullman

There are many different types of people whose names are remembered in a community. Some were highly visible community leaders who put a lot of effort into ensuring growth and prosperity of their community. Others are well known for their service to the community, either putting in many hours of community service or being a respected business owner that has provided a necessary service for many, many years.

Others, meanwhile, may have been much more humble, but provided passionate support for some thing they cared about, their generosity was what set them apart.

This is the case for Harold Ullman, namesake of the Dawson Community College Ullman Center.

Ullman was a life-long Glendive resident, having been born in 1907 and passing away at Glendive Medical Center just shy of his 90th birthday in 1997. Throughout his life, he was a business owner and member of several service organizations, though those aren’t the reasons he has a building named after him.

Ullman is instead remembered for his support of vocational education. Allen Sevier, local resident and associate of Ullman, said that Ullman felt a hands-on, nontraditional education was every bit as important as any other education that students receive. That’s why, when Ullman was doing his estate planning in 1984, he donated $100,000 to the college to expand its vocational programs.

“He was very generous and very kind, he was the kind of guy that put his money where his mouth was,” Sevier said.

Of course, that donation probably wouldn’t have been possible if Ullman hadn’t chosen a more quiet and humble path for his life. Born and raised in Glendive, Ullman graduated from Dawson County High School in 1925 as valedictorian of his class. His obituary states he then attended college only for a “brief time” before returning to Glendive.

When he did return home, he began working in the Glendive Greenhouse, which his family owned and operated, with his father. He eventually came to be the owner of the Greenhouse himself. Sevier noted that of the things people remember Ullman for, it’s that he could usually be found with his hands at work in the greenhouse everyday. He also took it upon himself to plant flowers all over town, especially around the Barry Street Underpass. He eventually sold the greenhouse when he retired.

According to Sevier, Ullman was able to amass a fairly substantially estate as he didn’t have a wife or children and he lived quite frugally. He was able to pass part of his estate onto the college. He worked with his good friend Don Kettner, a past president of DCC who also has a building on campus named after him, Kettner Hall, to decide how the money would be spent, which resulted in the construction of the Ullman Center. The building was completed in 1987.

Reach Hunter Herbaugh at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.