Biography of Roger Barber
Roger Barber started to work for the Montana Constitutional Convention Preparatory Commission just days after graduating from law school and being sworn in as a practicing attorney in the State of Montana. A year earlier, Roger had written a story for the University of Montana public information office about the movement to call for a constitutional convention in Montana, and he vowed at that time to try and get a job at the historic event. He ended up writing the research document on revenue and finance issues in state constitutions, and was hired by the Convention itself to work as an aide and consultant to the Revenue and Finance Committee.
Roger grew up on a dry land farm near Denton, Montana. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Montana, and worked for the Western News in Libby, Montana, as its managing editor before going to law school. After completing his work at the historic Montana Constitutional Convention, he spent a year and a half in Washington, D.C., where he served as the Montana Intern in the office of the Honorable Lee Metcalf, U.S. Senator for Montana, and worked for the Indian Civil Rights Task Force in the Department of the Interior.
In 1974, Roger returned to Montana to begin his 32-year career as a teacher and administrator with the Montana University System. He spent four years as an assistant professor in the School of Business Administration at the University of Montana. In 1978, Roger moved to Havre, Montana, when his wife took a job with a Havre law firm. Two years later, he was hired by Northern Montana College (now Montana State University-Northern) as an assistant professor in its newly-authorized business program. He returned to the University of Montana to earn a Masters of Business Administration and spent 28 years at the Havre university.
During his years at MSU-Northern, Roger rose through the ranks of the faculty to become a full professor. He also served as chair of the business department, dean of its technical programs, provost of the University, and even spent a few months as acting chancellor of the institution.
In 2003, Roger was asked to fill the position of Deputy Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education for the Montana University System. He completed almost five years in that position, and retired in 2008.
Roger has been married for 43 years to Mary VanBuskirk, whom he met at the Montana Constitutional Convention. Mary’s mother, Edith VanBuskirk, was a delegate to the Convention and Mary had served as her campaign manager. Roger and Mary currently live in Whitefish, Montana, where they are both happily retired.
Barber, Roger and Barrett, Evan, "Biography of Roger Barber" (2016). Biographies and Photos of Series Participants. 53.