University Hall has housed generations of university presidents. High turnover rates in the leadership of the University of Montana reflect the challenges of higher education in Montana. A long-running feud between prominent Montana businessmen William Clark and Marcus Daly and the resulting political conflicts resulted in the establishment of several university campuses in the state, including the University of Montana (originally known as Montana State University). Historian Michael Malone contends that there are simply too many campuses for such a lightly populated state to support.” [p. 60] The resulting difficulties have contributed to frequent changes in university administration.
While the leadership of the university has changed, University Hall has remained much the same. Former campus maintenance supervisor Herbert Lee Torgrimson, who worked on campus from the 1930s through the 1970s, recalled some changes to the building in a 1991 interview: “The clock faces that are on Main Hall: that used to be solid blackboard with the hands on it.” Torgrimson also explained how the iconic carillon works: “There's no keys and such like on a piano. What there are is sticks that are like a keyboard. You hit those with your fist. They're hooked by a wire to a little lever that hits the bell.”
As journalist Martin Kidston wrote in 2014, Main Hall maintains its grandeur . . . . Alumni and students gather on its steps each Homecoming for singing and reminiscing.