Mehrdad Kia gifted a collection of books to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library in 2001, which he has continued to expand. Dr. Kia received his M.A. (1980) and his Ph.D. (1986) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell College before coming to The University of Montana in 1989. He has studied the intellectual history of nineteenth century and early twentieth century Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and Transcaucasus. He has published extensively on the emergence of a new Muslim intelligentsia that focused primarily on issues of political modernization, socio-economic reform, and the relationship between the Islamic world and the West. Mehrdad Kia has won several teaching awards at The University of Montana including in 1997 the Distinguished Teacher of the Year and in 1999 the Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year. In 2000 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching directed by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education honored Professor Kia as one of the U.S. Professors of the Year.
In 2002, Dr. Kia was appointed as the Director of the Office of International Programs and Assistant Vice President for Research where he coordinates and oversees UM’s international activities. He continues to develop relationships with international partner institutions and organizations as well as oversee international research and development activities.