A generous group of Mayville State University alumni and friends from Mayville and around the country have put together the 125th Anniversary Legacy of Leadership Campaign Matching Challenge. A $250,000 fund has been pledged by this group of dedicated alums as a way to officially kick off a campaign offering a dollar-for-dollar match on any gift given to fund an artificial turf football field between now and December 31, 2014.

“Along with all of the excitement of our 125thAnniversary Alumni Days this weekend, we were elated to hear the news that this group of MSU leaders will pledge  a quarter of a million dollars to help us make a new football field of artificial turf a reality,” said John J. Klocke, executive director of the Mayville State University Foundation. 

In January of 2012, MSU was awarded a unique grant opportunity. If the university could raise money for a football or baseball artificial turf, the grant would reduce the cost of either field by 50%, so a football field that would normally cost over a million dollars could be constructed for $500,000. The grant and project idea was taken to the North Dakota University System (NDUS) for approval and the NDUS granted Mayville State University permission to raise funds for the project.

Klocke conducted an extensive feasibility study and exploration of the two-turf-field project over the last two years and it was clear that many alumni and friends were interested in the turf fields, with immediate interest in the football field where the turf would be a catalyst to the current enrollment growth in the burgeoning football program. The program experienced a winning season in 2013, the first in 23 years. 

A group of alumni leaders decided to put their money into the idea by offering a dollar-for-dollar challenge fund for the football field. When matched, the first $250,000 in donations of any size will turn into $500,000 to put toward installation of turf at the football field, Jerome Berg Field. This group of leaders includes Larry McGillis and family and Mayport Insurance, Tim and Karen Pratt, Jim and Helen Bisenius, Al and Marian Fagerholt, Chad Hanson, Kent Paulson, The Goose River Bank, Jon and Betsy Ewen, Jeff and Leann Strand, Terry Bachmeier, Gate City Bank, Tim Garrett, Joe and Karen Dunn, and Mike and Jennifer Osland.

“It’s time to make this happen,” said MSU President Gary Hagen. “We are deeply grateful to this group of leaders. They know that when MSU succeeds, the whole community benefits with us, and I think that is outstanding visionary leadership. We fully expect that other alumni will want to join us in this historic 125th anniversary campaign.”

“Now is the time for other leaders to join the team to make a difference for our young people,” said Larry McGillis. “We can do this together and have something that the whole community can be proud of. This challenge is to encourage young and old, individuals, businesses, and community groups to give a dollar and get a dollar match. We’re putting up this money because we believe it’s the right time to go to the next level.”

Klocke stated that the group hopes that all of their $250,000 fund will be matched by the end of the year. When the campaign is successfully completed, the group will then start a silent phase to explore baseball turf as well. Once all fundraising is complete, the university will seek approval from the North Dakota University System for construction of the turf project in the summer of 2015.

Comet football head coach Derek Schleive, who is coming off a winning season, said, “I encourage people to give what they can, whatever the gift size. Every gift matters. I know that when this field becomes a reality, we will finally be on a level playing field to compete for the best student athletes.” 

Mike Moore, MSU Athletic Director was instrumental in working to get the turf grant, and he had his own reasons for wanting turf. “We spend about $25,000 a year maintaining our fields. Having artificial turf could help us effectively eliminate those annual costs and that money can be put to use in other areas of our athletic department.”

The 125th Anniversary Legacy of Leadership Turf Campaign is now officially underway and Klocke, together with athletic staff, will be busy with interested alumni over the next six months, helping to make the dream of artificial turf a reality.

For more information about 125th Anniversary Legacy of Leadership Campaign Matching Challenge, contact John J. Klocke at 701-788-4787 or john.j.klocke@mayvillestate.edu.