President's Column for Traill County Tribune
November 23, 2019
Jeff Sieg had a profound impact at ‘The School of Personal Service’
We lost a beloved member of the Mayville State University family last week. Jeff Sieg, Professor of Science, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the age of 61. Jeff’s death has left our faculty, staff, students, and alumni feeling so very sad, and stunned as it was so unexpected.
Jeff grew up in the Emerado, N.D. area and graduated from Larimore (N.D.) High School. After earning his college degrees, he taught science for a number of years at Emerado Middle School before becoming a faculty member at Mayville State University.
Professor Sieg really loved teaching and especially enjoyed getting to know his students. According to his obituary, “They brought much joy to his life.” He made learning fun, an aspect of that fun for which he was well-known was taking a genuine interest in each student as a person. One of the ways in which he showed his care for students was by coming up with clever and meaningful nicknames for each of them.
Because he was so well-loved, respected, and admired, Jeff was nominated for the Mayville State Teacher of the Year Award in numerous academic years. He received the award multiple times, most recently in the 2018-2019.
A former faculty colleague of Sieg’s said, “Jeff was simply one of our best. I was fortunate to visit his class and witness his rapport with his students and the learning that took place.”
A former student said, “Jeff was one of my very first professors at Mayville State, and he made Mayville State an amazing place. While I only had him for one class, he would always stop me in the halls to say hello throughout my time as a student. He really had a gift of making every student feel special. I will forever remember when he came to class in a leather jacket and gloves to teach a lesson about gears, and he danced to ‘Little Honda.’”
It seemed that Jeff made it a point to be in the halls of the Science Building as people were moving from class to class. It was his opportunity to greet people, have a short, but meaningful conversation with them, and to help make their day better. He was so very genuine in his concern for others, and that has had such a positive impact on many, many people, students, faculty, and staff. Jeff demonstrated “personal service” at its finest.
A former staff member said, “He was the person you hoped you would see coming around the corner because you just knew he was going to make your day better.”
I had the great privilege of having that same experience on numerous occasions. After walking away from a visit with Jeff, you had a better feeling about the day and the world around us. I know that the sentiment is shared widely among members of the Comet family.
Jeff knew that positivity is a key to a happy life, and he used that gift for the betterment of all who had the good fortune to know him. He had a profound impact, and the members of Mayville State family will always be grateful for all that he meant to them.
That message came across loud and clear as we bid our farewells at the funeral service held in Mayville State’s Lewy Lee Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 16. A section of bleachers spanning basically the whole south side of the gymnasium was filled with Jeff’s current and former students, as well as MSU faculty and staff. That spoke volumes to me.
We will keep Jeff’s wife, Joy, as well as his surviving family members and friends in our thoughts and prayers during the days, months, and years to come, and we will treasure the memory of this extra-special man who meant so much to so many. Blessed be the memory of Jeff Sieg. We pray that he will rest in peace.