MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

September 13, 2014


Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees will be honored during homecoming festivities

The Mayville State University Alumni Association Board and Mayville State administration approved the establishment of the Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Mayville State University in 2013. The purpose of the PAHOF is to honor and preserve the memory of those who performed in band, choir, speech, or theater, and the representative faculty, and others who have contributed in a very outstanding and positive way to the promotion of Mayville State University performing arts programs.

The executive committee of the PAHOF worked to refine by-laws for the organization and get the selection process in place. Executive committee members are Mike Bakken, MSU music director; Bob Sylskar, director of MSU theater department; Lucia Jacobson, Alumni Association Board member; and Herb Thomson, performing arts alumni representative. Director of Alumni Affairs Beth Swenson and I are ex-officio, non-voting members of the executive committee.

A selection committee met in July to select this year’s inductees, who will be honored during Homecoming 2014 festivities. A program will be held as part of the annual Homecoming concert which begins at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 in the Classroom Building Auditorium. The Alumni Association will host a reception to honor the inductees in the Campus Center Luckasen Room immediately following the concert.

The individuals who will be inducted this year are Kris Eylands (’78), a professional guitar player from Grand Forks; Jeffrey Nelson (’74), former president and owner of Popplers Music, from Northwood, N.D.; Bob Sylskar (’84), associate professor of English, speech, and theatre and director of theatre and forensics at Mayville State; and Dr. Anthony P. Thein, Mayville State professor emeritus of music, from Minneapolis, Minn.

These folks will join the inaugural inductees, who were honored during last year’s homecoming festivities. They are former faculty members Merwyn Green (posthumously); Francis Colby, Fargo, N.D.; and Dr. Christopher Jones, Pinson, Ala. The Clark and Joann Ewen family of Mayville was inducted in the honorary category for their steadfast support for music and all of the arts at Mayville State University and in the entire Mayville-Portland community. Dennis Connelly (’72), Bismarck, N.D., was inducted in the professional musician category. Vernon Gerig, Jr. (’58) was recognized posthumously as a representative of the music industry. Eugene Gaffney (’57), Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Olaf Ringerud (’52), Carrington, N.D., were recognized for their great success as music educators.

Plaques recognizing the members of the MSU Performing Arts Hall of Fame are on permanent display in the lighted case located in the corridor that joins the Science Building to the Campus Center, at the far west end of the Classroom Building.

In addition to executive committee members, selection committee members for the Performing Arts Hall of Fame are Ruth Hall (‘72), Barb Mahar (‘68), David Trottier (‘77), Debby Haugen (‘72), Greta Paschke (’85, ‘99), John Dungan (‘84), Kelly Kornkven (‘01), and Samantha DeLong (‘10). To the extent possible, the selection committee is made up of one representative of speech/theater and one representative of music from each decade within the last six decades of the present year.

We are elated by the opportunity to recognize these Mayville State alumni and friends who have made a difference for others throughout their careers. We have so many successful alumni. We are very proud of them, and it is a privilege to recognize them for their good work.

Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for the Homecoming 2014 festivities when we honor the Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees, as well as this year’s Athletic Hall of Fame and Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame inductees. The 1960-61 basketball team; Richard Fugleberg (’67), Portland, N.D.; Ross Johnson (’77), Portland, N.D.; Travis Lindgren (’03), East Grand Forks, Minn.; and Lindsey (Eliason) McMenamy (’03), Fargo, N.D.; will be inducted into the Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame at the annual Hall of Fame Dinner. Rod MacDonald (’66), Portland, N.D.; Fabian Shoults (’58), Rogers, Minn.; Curtis Strand (’78), Stewart, Minn.; and Paul Twenge (’77), Excelsior, Minn.; will each be inducted into Mayville State Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame.

See all the details about Homecoming 2014, October 3-5, at or call 701-788-4750 for more information.