MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

December 14, 2019 

Private financial support makes doing good work a team effort

We are truly grateful to the Edson and Margaret Larson Foundation for the ways in which they have supported Mayville State and made our institution better. While Edson and Margaret didn’t attend Mayville State, they lived in the Mayville community and recognized the importance of the university to the community, and vice versa.

Edson and Margaret were regular attendees at Mayville State events, including the former M-300 Club festivities that took place at various times each year. Edson frequented Mayville State’s Byrnes-Quanbeck Library and enjoyed reading periodicals there. Margaret’s dad, Norman Brunsdale, former North Dakota governor, also recognized the impact Mayville State had in the community and staunchly supported the institution throughout his lifetime.

The Larson Foundation, established upon the deaths of Edson and Margaret, has provided funding that has been life-changing for Mayville State. They have helped us get new programs up and running, provided scholarship assistance for students, and more.

Several years ago, the Larson Foundation provided a substantial gift that helped us to be able to follow through with the renovation of what used to be known as Northwest Hall to the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center. The beautifully restored historic building located on the Mayville State campus is providing office space for the MSU Foundation and a place for alumni and friends to gather.

We’ve just learned that the Larson Foundation will be providing significant funding for scholarships that will be awarded to student leaders. They have regularly supported scholarships for students, and their generosity has most definitely made a difference in the lives of students in pursuit of their educational goals and dreams.

The Larson Leadership Program that was in place for a number of years provided opportunities for students to be mentored in the area of leadership. Through this program, several guest lecturers brought a wide range of leadership expertise to campus and shared it with students, faculty, and staff.

The Larson Foundation has also provided funding that has helped us get two highly successful new programs, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the RN-to-BSN nursing program, off to a great start. Both programs are offered online.

Mayville State began offering the MAT degree program in 2016. Mayville State’s first graduate program, it focuses on teacher-leadership and is designed to assist persons with non-teaching bachelor’s degrees to apply for initial teacher certification. With the shortage of teachers in North Dakota, the program plays an important role in serving the state’s workforce needs.

The program has grown steadily. Twenty-five students are now taking graduate classes, and 14 students have been awarded master’s degrees.

Graduates of the MAT program speak highly of their Mayville State experience. One said, “The instructors are top-notch and really know their content. Also, I feel like each of them truly cares about your success. I feel completely confident that I will be able to start my first year as a teacher applying a wide variety of teaching methods.”

The RN-to-BSN nursing program which began in 2015 has been wildly successful. Right now, 55 students are enrolled. A total of 159 people have earned the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Mayville State since the program began a few years ago.

The entirely online accelerated nursing program is offered in a five-week block format, which allows students to enroll in one to two classes at a time, with completion of the bachelor’s degree in nursing in as few as 12 months.

The need for nurses, not only state-wide, but nationwide, is incredible. Through this program, which educates bachelor’s degree-level nurses, Mayville State is having a huge impact on a critical healthcare and workforce need.

We’re now working to take the nursing program at Mayville State to the next level. Last spring, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education gave us approval to begin offering a master’s degree in nursing. A Higher Learning Commission accreditation team will be on campus in early January, and with their approval, we’ll begin offering the program immediately. We couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to help our community, state, and nation.

Our success at Mayville State is a team effort. Private contributions, like those we’ve received from the Larson Foundation, help us to make a difference in the lives of individual students, as well as to have a positive impact in our community, state, and nation. We consider it to be a privilege, and we sincerely appreciate our partners who help to make it possible.