Brian Van Horn.jpgApril 27, 2020


Welcome to my blog! I hope you’ll use this place as an opportunity to stay connected with Mayville State University. The Mayville State family has always been close, but especially during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, it takes a little creativity and thinking of out of the box to maintain relationships. This is one way we can keep in touch.

Comet Pride

I’m Comet Proud of our faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond to deliver the Mayville State University brand of personal service to our students and to each other during these uncertain times. It was a quick turn-around from business at usual up until spring break until the need to offer all classes online the Monday after spring break. Big kudos to our students, too, for their flexibility and willingness to help turn what could be perceived as lemons into lemonade.

While most faculty and staff are working from home through the end of the spring semester, some are on campus. The campus is open for business and observing the guidelines for social distancing. The Child Development Programs staff are providing much-needed child care for parents who continue to go to their job sites, including essential workers such as those employed in the medical field, public safety, and more. The dining services staff is providing meals during limited hours, feeding the handful of students who remain in the residence halls, faculty and staff who come to campus to work, and members of the community who take advantage of their curbside service. Physical plant and facilities services staff are keeping the campus in tip-top shape. The enrollment services and extended learning employees are busy recruiting new students, while serving the needs of our current students.

I congratulate all employees for their can-do attitudes. I know it is not easy to juggle the extra demands of all that is going on. Some are caring for children while doing their best to get their Mayville State work done as well. Others are caring for elderly parents or others who are at-risk. Just getting groceries and basic necessities is difficult right now. Thank you for doing all of that while giving your best for Mayville State and its students at the same time.

Virtual Student Success Day

I’ve truly enjoyed seeing the videos and photos our students, faculty, and staff have shared on social media. What a fun way for all of us to stay connected! On those lines, look for a new video coming from the advising center this week! This is our virtual version of Student Success Day. Students, this a reminder for you to take care of the things that need to be done so you’ll be prepared to return to Mayville State for the fall semester. As a bonus, you could win one of five $100 gift cards!

Let’s keep in touch!

Speaking of videos and social media, you’ll notice a variety of social media links scrolling across the bottom of this web page. We love that we can keep the Mayville State family connected in this way. I encourage you to use your social media to let us know what you’re up to. Using #MayvilleState, #CometProud, or #GDTBAC will help us to find your posts. If you’d like, send us your videos or photos directly at and we’ll post them via the Mayville State channels.

Great work, Comets!

I’ve got some shout-outs to members of the Mayville State family who are doing good things in the world:

  • Our student nurses are on the front line of this pandemic. They are experiencing an especially trying time right now and we should be incredibly proud of the work they are doing. While simultaneously remaining in our nursing program at Mayville State, they have let us know that they have been asked to work above and beyond their scheduled shifts (some of them as many as 20+ hours) in preparation for what is to come. They continue to coordinate their family life and are homeschooling their children as well, again, all while remaining enrolled in the RN-to-BSN program at Mayville State. Their commitments to the health care profession and to Mayville State should not go unnoticed.
  • Dr. Carolyn Baker, professor of English, has been editing a lexicography project (dictionary) for international translators. This is an extension of the writing project she just finished for them. Dr. Baker’s friend, Dr. Lavonne Larson, a long time educator and traveler in more than 60 countries, works in the Lutheran Social Services Elder Refugee Program in Fargo. She helps those new Americans, aged 60 and older practice their English and prepare for the citizenship test. She was a guest speaker in Dr. Baker’s ENGL/COMM course, “Intercultural Communication.” The students loved her real-life stories about working with refugees.
  • Mayville State’s Intercultural Club meetings continue each Thursday evening via Zoom. The students enjoy seeing one another and conduct club activity brainstorming. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is offering virtual office hours from Monday through Friday from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Dr. Michael Kjelland has made us proud again! Dr. Kjelland, Assistant Professor of Biology at Mayville State University, was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal story that focused on the clash between science and commerce over selling dinosaur fossils. People are buying rare fossils for millions of dollars. Paleontologists fear that if the wealthy continue to buy up the fossils, they will be lost to science because public institutions cannot afford to buy them. See the full story here.
  • Matt Dalrymple, an information systems technician with MSU Information Technology Services, has been putting his technological expertise to work to aid in the shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, he’s used his 3D printers to produce more than 150 ear relief bands, which are used to help relieve pressure on the ears caused by medical mask straps; and more than 50 face shields. See the full story here.
  • Several Mayville State elementary education methods course instructors facilitated the creation of videos and lessons created by our teacher candidates. These videos and lessons were shared with area teachers. Faculty reached out to area teachers asking them what types of lessons/standards they would like to have created. Faculty members expressed that this was an amazing experience for our teacher candidates as they got a hands-on understanding the creation of online teaching in their teacher preparation program.

I know there are many other stories to share, and I encourage all to let me or Beth Swenson know about the great work that continues so we can share the news with others.

May Day 2020

We are about to close out the month of April and look forward to the MSU Foundation May Day campaign on Friday, May 1. This special day has been designated as a time when we can all show our gratitude for “The School of Personal Service.” It’s the MSU Foundation’s annual giving day. “I’m Thankful for Mayville State” is the theme for the day.

We are asking our alumni and friends to consider making a gift on May 1 that will pay forward their appreciation for Mayville State University and how it has made a difference in their lives. At the same time, their generosity will have an impact in the lives of Mayville State University students in pursuit of their educational goals and dreams. It’s not uncommon for a scholarship to be the difference required to give a student a chance to attend Mayville State.

One of our thankful and supportive alumni families has pledged to match all gifts made on May Day, up to a total of $30,000! We could not be more Comet Proud and grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of this special family. We are truly blessed to count these and so many other big-hearted alumni and friends as members of the Mayville State family.

We understand that these are uncertain and difficult times for everyone and that a financial gift may not be possible at this time, but we encourage all to get involved by sharing their thoughts of gratitude on the May Day web page at or on your social media platforms. One of the best ways to show your support for Mayville State is through your words. Please express your Comet Pride on May 1 and every day … #MSUthankful.

A word of gratitude

I will close by expressing my profound gratitude to the members of the Mayville State University family. Each in his own way is making a positive difference in the world and I could not be more Comet Proud. The legacy of personal service continues.

Stay safe and be healthy,

Dr. Brian Van Horn, President

Mayville State University