MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

April 27, 2019

Commencement is a time for reflection

Mayville State University’s 2019 commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 11. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the MSU Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. The day’s festivities will begin with the traditional graduation brunch. The brunch, hosted by the MSU Alumni Association, serves as the first official event for the new alumni and their families. May 11 will no doubt be an extra-special day.

We are delighted that 1987 Mayville State graduate Brad Wehe of Grand Forks, N.D. will be our keynote speaker for commencement. Brad earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mayville State and went on to become a physical therapist. He then moved into administrative roles at Altru Health System, where he was named chief executive officer starting on January 1 of this year. It is a distinct honor for us to have Brad with us on commencement day. We know his remarks will be inspirational to our newest graduates.

The graduates have worked hard to reach this milestone in their lives and we look forward to commencement day with great anticipation. This day is a culmination of much effort not only from the graduates, but from their family members, as well as the faculty and staff of Mayville State. As each graduate crosses the stage and is awarded his or her diploma, we are all Comet Proud and have a feeling of achievement.

Commencement is a time of reflection for the graduates. As they look forward to embarking on a new road in the journey of life, they also look at where they’ve been. I recently had the opportunity to hear the thoughts of two Mayville State students who will graduate on May 11.

Ali Schoneman, Wahpeton, N.D., will earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in business administration. Here are Ali’s thoughts.

“Attending Mayville State online has been a fun experience with many laughs and stories. One of my best memories is hearing the students in my class ask on a recording where I was, so I’d answer a question for which they didn’t have the answer. My Mayville State experiences will impact my future as they have given me the knowledge for my future career and helped me realize how self-disciplined I truly am.

“Mayville State Associate Professor of Business Dustin Olson has greatly impacted my life. He is a stand-out professor, going above and beyond to help students understand and apply the information he teaches. He provides laughs and has an honest interest in what the students do in their free time.

“Having someone take the time to help each and every student helps me realize that individual relationships are important, and I hope to bring that to my future positions. Earning a degree from Mayville State has been an opportunity for which I am grateful.”

Michael Slaba, Canby, Minn., has earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree. His area of study was biology. Michael is a fifth-year senior who transferred to Mayville State from a junior college in Estherville, Iowa. He says he has quite a few amazing memories from his time at Mayville State, from winning conference championships with the men’s basketball team to presenting biological research at the INBRE conference in Grand Forks.

Michael said, “I have had the opportunity to work with the amazing staff o Mayville State in a variety of settings. I have worked with Dr. Joseph Mehus by being one of his research assistants for two summers. I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Sarah Anderson and present at a major education conference in Bismarck, N.D. These two professors have definitely impacted my life. Dr. Mehus pushed me to want to learn more about the world of science and never settle for anything. Dr. Anderson has molded me for effective teaching and has been an amazing mentor throughout my college career.

“Mr. Jeff Hovde has been my faculty adviser for all four years here and it feels like yesterday that I was sitting down with him and planning this long journey out. He has been an incredible professor to learn from and has helped me stay on track throughout this journey.

“These three individuals are just a few of the exceptional staff here at Mayville State who have helped me to become the man I am today. My experiences at Mayville State have already affected my future and will continue to do so.

“I have signed a teaching contract at Martin County West Public Schools in Sherburn, Minn. Throughout my interviewing process, many schools were intrigued by me, simply because of the college where I am earning my education. I believe this says a lot about Mayville State University. I have made incredible friends who have become part of my extended family. I have been blessed to have been a part of this special place where I have been welcomed by so many people. I came here as a kid from Canby, Minn., with not a clue of who anyone was here. I did not even know this school existed. Somehow God led me to this place and now I am leaving this May a father and a college graduate with an extensive support system that I hold dear to my heart. Thank you for everything, Mayville State.”

It is truly an honor to have a role in helping our students have outstanding experiences and to make a positive difference in their lives. We look forward to celebrating the realization of their educational hopes and dreams with them and their families on May 11.