MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

April 26, 2014 

Commencement will be an extra-special celebration this year


The people of Mayville State are busy preparing for a big celebration that will be held on campus May 17. The graduates have worked hard to reach this milestone and look forward to with anticipation to this day, commencement day.

Festivities will begin with the traditional graduation brunch, hosted by the MSU Alumni Association. The event will start out with socializing in the Campus Center Foyer from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. A sit-down meal and program will begin at 11:00 a.m. The brunch program will be emceed by Alumni Association board member Pam Soholt. Representatives of the graduating class will bring greetings on behalf of all graduates.  

We are grateful to Gate City Bank, who is sponsoring the brunch. Their financial support is helping to make it possible for us to offer this brunch free of charge to the graduates and their families, as well as any faculty and staff who attend. We look forward to a time of socializing with the graduates and their families.

Following the graduation brunch, the graduates, together with Mayville State faculty and staff who will march in the academic procession and the graduation platform party will gather in the Classroom Building Auditorium. There will be a bustle of activity as graduates get into their gowns and do their best to get those mortarboards and tassels properly placed on their heads.

Once everyone is in his or her appointed place, the procession, led by mace bearer Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Keith Stenehjem, will leave the Classroom Building and make its way to the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. At the proper time, the platform party will take their places on stage, followed by faculty and staff and the graduates who will have seats reserved on the floor directly in front of the stage.

We are honored this year to have Senator John Hoeven as our commencement speaker. When I began my tenure as president of Mayville State, Hoeven was North Dakota’s governor. He was very helpful to me and to Mayville State when we were in a time of need. Governor Hoeven stepped in and provided a $1 million request to help with strategic planning and dealing with critical deferred maintenance, and he also gave me access to his staff for assistance in planning. His support provided the springboard for the success we’re currently experiencing at Mayville State. To show our gratitude, Hoeven will be presented with the Mayville State University Distinguished Service Award during the commencement ceremony.

Then the long-awaited moment will finally arrive … the awarding of diplomas. The graduates have worked very hard to earn their college diplomas. It will be a pleasure to recognize them for their efforts.

Following the graduation ceremony, the faculty and officers of the institution will host a commencement reception for the graduates and their guests in the Campus Center Luckasen Room. It just so happens that commencement falls on May 17, or as it is affectionately known by Norwegians, the Syttende Mai, Norwegian Independence Day. Since we are celebrating Mayville State’s 125th anniversary this year, and because the majority of those who were instrumental in seeing that a college would be located at Mayville were of Scandinavian descent, we feel it is very appropriate that our graduation celebration have a Norwegian flair. The local Sons of Norway group will be teaming up with us to provide a taste of Scandinavia at the reception. We’re grateful to the Sons of Norway volunteers who will be helping to provide a special cultural experience for our graduates and guests.

While commencement marks an end, the end of an educational journey with the earning of a degree, commencement is a beginning, the beginning of a new chapter in life for the new graduates. We look forward to hearing the good news of the achievements of these special members of the Mayville State family as they go out and make an impact in the world, and we hope that they will continue their educational journeys as lifelong learners.

The graduation ceremonies begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Lewy Fieldhouse and are open to the public. We’d love to have you share in this very special day at Mayville State University. Please plan to join us in showing our appreciation to Senator Hoeven, while congratulating our newest graduates.