MSU President's Newspaper Column

January 27, 2024 

Employees make the Mayville State Experience stand apart 

As I have said over and over again, Mayville State University is all about the people. Our staff and faculty are at the core of all that happens. These people are fundamental to the university’s success. Our employees are not only vital in day-to-day operations, but their attributes of personal service set the Mayville State Experience apart for students.

As were all North Dakota state agencies, the university was closed for business in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 15. I stopped by Head Football Coach and Interim Athletic Director Rocky Larson’s office. Much to my surprise, I found several of the football coaches in the office working on recruitment of student athletes.  Jake Litecky, Michael Koch, Kyle Otineru, Nick Flesland, and Tim Martin were spending the day reaching out to prospective students who they had met while out visiting high schools in various parts of the area and country. Student recruitment is not an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, and I am grateful to these coaches for taking their own time for the betterment of the university, even while their sport is not in season.

Having out of the ordinary hours and going above and beyond is not uncommon for employees across the Mayville State campus. We hosted men’s and women’s basketball games at the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse the weekend prior. I was extremely impressed with the work of the custodial and physical plant employees who were working hard to make sure all who attended the games would be in a safe and comfortable environment. The weather was causing some challenges, and our employees were doing their best to stay ahead of those challenges to accommodate fans coming and going from the games.

Mother Nature has provided some hurdles for those trying to keep the sidewalks and entrances to buildings safe. Freezing rain and fog has caused streets and sidewalks to be extremely treacherous over the last month or so. I commend our Building Services and Maintenance staff for their tireless work to try to get ahead of it so that our students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors would be safe. They have been relentless about applying ice melt, shoveling snow, and chopping ice in addition to their regular duties.

I tip my hat to Building Services custodial staff Tracy Juhnke, Marissa Blaufuss, Becky Jorgensen, Nicole Midstokke, Brad Papenfuss, John Peterson, Eric Rice, Gary Stordahl, and Karen Peterson; along with Maintenance Supervisor Doug Eastman and Maintenance Tech Brian Poppema. These people work extremely hard to ensure that the campus and its people are well-cared for. I am grateful.

I also recognize the unsung heroes who keep us warm throughout the fall, winter, and spring months. It’s easy to overlook the work they are doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but if they weren’t doing their jobs, we’d realize it in a hurry. Thank you to Heating Plant Supervisor Jon Nygard and operators Kevin Hanson, Jim Meyers, and Kiana Bayus. You are very much appreciated.

The Building Services, Maintenance, and Heating Plant staff are overseen by Facilities Services and Physical Plant Director Bob Kozojed. He wears many hats and does a super job of keeping everything running smoothly. Thank you, Bob.

I would be remiss in not recognizing Dining Services Interim Director Drew Steele and his staff for keeping us fed seven days a week, even when the campus may be closed for inclement weather. This crew works extremely hard every day and takes on additional special event work as well. Thank you. Dining Services staff includes Mathew Karolus, Meggi Mitzel, Brielle Rodgers, Debbie Sletten, Matthew Eastman, and several students.

Mayville State is blessed to have employees who truly care about the work they do. It shows, not only in the finished product, but in the way they treat others with respect and consideration. Even though their names may not be listed specifically here, I recognize all employees for what they do and how they make Mayville State University a truly special place.