MSU President's Newspaper Column

November 25, 2023 

Giving thanks for our many blessings

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” - Neal A. Maxwell

As we take time to pause and reflect on our many blessings this Thanksgiving, my thoughts go immediately to the many people who make Mayville State University the special place it is. At “The School of Personal Service,” people are the priority. Faculty and staff provide the highest level of service to students and that way of life is emulated by the students who are served.

When students leave Mayville State, they are not only equipped with a great educational background that sets them on paths of successful careers, they also benefit from the lessons in personal service that give them a big advantage in the workplace, in their communities, and quite simply, in their lives. These are people who go into the world and make it a better place. They make us Comet Proud!  

We are grateful for the pioneers who came before us and worked hard to establish an institution of higher education in Mayville, North Dakota. They had great foresight in seeing that North Dakota’s constitution provided for a normal school at Mayville when the state was accepted into the Union on Nov. 2, 1889.

Being able to provide quality education for future generations was extremely important to the immigrants who came to our area in search of better lives. We are the beneficiaries of an immeasurable gift. It is our job to take the baton and preserve the legacy of better lives that became the foundation for our city, region, and state.

To have a university in a small, rural community and county is something for which we can all be grateful. The university provides educational opportunities for students and employment opportunities for others. Mayville State University makes an important economic impact in Traill County, as well as the counties around us which include Grand Forks County, Steele County, Cass County, and more.

For 134 years, Mayville State University has been impacting North Dakota by preparing teachers who expand the horizons of young people. Mayville State’s mission has expanded over the years to include more than preparing teachers. We are now not only educating future teachers, but we are also educating future businesspeople, those with agricultural interests, scientists, nurses, and more.

We are incredibly grateful for our alumni and friends who support the university and our students. The support is strong, and the avenues are many. Every form of support is invaluable.

One form of support comes in the way of financial benevolence. The endowment balance in the MSU Foundation is at an all-time high, as are total assets. In just the last few months we’ve been blessed to have alumni and friends establish four new scholarship endowments. A gift from a member of the Gransberg Family has provided an estate gift of $1 million to help people who wish to become teachers. Many long-time donors have stepped forward with substantial gifts as well. All gifts, no matter the size, make a big difference and we appreciate the donors and the gifts more than words can say. These gifts are often the opportunity a student needs to seek higher education when times are challenging.

The North Dakota legislature has provided $52 million in state funding to support the renovation of our beloved Old Main. Preliminary work is underway with a goal of project completion in the summer of 2026. This much-needed project that will benefit our students, faculty, and staff from a life safety point of view is a great vote of confidence in the mission of Mayville State University. We could not be more grateful.

When we count our blessings at Mayville State, the list is very long. I couldn’t begin to write down each and every one that positively impacts the university, but it is important to note that all are very important and sincerely appreciated … and so, for the blessings listed here, and so much more, we are thankful.