MSU President's Newspaper Column

November 26, 2022 

Giving thanks for those who make a difference

"The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.” -James E. Faust

As we take time to pause and reflect on our many blessings this Thanksgiving, I am drawn to thoughts of the many individuals who recognize the gift that Mayville State University is in our lives. This special place has and continues to change lives, not only for current students, but for those who have earned degrees and gone on to make a difference in the lives of others.

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.

Education was at the root of the foundation laid by our forefathers. By providing for an institution of higher education that could prepare teachers who would impact the future - our young people - those who came before us were successful in their desire to make lives better for those who came after.

For 133 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.

Our graduates make us Comet Proud! I am constantly in awe of them and the good they are doing. During the homecoming festivities last month, we were able to recognize several alumni who have done and continue to do amazing things.

To briefly mention a few, Dr. Ron Reilkoff went to medical school after graduating from Mayville State. He now practices in the areas of internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and critical care medicine. In addition, he’s an assistant professor, teacher, administrator, and researcher at the University of Minnesota. He oversees the intensive care units at the U of M Medical Center and directs a clerkship for medical students in intensive care medicine.

Jim Richardson, 1992 graduate, is a highly successful businessman who has literally climbed to the mountaintops to raise funds to support charities like Make a Wish and Operation Smile.

Dr. Joe Eisenmann, 1993 graduate, has dedicated his entire career to the development of young people in the context of physical activity, youth sports, and fitness. He’s currently head of strength and conditioning at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academy is the world’s most prestigious sport, performance, and educational institution.

The many Mayville State graduates who are every-day heroes making an impact in the K-12 classrooms, on the athletic courts and fields, in their businesses and on their farms, in clinics and hospitals, in their communities, and wherever they may go are also making an extremely important difference in our world. There is no doubt that the personal service our students come to know at Mayville State goes with them as graduates who personify this character throughout their careers and lives.

The members of the Mayville State family are making a positive impact for today and tomorrow. For this, and so much more, we are grateful.