MSU President's Newspaper Column

May 15, 2021

Grateful for the opportunity to host an in-person graduation celebration this spring

The employees of Mayville State have been busy preparing for a big celebration that will be held on campus May 15. The graduates have worked hard to reach this milestone and look forward with anticipation to this day, commencement day. We are very happy that we are able to offer an in-person graduation event, following COVID-19 safety guidelines. Some universities are offering only virtual options. At “The School of Personal Service” sharing in these special occasions with one another is valued and important. The graduation ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse.

Due to space restrictions related to following COVID-19 safety guidelines, we are asking the general public not to attend the ceremony in person, but rather to watch the livestream at

Festivities will begin with the traditional graduation brunch, hosted by the MSU Alumni Association. The meal and program will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Campus Center Luckasen Room. Representatives of the graduating class will bring greetings on behalf of all graduates. The brunch will be complimentary for all who attend, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Bell Bank. Attendance is by reservation only and families will be seated in pods to enhance COVID-19 safety.

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 Wellness Center gymnasium and the south corridor of the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. 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 Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tami Such, will make its way to the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse gymnasium. At the proper time, the members of 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.

Due to COVID-19 concerns and the need to social distance, space will be at a premium. Faculty will process through the auditorium and then go to a classroom in the fieldhouse where they can watch the ceremony via livestream. Only the graduates, platform party, emeritus faculty, and other faculty and staff ceremony assistants will be seated on the gymnasium floor. Also related to the need to social distance and space, the number of guests each graduate may invite is limited to four. Overflow seating for those who wish to bring more than four guests will be available in the Classroom Building Auditorium, where the ceremony will be livestreamed.

In addition to student speakers Mary Peterson and Kaitlyn Kuntz who will address the audience on behalf of the graduates, we are honored to have 1995 Mayville State graduate Michelle (Worner) Kommer as our commencement speaker.

Michelle is the founder and owner of HighRoad Partners, LLC. HighRoad Partners is a full-service health insurance agency specializing in group employer and individual benefit policies. The organization also provides “in-sourced” human resource solutions to businesses.

Prior to the launch of her business, Michelle accepted the invitation from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum to leave a successful career in the private sector for an exciting opportunity to join, learn, lead, and be a change maker as a public servant.  

Following Michelle’s address, the long-awaited moment will finally arrive … the awarding of diplomas. The graduates have worked very hard to earn their college diplomas and master’s degree hoods. It will be a pleasure to recognize them for their efforts.

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.