MSU President's Newspaper Column

December 9, 2023 

Gratitude for the value-added elements of a Mayville State education

Attending the December 3 Mayville State Music Department holiday concert was pure enjoyment and a great opportunity to take in the sounds of the season. Musical selections were performed by the Mayville State concert band and concert choir. They were joined by a number of faculty, staff, and community members for some of the pieces. Mayville State Instructor of Music Dr. Byron Ward directed the groups. I commend them and thank them for a wonderful afternoon.

Being in the audience during the concert gave me time to not only revel in the music, but also time to reflect on the heartwarming camaraderie that was displayed as our students, faculty, staff, and community members came together to create beautiful music.

I could not help but think about how much our students value the interaction between the campus and community. When asked, nearly every student mentions the community as one of the reasons they are happy with their Mayville State experience. Students are grateful when members of the community interact with them while they are in the local stores and restaurants. The support of community members for Mayville State’s athletic teams and performing and other groups cannot be underestimated. It’s important in so many ways.

As I enjoyed the concert, I thought about how collaborations such as this are teaching lessons in values and civic responsibility. The opportunity to be so closely connected to members of the community sets the Mayville State experience apart and gives a value-added component to earning a college degree. Through their participation, the faculty, staff, and community members were setting examples in the importance of supporting one another.

It seems that the negativity and social unrest in our world are constantly clouding our view of what’s important. We tend to forget that the simple things in life, such as supporting one another and working together for the greater good, should take priority.

At Mayville State, we may not have the flashy facilities and the material amenities that can make bigger institutions appealing, but we recognize that the things we do have are extremely valuable. At “The School of Personal Service,” we care about one another and make it our goal to give students the best possible education, which includes the academic requirements, as well as meaningful life experiences. We don’t worry about what we don’t have. Instead, we make the most of what we do have, and move forward with grateful hearts, knowing that through our efforts, the world is a better place.

The late Jim Lyng was someone who helped Mayville State students to have an exceptional value-added experience. Jim worked as a custodian in the athletic department for 32 years. During that time, he interacted with countless students, approximately 2,000 who worked with him as student employees, and others who simply participated in varsity athletics.

The people who associated with Jim learned lessons in hard work, being present, supporting one another, and doing what needs to be done. They also learned lessons in practical applications, like how to make repairs and how to prepare a facility for events. Jim was known to aid students from time to time with kind words, jobs, job advice, and a dollar or two. These Mayville State graduates appreciated their mentor, Jim, and he was often the person they looked to see when returning to campus in the years following their graduation.

Jim’s thoughtfulness and kind heart extended well beyond his time as a Mayville State employee. Upon his death in 2021, Jim provided for Mayville State University and its students through an estate gift. A portion of the gift is providing academic scholarships for Mayville State students. In addition, the Jim Lyng Flat Tire Scholarship has been established. Funds are available for one-time “bump in the road” expenses that are significant enough to impact a student’s ability to continue as a Mayville State student. Examples include food or fuel assistance, computer issues, phone or connectivity issues, tuition shortages, loss of employment, and vehicle/transportation issues.

Jim Lyng was known as one of the kindest souls to walk the campus of Mayville State University. He represented the values for which Mayville State stands. We are extremely grateful for Jim and the lasting impact he has made for the alumni and current and future students of Mayville State University. Jim made the world a better place during his life, and that goodness continues even after he is no longer with us. We are truly grateful.

See a video holiday greeting from the Mayville State Music Department.