MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

June 29, 2019

Grill & Chill Barbeque in the Ewen backyard is over-the-top

“Perfect” is the word that comes quickly to my mind as I reflect on the wonderful time had by all who attended the Grill & Chill Barbeque at the home of Jon and Betsy Ewen Sunday, June 23. I had the privilege of co-hosting the event with Jon and Betsy, and I couldn’t have been more Comet Proud to be a part of it.

The event, which was donated by Jon and Betsy, was offered as an auction item at the MSU Foundation Glitz & Glam Gala in February. The experience far exceeded the expectations set forth in the item description provided at the auction. It was sold to seven groups of eight people who were Mayville State University supporters community-wide. We truly appreciate all who made donations for an opportunity to attend the party. This kind of support truly makes a difference for Mayville State and its students.

June 23 was a particularly beautiful summer day, and folks began to gather about 4 p.m. While mingling and visiting, they were treated to a variety of beverages, including craft beer made by local brew master Jason Middlestead. Among his four selections was a special Blue Comet lager. How cool! The Ewens’ son, Mike, and Ross Capouch served as bartenders extraordinaire, serving up extra-special tasty drinks. Jon’s collection of yard games kept people busy and having fun.

Genius barbecue chefs Drew Balstad and Sam Olson had been working for days and nights to prepare a feast fit for royalty. We were treated to scrumptious beef brisket, pulled pork, and chicken, along with macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, spinach salad, and baked beans. To top it off, pastry chef Tyler Hausauer was making biegnets to order and was serving this delectable along with delicious freshly-baked peach and apple pie, as well as chocolate chip cookies. Wow!

Throughout the evening, musicians kept the atmosphere lively. We all enjoyed the sounds of the First & Farmers Filharmonic, a brass ensemble that included Mike Bakken, Tom Moe, Dennis Peterson, Paul Hanson, and Wendell Van Wechel. This group tag teamed with vocalist Jessica Vines and her guitar player Connor Lee. Vines and Lee often provide music on the Fargo-Moorhead brewery circuit. They all did a fantastic job!

I am grateful beyond words to Jon and Betsy Ewen and their family for their over-the-top hospitality and generosity in providing this amazing experience with class and elegance. They were assisted by the helping hands of Allison and Greg Krieger, along with MSU Alumni Association board members Cindy Petersen, Don and Mary Cavalier, Doug Anderson, and Cleone Whelan. The success of Mayville State is a team effort, and the work of our faithful and diligent volunteers plays an integral part. We are blessed to have these folks on Team Mayville State!

Events such as the Glitz & Glam Gala are extremely important to Mayville State’s continued success. The funds generated help in a variety of ways. As a result of Glitz & Glam sponsorships, auction item donations, and auction item purchases, more than $50,000 was generated. This total was distributed equally among the MSU Foundation, MSU Athletics, and the MSU Alumni Association. Each of these entities will use the funds in ways that will greatly benefit Mayville State University and its students, including through scholarship assistance. We couldn’t do what we do without this private financial assistance.

The date for Glitz & Glam Gala 2020 has been set for January 25. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for what we know will be a fun evening at the MSU Campus Center, transformed to provide a taste of Las Vegas. You’ll be having a great time for an important cause. Keep your eyes and ears open as details unfold. We look forward to seeing you there.

This week, we said farewell to MSU Foundation Executive Director John Klocke. He has chosen to pursue another opportunity, working with a faith-based organization in Fargo. We are grateful to John for the positive impact he has had for the MSU Foundation and Mayville State University, and we wish him well in his new adventure.