MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

December 28, 2013

It’s been a wonderful year for Mayville State


The fall semester at Mayville State University has quickly come to a close. Students have finished their final tests and many have returned to their homes to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. The faculty members have been busy grading exams and papers and determining final grades for their students. Staff are wrapping up the business of the fall semester and busily preparing for the next semester. In the midst of all of this excitement, we take time to think about the past year and all for which we are thankful.

First of all, we remember the many special people we have the opportunity to get to know. We are privileged to have some very great students who are already making a difference in the world and who will continue to make us proud as they leave us as Mayville State alumni. Our faculty and staff are second to none. We are grateful to them as they work with our students in their quest to reach their full potential. Last, but certainly not least, we remember our fabulous alumni and friends, including the people of the Mayville-Portland community. We truly appreciate all that you do to support our university.

The work that has taken place to ensure our mission during the last several years is remarkable. When we reflect and evaluate what has been accomplished, we are filled with excitement for the future. Mayville State is experiencing record enrollments, and new partnerships and academic achievements are raising the university to new heights.

A new enrollment record was set again this fall! The final official headcount for the fall semester was 1,065 students. We are proud of our faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication that helped to make this happen.

The North Dakota 63rd Legislative Assembly increased operating funding for the Mayville State campus for the 2013-15 biennium, and they also agreed that the proposed capital projects were important and worthy of funding at this time.

One of the funded projects involves the replacement of the Old Gymnasium with a building that will replicate and expand the current functions of the Old Gym. It will also provide additional instructional lab/practice space needed due to enrollment growth. JLG Architects, Fargo, N.D., is meeting with the campus committee, and developing design documents for the $5.5 million project. The goal is to select the project contractors in April of 2013, and begin construction in May of 2014.

The second project received $2.1 million in legislative funding, and is a campus-wide project to improve campus drainage, Stan Dakken Drive, and campus parking. Moore Engineering, West Fargo, N.D., has been hired as the consulting engineering firm that will develop and oversee the project construction. The initial meeting with Moore Engineering was held December 13. Project design will take place this winter, and construction will begin after the spring semester ends in May of 2014.

The renovation work at our long-awaited first-ever alumni center at Mayville State is about finished. A gift of $340,000 from the Edson and Margaret Larson Foundation in 2012 spurred the completion of the work, and we were happy to be able to offer sneak peek preview tours at the renovated historic Northwest Hall during homecoming festivities in October. The official grand opening of the building will be held during Mayville State’s 125th anniversary Alumni Days celebration in June of 2014.

In addition, a cross-curriculum leadership development program for students is in its second year of implementation, thanks to funding from the Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation. Using the six pillars of leadership, including leading by example, ethical judgment, leading with purpose, leadership communication, continuous learning, and leadership self-direction, the program is providing valuable leadership experiences for Mayville State students.

We are excited about a couple of new academic programs that have been approved by the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE). At the May meeting of the board, Mayville State was given approval to offer a new Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) degree in special education. This is an exciting new opportunity for students who wish to become teachers in North Dakota. Until now, a generalist program for special education at the undergraduate level did not exist within the North Dakota University System.

Last summer, the SBHE granted Mayville State approval to proceed with a proposed RN to BSN nursing program. Through the new online program, Mayville State will educate nurses at the baccalaureate degree level in order to equip them to better serve the health care needs of the citizens of North Dakota. The need for nurses is especially great in rural areas, including our own. This new program will benefit all of us by supplying much-needed nursing staff for our local, area, and regional health care facilities, as well as facilities nationwide.

The future is filled with hope and excitement for Mayville State as we look toward our 125th anniversary, on November 2, 2014. This is just a sampling of the wonderful things that are happening, and there are many great opportunities and projects on the horizon. It is my privilege to help guide our beloved Mayville State University during these very exciting times, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported these efforts.