MSU President's Newspaper Column

December 25, 2021 

It’s a wonderful life

The holiday season is a time for reflection. It is a time when we should all pause and think about what is important in our lives. At Mayville State there is so much for which we are grateful.

The steadfast support of our community members, alumni, friends, the North Dakota University System and our chancellor, and the State Board of Higher Education is fantastic. We are extremely blessed to be surrounded by people, near and far, who have the best interests of Mayville State in mind. They know the important role Mayville State University plays in making lives better and they are kind in their words and deeds, supporting the legacy of personal service.

Throughout the fall semester, someone has been anonymously placing notes with uplifting and encouraging messages on sticky notes in various locations throughout the campus. This simple act of kindness has touched the hearts of many members of the Mayville State family, and me in particular.

How cool is it to reach for the door on your way out of a building to see a note that reads, “You can try again tomorrow.;” “You’ll figure that thing out. You’ll make that deadline. You’ll make it happen. You’ll sort it out. It will make sense. You’ll feel a lot better.;” or “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

What a wonderful gift this unknown messenger has given friends and strangers alike. To this kind and thoughtful person, I say “thank you,” on behalf of all members of the Mayville State family.

When I reflect on what this person has done for others, I can’t help but think about the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which tells the story disappointed businessman George Bailey who felt like a failure until he is visited by an angel who shows him what life would have been like if he’d never been born. The angel shows how George has made his mark, just as each of us leaves our mark in the world.

The story demonstrates that we should never underestimate the importance of integrity and good character. It shows that we are making a difference for others, often times without even knowing it. It underscores the importance of doing the right thing and always being positive.

I liken the story of It’s a Wonderful Life to the good work that happens at Mayville State University. Our commitment to personal service and making a difference in the lives of others is a gift to the recipient as well as to the giver. By lifting others up, we lift ourselves. I see this every day in the interactions of our students, faculty, and staff. We are blessed to be a part of an extra-special family, the Mayville State family. When our graduates leave Mayville State University to begin their careers, they are going into the world equipped with unique experiences that will help them to make a positive difference in their jobs and their communities. The positive ripple effect is making the world around us a better place.

As we turn the calendar page to 2022, we are filled with optimism for a bright future and gratitude for the many members of the Mayville State University family who help to make Mayville State the extraordinary place that it is, a place where one can find the best in people and the best in human nature.

Thank you, friends and neighbors, for your support. We wish you all good things in 2022. Stay safe and be well.