MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

March 15, 2014

Larson Leadership Program sponsoring March 27 leadership summit


Mayville State is privileged to offer a leadership summit on Thursday, March 27. The public is cordially invited to take advantage of this unique opportunity, which will be highlighted by keynote speaker Dave Mitchell, nationally known author and presenter. The registration fee for the general public is $10 per person. Mayville State faculty, staff, and students will be admitted free of charge. Registration will begin at 12:00 noon in the MSU Campus Center Foyer. The summit is being sponsored by Mayville State’s Larson Leadership Program.

Prior to starting his own organization development consulting firm, Dave Mitchell was the vice president of human resources and quality for Buena Vista Hospitality Group, corporate director of training and development for Marshall Field’s, and a television reporter/producer for CBS News. He has earned degrees in mass communications and global human resources development.

Dave Mitchell’s keynote address will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room. Centering around his second book, The Power of Understanding People, Mitchell will focus on the topic of leadership and the importance of understanding people. A limited number of Mitchell’s books will be available for purchase during the summit. Cost will be $15 each.

We’re very honored to welcome several members of the Mayville State University family “home” to present their knowledge as part of the leadership summit. Ellen Chaffee, senior fellow for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and former Mayville State president; David Braaten, business education faculty member at Hopkins (Minn.) High School and 1990 Mayville State graduate; Terry Kemmer, emeritus professor of business at Mayville State; and Michelle Worner Kommer, vice president for human resources at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and 1995 Mayville State graduate; will all lead break-out sessions during the summit.

Grant Olson, a senior at North Dakota State University and a leader on the Bison three-peat national football championship team, will also be a presenter at the summit.

Terry Kemmer will present a session titled “Leadership 101” from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on March 27. The goal of the session is to provide a better understanding of leadership and what can be done to enhance and develop this understanding. It will be held in the MSU Campus Center Heritage Room.

In one-hour afternoon breakout sessions, David Braaten will speak on leadership in teaching. Ellen Chaffee will present “The Leader’s Crystal Ball … creating a destination (vision) and why doing it well is both challenging and necessary.” Terry Kemmer will present “Communication and Connection in Leadership.” Michelle Worner Kommer will present her experience and perspective on finding success as a leader, based on lessons she has learned as a wife, mother, volunteer, and senior executive on a largely male leadership team for three major North Dakota employers. Grant Olson will share how his faith has shaped his life and his participation in athletics. Dave Mitchell will present a break-out session titled “The Power of Understanding People Applied.” Most break-out sessions will be presented more than once to allow participants to have a variety of choices in their session attendance.

The Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation has been providing grant funding for an integrated leadership program at Mayville State since 2012. The program is being used to build the leadership characteristics needed to prepare all students at Mayville State University to become future leaders for North Dakota. The overall goal is to make the graduates of Mayville State University better citizens. These will be individuals who recognize and participate in leadership opportunities within their careers and their communities.

We are grateful to the Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation, established through the estate of Edson Larson, for funding the Larson Leadership Program and for their gift which funded a major portion of the renovation of historic Northwest Hall at Mayville State. The newly renovated building, now known as the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center, is Mayville State’s first-ever alumni center.

Edson Larson passed away in 2008. He arranged to have his estate used for a number of charitable purposes, including the establishment of a premier leadership scholarship for North Dakota students. Edson’s wife, Margaret, continues to reside in Mayville. Edson and Margaret were married in 1955 at the Governor’s mansion in Bismarck N.D. Margaret’s father, Clarence Norman Brunsdale, was North Dakota’s governor at the time. They made their home in Mayville, where Edson farmed most of his life. In his later years, Edson came to the Byrnes-Quanbeck Library at Mayville State nearly every day to read the Wall Street Journal. Edson and Margaret were loyal in their support for MSU. Edson was proud of his accomplishments, serving in the armed forces, farming, and developing sharp investment skills. He was also proud to live in Mayville.