Mayville State President's Column for Traill County Tribune

October 4, 2014

Looking to the next 125 years with optimism and excitement


As November 2, 2014, the 125th anniversary of the founding of Mayville Normal School, draws near, we take time to think about all that has happened over the past 125 years. We are grateful to the pioneers of the state of North Dakota who fulfilled their dreams of better education for their children through the establishment of colleges where teachers would be prepared and go out into the rural areas to change the lives of children forever.

Many things have changed over the years. The dreams of the early pioneers became reality, and their hopes have blossomed over and again into new hopes and dream for the future, but always with one goal in mind, to make the world a better place for future generations.

Mayville State is truly in a renaissance period today. 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. New partnerships and academic achievements are raising the university to new heights and facilities have been greatly improved.

What a difference the installation of a coal-fueled heating plant has made! That single change freed up millions of dollars that would otherwise have gone up in smoke in fuel costs, and now we’ve been able to put that money to good use in making much-needed improvements all across the campus.

A few years ago, we were able to completely renovate Agassiz Hall, our largest residence hall. We are now able to offer suite- and apartment-style living facilities for our students. Students are enjoying this great opportunity offered to them, and it has definitely made a difference when students are making their decisions about where to attend college.

And the State of North Dakota is pitching in too! A state-funded renovation the Science Building and library was a great improvement, and the addition to these buildings is now the home to the Division of Education and Psychology. A $2.2 million campus drainage project was completed late this summer. Not only will it provide a safe and friendly campus environment, it has made the east side of campus look great! The legislature also supplied funding in the last biennium to complete an upgrade to the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation facilities. We’re currently discussing how that money can be best-used, and we hope to begin construction work early next spring. In addition, we’ve had the funding to generally spruce up many areas on campus.

All faculty and staff are working hard to provide the best possible education in flexible and accommodating ways as we carry out our mission of educating students and helping to meet the needs of the people of North Dakota.

Physical and programmatic improvements have had a direct impact on the enrollment increases we’ve seen across the board. We set an all-time enrollment record for the third-straight year this fall. Final Fall Semester 2014 figures show 1,081 students enrolled, breaking the previous record of 1,065 students enrolled, which was set in 2013, and 1,020 students enrolled, a record set in 2012. The number of beginning freshmen enrolled this fall increased by 30% over 2013 numbers.

As we look toward the next 125 years for Mayville State University, we are filled with optimism, and like the early pioneers, we too have dreams for the future. Consistent enrollment gains have put is in a position to explore the possibility of building a new residence hall for students. The Mayville State 125th Legacy of Leadership Campaign is underway! Fifteen alumni and community leaders have put together a $360,000 challenge to all MSU alumni and friends to match dollar for dollar all gifts given for artificial turf for football and baseball by December 31, 2014. These are exciting times!

At Mayville State, it always has been, and always will be about the people. At this special time in our history, 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. I hope that you will have an opportunity to join us for our Homecoming 2014 festivities, where we’ll mark the university’s 125th anniversary in a grand way.