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Photo caption: Myrna and Merwin Lyng were informed of the naming of the Lyng Garden of Comet Pride on Friday, June 18, when the MSU Alumni Association board gathered for a preview tour of the gardens led by Doug Anderson. Pictured from left to right are Mayville State President Dr. Brian Van Horn, Doug Anderson, Merwin Lyng, and Myrna Lyng. Doug Anderson presented the Lyngs with an original watercolor painting which he painted and that depicts The Lyng Garden of Personal Service.

June 21, 2021

Work on the Gardens of Remembrance on the grounds of the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center at Mayville State is nearly complete. A grand opening and dedication event is planned for Saturday, June 26, 2021, when the Flagpole Garden will be dedicated in honor of Dr. Merwin and Myrna Lyng.

The Lyngs have been instrumental in making the Gardens of Remembrance possible. They were involved with salvaging architectural elements and other items from East Hall, West Hall, and the Old Gymnasium before the historic buildings were razed several years ago.

Merwin and Myrna’s work and enthusiasm for the university and its history led to the desire to create a place on campus where the historic buildings that had been razed could be remembered. The resulting resources, along with financial assistance from private donors and grant support, are helping to fund the costs associated with building the Gardens of Remembrance. Organizers are grateful for all who have contributed, including the Traill County Economic Development Commission and the Mayville-Portland Economic Development Corporation who have provided grant funding.

Myrna and Merwin Lyng have dedicated their lives to the betterment of Mayville State University, not only through their many volunteer efforts, but also as employees. They have invested hours and hours of volunteer service to Mayville State and generously opened their country home to countless new Mayville State employees, parents of students, alumni, and other VIPs who have needed temporary housing for various reasons. They truly have made a difference for the university and for the associated people. Their connection to Mayville State began when they enrolled as students and later graduated with bachelor’s degrees, then returned as faculty members and employees.

Dr. Merwin Lyng retired at the end of the 1997-98 academic year after 40 years of service to the university. He distinguished himself as a national leader in improving the teaching and learning of mathematics, as an author of numerous mathematics textbooks, as a perennial presenter at national mathematics conferences, as a lifetime member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, as co-chair of the state Mathematics and Science Alliance, as a member of the Curriculum Council and dozens of campus and state committees, as a co-founder of MSU’s Mathematics Specialist Program, as an active member of county and community boards, and as a teacher. He has been awarded the Mayville State Distinguished Alumni Award and the Distinguished Service Award, and upon his retirement he was bestowed the title Professor Emeritus of Mathematics.

Myrna Lyng retired from Mayville State in 1998 after a mix of about 12 full-time, part-time years at Mayville State. In the 1960s she was an instructor in Library Science and was acting head librarian for one year, then was at home with her family for a number of years, returning in 1991 in the library and as the public relations assistant. She is a recipient of the Mayville State Distinguished Service Award.

“Myrna and Merwin Lyng have had a profound impact at Mayville State University,” said Beth Swenson, Mayville State Director of Alumni Affairs. “They pour their hearts and souls into all things Mayville State. The Flagpole Garden will now have a new name, ‘The Lyng Garden of Comet Pride.’ This says it all. The Lyngs bleed Comet Blue and their dedication to helping Mayville State be the best that it can be has had an impact on so many - students, alumni, parents of students, and the community. It is our distinct honor to count them among Mayville State’s friends and an absolute pleasure to recognize them in this way.”

The Gardens of Remembrance project, which is being led by Doug Anderson and Lute Simley and is sponsored by the Mayville State Alumni Association, honors Mayville State’s history and tradition of personal service. The Lyng Garden of Comet Pride and the Garden of Personal Service make up the Gardens of Remembrance.

The spirit behind the establishment of the Gardens of Remembrance is to honor those who have served in significant roles at Mayville State and who have been positive forces in the history of the beloved institution. This will be a place where those who have been a part of Mayville State’s history can reflect on their memories. It will also be a place where future generations can learn about the treasured history that has endeared Mayville State University to so many.

Several members of the Mayville State alumni community salvaged architectural elements when East Hall, West Hall, and the Old Gymnasium, were razed several years ago. Many of the architectural elements are and have been in storage, not only with the Lyngs, but also with Steve and Becky Gunderson of Portland, N.D.

Architectural elements that will be incorporated into the Gardens of Remembrance include the lions that once guarded the entrance of the Old Gymnasium, the flagpole that once stood atop Old Main, steps from the entrances of East Hall and West Hall, and the centerpiece of the fountain that once was on the south lawn of Old Main.

The Mayville State Alumni Association will host a Gardens of Remembrance grand opening and dedication event Saturday, June 26 at 4 p.m. The event will take place in the gardens which are located at the corner of Third Avenue and Stan Dakken Drive on the campus of Mayville State. The program will include music by Triplicity and Lute Simley. Garden project leaders Doug Anderson and Lute Simley will also speak. The public is invited to attend the event and learn more about the Gardens. If attending, please bring a lawn chair so that you may be seated during the program. A social will be held in the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center immediately following the program until 5:30 p.m.

The Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center will be open from 10:30 a.m. and throughout the day on June 26. People are welcome to stop by and see the center and enjoy a time of reminiscing. Alumni Association board members will be on hand to answer questions and/or lead tours as needed.