MSU President's Newspaper Column

July 16, 2022

Mayville State serves the state of North Dakota in important ways

The impact of Mayville State University on the state of North Dakota is impressive. Did you know that 65% of all students enrolled at Mayville State University during the Fall Semester of 2021 were from North Dakota? Seventy-one percent of all freshmen enrolled in the fall semester were from North Dakota or Minnesota. This, by the way, was nearly the largest freshman class ever at Mayville State.

The need for nursing professionals in our state and country is well-known. It’s interesting to note that 73% of Mayville State’s nursing students are from North Dakota and they are working full-time while they pursue their higher education goal to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Master of Science in Nursing degree.

A high number of Mayville State University graduates stay in North Dakota. Sixty-eight percent of MSU graduates stay in the state and contribute to the communities in which they live, while addressing the workforce needs of North Dakota.

According to recent data, Mayville State teacher candidates account for nearly 20% (11 of 56) of the math teachers prepared in North Dakota during the 2020-21 academic year. Mayville State had seven mathematics graduates last year and 10 more are still in the program. This is powerful evidence showing that Mayville State continues to address critical shortage areas within the North Dakota teaching workforce.

We usually think about personal service as something students learn about and experience while they are enrolled at Mayville State University, but it’s important to carry that a step further and realize the ripple effect that is caused. The notion of personal service extends far beyond the Mayville State campus. When our students graduate, they go out into the world to pursue their career goals. They become employees and employers, and they become members of communities, making an impact where they are. It’s fair to say that Mayville State’s legendary personal service is being felt across the state, our country, and even the world. Isn’t it heartwarming to know that Mayville State graduates not only make a difference in their work, but also as citizens of our state and beyond?

In my travels across the state, I often run into Mayville State alumni in the towns and communities where I stop. Recently, when I traveled to Bottineau to attend a State Board of Higher Education meeting, I had such an encounter. As I checked into the motel, the woman working at the desk said, “I see you have a Mayville State name badge on. Do you work there?” I explained that I have the honor of serving as the president, and the conversation continued.

I met Sara (Adrian) LaFromboise. She and her husband Chris are both Mayville State alumni. Sara taught special education at Bottineau and is now teaching middle school math there. She was working at the motel as her summer job. Chris graduated with a Computer Information Systems degree. Sara let me know that both she and Chris treasured their time at Mayville State and are proud to be Comets.

Proud Comets can be found all across the state of North Dakota. According to 2021-22 Department of Public Instruction data, nearly 800 Mayville State University graduates are teaching in schools across the state. There is a Mayville State graduate teaching in nearly every county of the state. Now that’s quite an impact!

Alumnus Mike Zier, who teaches and coaches in far southwestern North Dakota’s town of Beach, is another example of proud Comets making a difference. For the last several years, he’s brought some of his football players to Mayville State to practice, and this last year, play, in the annual Shrine All-Star Football Games. Mike bleeds Comet Blue and happily shares his love for Mayville State with his students and players.

I was touched when I learned about the COVID-style prom he and his wife organized for his students a couple of years ago, when schools were suddenly forced to go virtual in the heat of the global pandemic. They arranged for the students to meet in the parking lot at the school, where there was open air and room to spread out. They got to see one another after weeks of separation and the girls were especially happy to be able to wear the special occasion dresses they had looked forward to wearing. Mike and his wife made to-go meals and students stopped at the end of the Ziers’ driveway to pick them up, along with gift cards they had collected from area businesses. In my mind, that’s personal service at its best. Mike not only acts as an important role model, teacher, and coach for his students, he shows that he cares about them outside of the classroom.

I could give example after shining example of Mayville State graduates who are making an impact in our state. I challenge you to wear a Mayville State shirt or hat when you’re out and about across the state. It’s very likely that someone will approach you to let you know that they or someone they know has a Mayville State connection. I am proud of the many ways in which our university makes a positive impact locally, far, and wide.