MSU President's Newspaper Column

May 29, 2021

Outstanding alumni and volunteers are big contributors to Mayville State successes

We are blessed to have the support of so many wonderful alumni and friends, including our Alumni Association Board members, who are incredibly supportive, not only in terms of financial support, but also in the many ways they lend their helping hands that contribute in a big way to many Mayville State successes. Many Mayville State events would not be possible without the help of the MSU Alumni Association Board. The members of the group are masterful in their ability to organize and execute an event where their guests feel welcome and comfortable … like family.

The board is made up of the following Mayville State graduates: Cindy Petersen (president), Pam Soholt (vice president), Doug Anderson (secretary), Cleone Whelan, Dean Krogstad, Ann Willeson, Kelli Odden, Teresa Agnes, Lori Nelson, Wayne Nelson, Herb Thomson, Kelly Morrison, Lucia Jacobson, Mary Cavalier, and Don Cavalier.

This group recently hosted our annual graduation brunch. The event is a Mayville State tradition and is considered the first official alumni event for Mayville State’s newest graduates. After brunch, alumni board members served as ushers at the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse, where family members and friends gathered to celebrate with their special graduates. It was an especially tricky job this time because we were putting forth our best efforts to keep everyone COVID-19-safe.

The alumni board members are hosts for the annual homecoming festivities and always play an important role in the Farmers Bowl celebration, as well as other activities. They are ready, willing, and very much able whenever called upon to help on behalf of their alma mater.

The group has adopted some honorary members over the years. One of those special members of honor is Lute Simley. He and board member Doug Anderson have teamed up a number of times to work on special Mayville State projects, and they have the support of the full board behind them as they do their work. Among the projects they have planned and/or helped to plan and carry out are our beautiful Military Honor Garden and the general landscaping on the grounds of the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center.

The talented and hard-working duo are at it again. They embarked on a landscaping project on the north side of the Larson Center. Collectively named the Gardens of Remembrance, the Flagpole Garden and the Garden of Personal Service make up the total project.

The spirit behind the establishment of these gardens is to honor those who have served in significant roles at Mayville State and who have been positive forces in the history of our beloved institution. This will be a place for those who have been a part of the school’s history to 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 played an integral role in salvaging architectural elements when three historic buildings, East Hall, West Hall, and the Old Gymnasium were demolished a while back. Some of these pieces will find a new home in the gardens.

The Garden of Personal Service will honor current and former employees of Mayville State, along with those who love and support the institution. The lions that once graced the entrance of the Old Gym, the fountain that once had its place on the front lawn of Old Main, and other historic pieces will be incorporated. The Flagpole Garden is an extension of the Larson Center building sign. This garden will incorporate the flagpole that stood proudly atop Old Main for decades.

Work on the Gardens of Remembrance is underway. The goal is to wrap things up so there could be a grand opening during Mayville-Portland’s Summerfest activities the last weekend in June. If you’re interested in getting involved with a donation of either volunteer labor or financial assistance, contact the MSU Foundation at 701-788-4750 or

We are humbled and grateful for the extraordinary dedication of Lute, Doug, and all the members of the MSU Alumni Association Board. They put their hearts and souls into everything Mayville State, and in doing so they truly make a difference. They incorporate Mayville State’s commitment to personal service as they continue to give of their time and talents.

On another topic, we hope you will visit the Military Honor Garden located on the south lawn of the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center during the Memorial Day weekend. We extend our most sincere appreciation to all veterans, including alumni and Marines Corporal Dr. Martin Johnson and Lieutenant General Emil “Buck” Bedard (retired) who head up the Military Honor Garden project. These men have worked hard to ensure that the Military Honor Garden is an extra-special and meaningful tribute to those who bravely served, and continue to serve, to uphold our country’s liberty and freedom.