MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

October 3, 2020 

Rays of sunshine continue to shine through as we make our way in uncharted territory

This last week has been a whirlwind! Early in the week, we were notified of a student who had tested positive for COVID-19. This news set many variables into motion. As a measure of extreme caution, we asked a number of potential close contacts to self-quarantine until the Department of Health could complete their work of contact tracing. This process took several days, but when it was all said and done, a number of the students who were self-quarantining were not considered to be close contacts and were able to resume life as usual.

While it was extremely difficult, late on Wednesday last week we made the decision to delay the Farmers Bowl game and forego the annual Farmers Bowl festivities that had been planned for Sept. 26. This decision was particularly hard because of the tradition and history associated with Farmers Bowl. It is a special occasion for Mayville State and our community and we hate to have to give up these treasured times. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution and with our top priority of keeping our campus and community safe and healthy at the forefront. We are dedicated to honoring our commitment to academics and to continuing with in-person on-campus course delivery.

As time goes on, we know we will face more challenges such as this, but we will move forward, keeping our eye on the goal of health, safety, and a residential campus. The football game that was to have been played in Valley City on Oct. 3 has been postponed to a date to be determined in November.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate with fall 2019, spring 2020, and summer 2020 graduates at the 128th annual commencement on Friday, Sept. 25. Normally, the festivities would have been held in May, but in the midst of the uncertainty associated with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, we chose to postpone until fall.

Our student speakers, Taylor Skjordal and Jennifer Pageler were excellent, as was our keynote speaker, Dr. John Lyng, 2001 Mayville State graduate. Dr. Lyng’s inspiring message told of how his experiences of leadership and personal service at Mayville State are helping him to make a positive difference in the world. We are Comet proud of these and all Mayville State alumni We wish our newest alumni all the best in their life endeavors.

While Commencement 2020 looked a little different, in light of social distancing and mask wearing, it was great to see and celebrate with the graduates. Many families let us know how much they appreciated the efforts that made the event possible.

The Comet Athletic Club board held their annual Sportsmen’s Raffle virtually this year, on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 26. The issues associated with the pandemic prompted them to forego an in-person event. Drawings in the 50-gun giveaway were broadcast live on Facebook. I’m told that the event was a raving success and that Mayville State student athletes will benefit greatly due to the efforts of our Comet Athletic Club board and our supportive alumni and friends.

Mike Carr, president of the Comet Athletic Club board, is an outstanding leader for the group! I continue to be amazed by the generosity and dedication of the Comet Athletic Club board members. Just in the last several weeks, they have hosted a super-successful golf tournament, treated all of our student athletes to a delicious meal that many spent the day preparing, and carried out one of their most successful Sportsmen’s Raffle events online. To top it off, they host bingo every Thursday evening at the Top Hat in Mayville. All of these efforts support Mayville State’s student athletes. We owe this special group of volunteers a huge debt of gratitude. They are unbelievably generous in the sharing of their time and talents.

In addition to Mike Carr as president, Comet Athletic Club board members include Brian Halvorson, Brian Aune, Tami Parker, Ross Johnson, Rhonda Nelson, Jami Hovet, and John Murphy. Steve Bensen, Ryan Hall, and Lon Jorgensen are ex-officio members of the group.

Great things continue to happen at Mayville State. We are extremely happy about the fact that our freshman class is one of the largest in the last several years. The number of students from North Dakota who choose Mayville State continues to grow. Mayville State provides an important niche and outstanding service for the people of North Dakota and it is an honor to be a part of it.