MSU President's Newspaper Column

December 24, 2022 

The spirit of community is a special gift

The holiday season is a time for reflection. It is a time when we should all pause and think about what is important in our lives. At Mayville State there is so much for which we are grateful.

I experienced first-hand some classic examples of what it means to come together as a community in the spirit of goodness last week, something for which I am truly grateful. For several days, the predictions were for a major snowstorm to hit the Red River Valley, most of North Dakota, and beyond during the week of December 12. Well, the predictions definitely came to be, and the people of our community rallied together to make the best of the situations that unfolded.

Fall Semester final exams were scheduled for Dec. 12-15. With the pending difficult weather and travel conditions in mind, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brian Huschle and the academic division chairs met first thing Monday morning to determine how they were going to make sure the final exams could be completed, in spite of the weather conditions. The decision was made to move all final exams online, with options for in-person testing for those who needed that accommodation. This is another Mayville State decision highlighted by personal service that produced a win-win for students needing options … thank you to our faculty!

In a short time, faculty pulled up their bootstraps and made the transition to offering their finals online. As it turned out, this was a very wise and important decision. Most students were able to get to their holiday and winter break destinations before the travel conditions became too difficult starting mid-week and through the weekend.

Many in the surrounding communities had long been anticipating the Medora Christmas Memories show at Mayville State planned for Dec. 13. Several weeks ago, we also decided to host a pre-show social event for Mayville State supporters at the Larson Center. It was a special occasion for which volunteers have spent many hours preparing. I thank them and event sponsors Dr. Rob and Kim Lauf for their kindness and generosity.

As the snow kept piling up throughout that morning and the weather predictions became more precise, the decision on whether to go forward with the event became increasingly important. About noon, the Medora folks decided that their bus and truck filled with props could make, so the show would go on. This meant the social event would go on as well.

While the number of people who could get out to enjoy the festivities dwindled, those who attended had a wonderful time. I can’t help but wonder if the possibility that the event might have to be cancelled made people appreciate the opportunity to be together for a time of celebrating the holidays even more. It was no doubt a wonderful performance which was very much enjoyed by all.

Large amounts of snow kept falling. Before, during, and after the show, our custodial and physical plant staff were out in the elements doing their best to clear it the from sidewalks in an effort to make it safer for people to come and go. When the show was over, people looked around and unselfishly stepped up to help the elderly and those who would have a more difficult time getting to their vehicles and safely home. They watched out for one another and checked in to make sure their friends were safe.

A crew of Mayville State students came about 10 p.m. to help the Medora crew get their props loaded back on the truck and ready to head off to the next show.

So many people came together to ensure that not only could people enjoy a much-anticipated holiday celebration, but also that they could do it as comfortably and safely as possible. I could not be more Comet Proud.

I commend our Mayville State custodial and physical plant staff, the Dining Services staff, and all others who changed plans in a short time, worked from home throughout the storm, and made the best of a difficult situation. I am truly grateful for the dedicated people who make Mayville State a special place to be, not only during a major winter storm, but every day of the year.

As we turn the calendar page to 2023, we are filled with optimism for a bright future and gratitude for the steadfast support of our community members, alumni, friends, the North Dakota University System and our chancellor, the State Board of Higher Education, our legislators, and Governor Burgum. We are blessed to be surrounded by people, near and far, who have the best interests of Mayville State in mind. They know the important role Mayville State University plays in making lives better and they are kind in their words and deeds, supporting the legacy of personal service. Thank you, friends and neighbors, for your support. We wish you all good things in 2023. Stay safe and be well.