MSU President's Newspaper Column

December 31, 2022 

Thankful for accomplishments in 2022, we look forward to a bright new year

As 2022 comes to a close, we reflect with grateful hearts on all that has happened and turn the page to what promises to be a bright 2023. We have been blessed with many opportunities to make an impact as we educate the leaders of tomorrow. We look forward to continuing this important work as we develop new programs and more that will give us additional tools to assist with the workforce needs of our local area, state, region, and country.

Our students are learning from faculty who are not only instilling the knowledge needed to be successful, but also the values that will serve them well as they pursue their lives as leaders in their careers and communities. While enrollment fluctuates in the short-term, Mayville State continues to grow overall. Our student population is made up of nearly 70% North Dakota residents, and our graduates stay in North Dakota. Nearly 70% of graduates report being employed in North Dakota and/or continuing their education, and almost 800 Mayville State graduates teach in North Dakota. At least one of our graduates is teaching in just about every county in our state. We are Comet Proud of the impact we are having in North Dakota and across the United States, not only in the profession of teaching, but in many others as well.

The 68th North Dakota Legislative Assembly will convene in just a few days. We at Mayville State have identified some priorities that are being presented to legislators for their funding consideration. Our number one priority for this biennium is the Old Main renovation project. This beautiful building has served us well since the late 1880s and early 1900s, but upgrades are paramount as we look to the future and growing our fundamental commitment to impacting the workforce needs of North Dakota. The total budget for the project is $49,970,100. We are sincerely grateful for Governor Burgum’s support in including $3,779,100 for planning and design in his 2023-25 executive budget proposal, and we look forward to working with our legislators to see the full project to fruition.

Mayville State is also asking legislators to support salary increases for our employees, along with all state employees, at a rate of 6% in the coming fiscal year and 4% in the year that follows, as proposed by the governor. We need to provide for the rising costs they endure along with all Americans. Taking it a step further, we are asking that the legislature will fully fund the pay increases for all Mayville State employees, including those who are not paid from state appropriated dollars. The revenue source for many of our employee salaries are funds that are not state appropriated. As an example, this funding may come from grants and contracts and/or local funds. With our tight budgets, it will not be possible to provide the increases to this population without an influx state funding.

Over the last several years, the North Dakota Challenge Grant has been multiplying the impact of the generosity of our alumni and friends who very thoughtfully provide scholarship resources for our students. We are asking the legislators to continue to provide state dollars that match private gifts at a rate of 50%. This past support has made a huge impact at Mayville State University.

To help with stabilizing operations, we are requesting that the legislature fund the North Dakota University System (NDUS) campuses on a minimum amount payable basis. Currently, our state funding formula is based solely on enrollment. A minimum amount payable would give us a firmer foundation for planning and preparing for the ebbs and flows associated with enrollment.

Pay equity issues are a big challenge at Mayville State University. Recruiting and retaining a solid workforce is complicated by the fact that our sister institutions in the NDUS can offer substantially higher salaries for similar, and sometimes lesser, positions. With Grand Forks and Fargo so close by, many choose to commute for the considerable increases in pay. This gets even more complicated when we consider how close we are to the Minnesota border and the option of private industry, where salaries are generally higher. It is important that we are able to compete for the best employees.

The future is bright at Mayville State University. We thank our employees, students, friends, and neighbors for the part they played in making 2022 a fantastic year. We look forward to continuing these important partnerships that will help to bring our beloved university to greater levels of success in 2023 and beyond.

As we turn the calendar page, we know that many high school seniors will be taking a serious look at where they will make their college homes next fall. If you know of someone who would benefit from a Mayville State education, please encourage them to take a look. You can learn more at or arrange for a campus visit by calling 701-788-4842.