MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

November 17, 2018

Thankful for the opportunity to make lives better

Next week, families and friends will be gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving. There will be feasts of tasty food, family fun, football, and more. Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United State. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it as a national holiday in 1863. It originated as a harvest festival, and thus, a time when people pause to reflect on the things for which they are thankful.

We at Mayville State have so much for which to be grateful! We have the privilege of carrying out the hopes and dreams of the pioneers of this area who sought to establish better lives for themselves and their family members to follow. The pioneers knew that educating people was one of the ways in which they could help to provide for better lives.

This fall marked the seventh-straight enrollment record at Mayville State. Official headcount enrollment was recorded at 1,184 students. Wow! We are helping to educate people who are living and going to school right here on the Mayville State campus, as well as others from far away places who are enrolled in online classes. The ability to reach students where they are is a huge advantage to folks who may be place bound due to any number of situations, including having jobs, families, and homes that need their attention.

For example, Mayville State’s RN-to-BSN online nursing program is having a big impact on the shortage of nursing professionals in our state and in our country. Employers can’t afford to lose their workers so they can go to school. Our online program lets them continue to work, where they are making a big difference for others, while they are pursuing their educational goals.

We are blessed to have so many wonderful students right here on our campus. It is heart-warming to get to know our students, some of whom grew up nearby, while others come from places across the country and around the globe. It is so cool that we can all come together at this special place called Mayville State University, where we can learn and grow. The opportunity to get to know others who come from completely different backgrounds helps to make our lives richer and give us a greater understanding of all kinds of people.

The support Mayville State receives from alumni and friends in the community and beyond is second-to-none. I have experienced amazing generosity and thoughtfulness during my short time at Mayville State.

For example, a student who returned for classes this fall found that he had a hold on his registration because he had a financial obligation that needed to be taken care of. When I learned of the situation, I did a little investigating and found that he was truly a good student in pursuit of a college degree and was making good progress toward that goal. He simply did not have the money to meet the financial obligation. A member of our local community heard about it and quickly stepped up and agreed to take care of the debt, so the young student could register. Now that’s a fine example of making a difference for others!

We are grateful to our legislators and state officials who entrust us with the serious business of educating people for the future. In doing so, we are providing people who can fill the workforce. As a bonus, we are confident that our graduates will transfer the lessons on personal service they’ve learned at Mayville State as they become citizens in the communities where they live and work.

As we gather this next week for a time of thanksgiving, I want you to know that I include our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and community members among the many blessings for which I am thankful. I feel fortunate to be at Mayville State University, a place where people make all the difference.