MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

December 27, 2014


There is much for which to be grateful at Mayville State


The holiday season is a time for reflection. It is time when we should all pause and think about what is important in our lives. Each day I read the newspaper and watch the news on television and I am overwhelmed by what I see. Our world has its share of problems, but here at Mayville State University we can enjoy the quality of life that is uniquely North Dakota. I am thankful we can have families, friends, and careers in an area that is challenging, enjoyable, and safe.

My history with Mayville State University now goes back 39 years. My wife, Debbie, and I came to Mayville as a young newly married couple searching not only for a career, but a place we could call home. When I think of a home, I think of people who care for each other, people we can depend on, and people who share good values. I think of people who would help you because it is right, not because it is expected. We found these people both in the community and on campus. The years have gone by quickly and the world has changed significantly, but the values and standards of the area have not changed. Mayville State University is still the kind of place “America should be.”

This year, the year of Mayville State University’s 125th anniversary, I am especially grateful for all those who came before us. Pioneer educators populated these buildings and built a philosophical framework for those of us who were to follow. This philosophical framework included passion and concern for students, pride in doing a good job, a desire to excel, and a yearning for a better future for all. It is the responsibility of our current employees to protect these values and pass them on to a new generation.

I am grateful for our employees.  Our faculty and staff continue to provide our students with some of the best service found anywhere. I hear about small acts of kindness nearly every day. I am always amazed at how far our campus personnel will go to make sure our learning environment is positive and effective. Year after year, Mayville State pays forward the promises of our ancestors.

The parents and families of our students are a joy with whom to be associated. Being a small institution gives us the advantage of being able to meet the families of many of our students. We have many students who exhibit all the characteristics of good citizenship. I am grateful we live in an area where parents teach their children the difference between right and wrong, and instill in them the values that will allow them to grow and prosper. 

My thoughts also include our community and alumni. We have extremely dedicated supporters who unselfishly assist our campus in many, many ways each year. Whether it is helping with an event, serving on a board, or assisting financially, our friends and neighbors are second to none. This support transcends our campus and is well-noticed far beyond our city borders. Our campus would never prosper as it has without this support.

Our campus is celebrating our 125th anniversary in high style. We have consecutively set records of all-time-high enrollments. Nearly $30 million in campus improvements have been recently made. Faculty, staff, and student satisfaction is high. Private financial giving is at record high levels. New academic programs and delivery systems are in place, and we are working from a solid financial base. All of this happened because of our dedicated employees and supportive alumni and friends.

Next year will be my tenth year as MSU President, and my 40th year as a Mayville State employee. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone or how much things have changed! My hope for this holiday season is that the strong commitment and positive values of our faculty, staff, students, and community never change. My guess is that they will not. 

I hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas, and that 2015 will be filled with many blessings for you!