Homecoming 2013: a weekend of honoring heroes, celebrating Mayville State connections

For Mayville State alumni and friends, October 11 through 13 was a weekend of honoring individual and team accomplishments, reminiscing, catching up, winning a hard-fought football game versus a longtime rival, a look at the future campus “home” for alumni and friends, starting new traditions, and celebrating a common thread that binds them together, “the school of personal service.” Homecoming 2013 will long be fondly remembered by those who shared in the festivities.

The annual homecoming celebration, sponsored by the Mayville State University Alumni Association, began with the annual Athletic Hall of Fame Awards Dinner held Friday evening, Oct. 11. Allan Larson, Crookston, Minn.; Rodney Anderson, Lisbon, N.D.; Ron Ness, Moorhead, Minn.; and Cedric Weatherspoon, Minneapolis, Minn.; were inducted during a program emceed by Mayville State graduate Broc Lietz of Casselton, N.D. Michael Sly was honored posthumously. The MSU Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes people who excelled as athletes or coaches at Mayville State or who have gone above and beyond in support of Mayville State athletics.

The wet, windy, and dreary weather Saturday morning was a hindrance to the annual homecoming parade, but it did not stop the tradition. While the number of entries was down, spirits were high in the parade which began on campus and ran through downtown Mayville.

A steady stream of visitors took advantage of the opportunity to get a “sneak peek” of Mayville State’s soon-to-be campus home for alumni and friends. Historic Northwest Hall, which was built on the Mayville State campus in 1911, is being renovated for this purpose. Work has progressed nicely, and plans are to hold the first event, a pre-President’s Dinner social, in the recently named Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center in November. Over the next several months, renovation will be completed and the building will be furnished, with the goal of an official grand opening during Mayville State’s Alumni Days in June of 2014.

Jim Bisenius, Roseville, Calif.; Dan Carr, Linton, N.D.; John Hutchison, Northwood, N.D.; David Hanson, St. Thomas, N.D.; and Bob Zimney, Grand Forks, N.D.; were each inducted into Mayville State Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame during a luncheon held in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room Saturday, Oct. 12. The purpose of this division of Mayville State’s Hall of Fame is to recognize Mayville State alumni who have excelled in their careers as coaches. Mayville State graduate and athletic hall of fame selection committee member Curt Almlie of Detroit Lakes, Minn. emceed the program.

Weather issues waylayed the plan to host an Alumni Association meet and greet event outside Jerome Berg Field. The rain forced the cancellation of the planned inflatable and yard games, but alumni did have the chance to get a free insulated tumbler commemorating Mayville State’s 125th anniversary, as promised, in the MSU Campus Center.  

The weather was much-improved by football game time, and the Comets came out as heroes in their historic defeat of longtime rival, the Valley City State University Vikings, in a final score of 14-9. This was the first time since 1998 that Mayville State had defeated Valley City State in a football game.

Saturday’s MSU Alumni Association-sponsored festivities ended with a social at the Mayville Golf Course. Alumni and friends, young and old, and from near and far, joined in the well-attended celebration.

On Sunday, Oct. 13, the first-ever Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees were recognized during the traditional homecoming band and choir concert held in the MSU Classroom Building Auditorium. Merwyn Green (posthumously); Francis Colby, Fargo, N.D.; Christopher Jones, Pinson, Ala.; the Clark and Joann Ewen family, Mayville, N.D.; Dennis Connelly, Bismarck, N.D.; Vernon Gerig, Jr. (posthumously), Eugene Gaffney, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; and Olaf Ringerud, Carrington, N.D. were inducted.

Homecoming 2013 culminated with a social to honor the Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees. Hosted by the Alumni Association board, the social was held immediately following the concert in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room.

“Homecoming 2013 was a very memorable time,” said MSU Director of Alumni Affairs Beth Swenson. “It was a heart-warming celebration of what makes Mayville State University special - the people. It is our privilege to provide opportunities for our alumni and friends to be recognized for their success and to stay connected. We look forward to extending the celebration over the next year as we mark Mayville State’s 125th anniversary.”