A tribute to Steven P. Bensen

Steve_Bensen-web.jpgAs June comes to a close, we bid our best wishes to Steven P. Bensen, who will retire after a 30-year career at Mayville State University as Vice President for Business Affairs. He has become one of the most treasured administrators Mayville State has known. Steve began his career at Mayville State in 1987 and has risen to the top of his profession. He has been the pinnacle of class and a constant professional, a truly outstanding man who has served Mayville State with dedication and conscientiousness.

A great deal has changed at Mayville State during Steve’s career, and his efforts have been extremely important to all of these changes. The pace of administrative work and the number of items administrators are involved with has picked up considerably, especially during the last 10 years.

Bensen has been instrumental in a number of building projects, all of which have been pretty complex. He has secured campus authorizations from the State Board of Higher Education, worked with various architectural firms, negotiated contracts, gained legislative approvals, and kept track of all the activities associated with the building frenzy that has occurred on campus during the last several years 

Steve has successfully guided the campus with regard to financial dealings, legal requirements, and the myriad of rules, regulations, and demands of the North Dakota University System, government, and local campus. He has done all of this with confidence and skill.

In leaner days at Mayville State, not only did Steve do his job as Vice President for Business Affairs, he was also doing the work of the controller and human resources manager. He did all of this with a smile on his face and never complained. The campus recovered, of course, and these duties are now assumed by appropriate professionals, but there is no doubt that Mayville State is truly in debt to Steve for all he has done. Over the years, it has not been unusual to see Steve leaving his office in the morning to go home for breakfast and to change clothes after working much of the night to meet critical deadlines.

Steve’s assistance was vital in securing tens of millions of dollars in legislative funding over many biennia. His business acumen has been instrumental in positive financial outcomes for Mayville State. His feasibility study related to the coal-powered heating plant was pivotal. This new power plant solved the campus’s historic cash flow problems in one stroke. Steve’s work has been part of an unprecedented era of success in the history of Mayville State University.

Mr. Bensen has not only taken care of a myriad of duties related to his position as Vice President of Business Affairs. During his time at Mayville State, he has been very active in the work of the Comet Athletic Club and for a number of years, he served as the treasurer of the MSU Foundation board. In addition, he has overseen the activities of the Mayville Mutual Aid Corporation, an organization that exists to assist Mayville State by providing housing opportunities. To top it off, when Mayville State was partnering administratively with Valley City State University for several years in the 1990s, Steve served as Vice President for Business Affairs for both institutions.

“SPB,” as he affectionately known on campus, has earned great respect from his Mayville State colleagues, as well as those with whom he’s worked across the state.

Reflecting on Steve’s upcoming retirement, MSU’s Human Resources Director Crystal Beggs had this to say, “Mayville State University was lucky to benefit from Steve’s talent for all these years. His dedication, commitment, and hard work were second nature. I feel fortunate to have been mentored by Steve. He gave professionalism a whole new meaning. I wish him the happiest days ahead in his retirement.”

Colleague Bob Kozojed, Facilities Services Director has the highest praise for Steve. "What I appreciate most with Steve is the 'open door' that he has had. I could come into his office and talk to him about anything. His advice has helped me grow as a professional and to be come a better person."

MSU Director of Career Services & Internships Jay Henrickson said, “Working with Steve Bensen has been extremely rewarding for all of us. The images of Steve that come to mind are him working through the night to prepare budgets, his warm and friendly smile to all, his personal contributions to his church and community, and especially his dry and quick Scandinavian wit.”

He went on to say, “Now, Steve … go fishing! You deserve it!”

The students, faculty, staff, and administration of Mayville State University are truly grateful to Steve for his years of service and devotion to The School of Personal Service. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”