MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

October 17, 2020 

Celebrating homecoming in pandemic-safe style

Mayville State Homecoming Week 2020 kicked off with some great tradition … the Lip Sync Battle. This lively event has become a much-loved ritual for our students. Of course, precautionary measures related to COVID-19 were a top consideration for organizers, the members of the Student Athlete Advisory Council. Large indoor gatherings aren’t recommended, but thankfully, we were able to hold the event outside under the lights at Jerome Berg Field on an absolutely gorgeous Monday night, a much safer environment.

The student acts did not disappoint. Everyone enjoyed the event immensely. A group of freshman softball players won top honors in the battle. It was great to see our students experiencing a bit of normalcy while following safety guidelines.

Immediately following the Lip Sync Battle, MSU’s Homecoming 2020 king and queen, Mason Rice from Stanley, N.D. and Mason Hart from Moorhead, Minn., were crowned. I am Comet Proud of all members of the royal court: Elisabeth Dalke, Wishek, N.D.; Amber Gerszewski, Minto, N.D.; Victoria Johnson, Roseau, Minn.; Emily Kennelly, St. Thomas, N.D.; Abby Kohls, Mayville, N.D.; Sadie Mathews, Horace, N.D.; Laura Spurgeon, Buxton, N.D.; Trent Carlson, Park River, N.D.; Donnie Dulski, Moorhead, Minn.; Jack Gerber, East Grand Forks, Minn.; Timothy Rooks, Pahokee, Fla.; and Ty Steele, Gary, Ind.

Throughout the week, students enjoyed a variety of activities, including a scavenger hunt game that took them to downtown businesses, a hot dog eating contest, and a pep rally. Our Student Life staff, along with the Student Athlete Advisory Council members, pulled out all the stops to help to make sure our students could have some fun while being safe in light of the pandemic.

As a measure of caution related to the pandemic, the Alumni Association board and MSU Foundation employees made the decision to move forward with outdoor activities, but forego all indoor events that they had planned in conjunction with this year’s homecoming.

Hence, the traditional banquets where we’d have honored our Athletic Hall of Fame, Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame, and Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees, as well as Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service Award recipients will not be held this year. It is the hope of the Alumni Association board and employees that we will be able to honor these special members of the Mayville State family at a future in-person event to be determined, pending the COVID-19 situation.

In the meantime, if you have an opportunity to extend your congratulations and best wishes to the honorees, please do so. They are Athletic Hall of Fame inductees Richard Dean, Maple Grove, Minn., Cassie Leraas, Esmond, N.D., and Jeremy Strand, Portland, N.D.; Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame inductees Mark Frost, Hope, N.D., Curt Herman, Tolna, N.D., Earl Larson, Franklin, Wis., Todd Olson, Fargo, N.D., and Richard “Dick” Saxlund, West Fargo, N.D.; Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Jane Bjornstad, Chandler, Ariz., and Dr. John Lyng, Minnetonka, Minn.; Distinguished Service Award recipients Becky Gunderson, Portland, N.D., and Jim Lyng, Mayville, N.D.; and Performing Arts Hall of Fame inductees Michael Lien, Alameda, Calif., and Laurie (White) Nielson, Harwood, N.D.

Unfortunately, the delay in honoring these special members of the Mayville State family is happening for a second year in a row. You may recall that Homecoming 2019 was canceled due to a big snowstorm that hit our area.

Homecoming is all about “coming home” and the relationships we form with people who have become a special part of our lives. During this time of isolation related to the pandemic, we realize just how much we value these relationships and the opportunity to spend time together.

While we weren’t able to do everything we had hoped during Homecoming 2020, we are grateful that we could manage to hold some events with safety in mind. We continue to move forward with consideration for the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff leading the way. We look to the future with optimism and the return to life that looks a little more like what we have come to know and love.

    Scenes from Homecoming 2020

    Click on a thumbnail below to enlarge the photos, then use your arrow keys to scroll through.