MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

April 28, 2018

Commencement festivities planned for May 12

The people of Mayville State are busy preparing for a big celebration that will be held on campus May 12. The graduates have worked hard to reach this milestone and look forward with anticipation to this day, commencement day.

Festivities will begin with the traditional graduation brunch, hosted by the MSU Alumni Association. A sit-down meal and program will begin at 11 a.m. in the Campus Center Luckasen Room. Representatives of the graduating class will bring greetings on behalf of all graduates. The brunch will be complimentary for all who attend, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Gate City Bank. To RSVP for the brunch, go to

Following the graduation brunch, the graduates, together with Mayville State faculty and staff who will march in the academic procession and the graduation platform party will gather in the Wellness Center gymnasium. There will be a bustle of activity as graduates get into their gowns and do their best to get those mortarboards and tassels properly placed on their heads.

Once everyone is in his or her appointed place, the procession, led by mace bearer Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Keith Stenehjem, will leave the Wellness Center and make its way to the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. At the proper time, the members of the platform party will take their places on stage, followed by faculty and staff and the graduates, who will have seats reserved on the floor directly in front of the stage.

In addition to student speakers who will address the audience on behalf of the graduates, we are honored to have North Dakota University System Chancellor Dr. Mark R. Hagerott as our commencement speaker. Prior to his move back home to North Dakota. Dr. Hagerott served on the faculty and held numerous academic leadership roles at the United States Naval Academy. He also served as a planning and strategy director in one of the largest U.S. Army educational organizations. NATO Training Mission, which included the Afghanistan army, police, air force, and medical school programs. Hagerott served as distinguished professor and deputy director of the Center for Cyber Security Studies at the Naval Academy and served on the Defense Science Board summer study of unmanned systems 2014-2015. He is a commissioner on The American Council on Education, Midwestern Higher Education Compact, and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

The chancellor hails from a multi-generation North Dakota family of farmers and energy producers. The Hagerott-Brandenburg family homesteaded in Center and Mandan before statehood, where his father continues to work on the fourth-generation farm, and his mother’s family came with the first Bakken oil boom.

Following the chancellor’s address, the long-awaited moment will finally arrive … the awarding of diplomas. The graduates have worked very hard to earn their college diplomas. It will be a pleasure to recognize them for their efforts. Of special note this year, is the participation of our first student to earn a master’s degree. There will be a short hooding ceremony recognizing her achievement of the Master of Science in Teaching degree as she crosses the stage.

Following the graduation ceremony, the faculty and officers of the institution will host a commencement reception for the graduates and their guests in the Campus Center Luckasen Room.

While commencement marks an end, the end of an educational journey with the earning of a degree, commencement is a beginning, the beginning of a new chapter in life for the new graduates. We look forward to hearing the good news of the achievements of these special members of the Mayville State family as they go out and make an impact in the world, and we hope that they will continue their educational journeys as lifelong learners.

See more about Commencement 2018 at

The graduation ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. in the Lewy Fieldhouse and are open to the public. We’d love to have you share in this very special day at Mayville State University. Please plan to join us in welcoming Chancellor Hagerott, while congratulating our newest graduates.

On another topic, I want to remind you of my retirement celebration on Friday evening, May 4. My wife, Debbie, and I hope you will join us for what we know will be an enjoyable evening. There will be socializing from 6 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a short program. Thanks to many of our generous and thoughtful friends, there will be dancing from 7 to 11 p.m. with music provided by the fabulous “Downtown Horns.” The campus accomplishments of the last years would not have been possible without you, and we would treasure the opportunity to celebrate with you.