MSU President's Newspaper Column

October 15, 2022 

Service to others is key to the good work Mayville State alumni do in our world

Service to others became the overarching theme as we formally honored alumni during the Mayville State University Homecoming 2022 festivities Oct. 7 and 8. This year’s Athletic Hall of Fame and Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame inductees were recognized during a banquet program Friday evening, Oct. 7. The 2022 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service Award recipients were recognized during a brunch program on Saturday morning, Oct. 8.

Athletic Hall of Fame inductees were the 1989-90 men’s basketball team, Kelly Christianson, Gerry Falk, and James Lewis. Hank Biesiot, Mark Carter, Rick Christianson, Jim Dew, Tim Kolsrud, and Randy Vigen were inducted into the Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame. Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were Dr. Joe Eisenmann, Dr. Ron Reilkoff, and Jim Richardson. Pam Soholt and Cleone Whelan received the Distinguished Service Award.

To say this is a group of accomplished individuals is an understatement. It never ceases to amaze me how Mayville State graduates make a positive difference in our world, whether it be through their simple acts of kindness or high-tech and brilliant work in their careers. Over and over again we see examples of Mayville State University graduates who take the lessons in personal service learned at Mayville State and make them come to life in the communities in which they live and in their careers all over the world.

In his remarks at the banquet, Athletic Hall of Fame inductee James Lewis told us he grew up in a large family. He came to Mayville State as a student-athlete and was dubbed “The most prodigious running back to ever wear a Comet uniform.” While he tore up the football field, James also worked hard as a student. A memory he shared brought him back to Thanksgiving many years ago. He was prepared to spend the entire weekend working on three papers that were due in his classes. It would have been nice to go home to Indianapolis, but it was important to be successful in his classes.

Dean of Students Dr. Harvey McMullen knew that James would be spending the weekend in his dorm room while most other students had gone home to their families. He got ahold of James and invited him to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and a time of watching football with the McMullen family. As James said, “I didn’t think that Dr. McMullen would even know me,” but there he was inviting James to a special time among friends who are like family. Harvey picked James up at the dorm and after a nice relaxing day, delivered him back to his dorm so he could work on his studies. James was thankful for the opportunity when it happened, but I’d venture to say he thinks of this act of service and kindness every Thanksgiving.

It really struck me how James, a first-generation college student, recognized that he was a role model to the family members who came after him. He was setting the example and showing them how it is possible to get a college education and be successful in life. James spoke from the heart as he explained what this has meant to him throughout his life.

It makes me Comet Proud to think about how the lives of countless young people have been positively impacted by our Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame inductees. Tim Kolsrud has attributed success in coaching to “outstanding relationships.” I think it’s fair to say that this is a key to success for all of our honored alumni.

Distinguished Alumnus Jim Richardson has literally climbed to the mountain tops to raise the funds needed to help the Make a Wish and Operation Smile organizations. Dr. Joe Eisenmann is impacting athletes nationally and internationally in the context of physical activity, youth sports, and fitness. Dr. Ron Reilkoff teaches and does research in the medical world, but he’s also an administrator, overseeing the Intensive Care Units at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and he directs a clerkship in intensive care medicine for fourth-year students at the U of M medical school. There is no doubt that service to others is at the heart of all that these gentlemen do.

Pam Soholt and Cleone Whelan have devoted countless hours of their time serving their alma mater, making weekends like Homecoming 2022 possible. Their love for Mayville State University is evident in the many ways in which they support and promote. We are truly blessed through the work of Pam and Cleone and all of the Alumni Association board members. Because of their efforts, the Mayville State legacy of service continues.

It is so very evident that Mayville State University graduates are doing good in the world. Programs like those held this last weekend are a humbling experience. They bring laughter and tears, but most of all, they pull at the heartstrings. Knowing that Mayville State University is the tie that binds us all together helps to fill my cup.

Scenes from Homecoming 2022

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