May 29, 2020
Kristi Lentz will long be remembered by members of the Mayville State family as someone who left a lasting impact of positivity and kindness. Lentz has served as Director of Counseling and Freshmen Retention Services, as well as a Student Success instructor, for the last 10 years. She has always greeted students, faculty, and staff as friends and with an open door. Kristi will retire from her position at Mayville State at the end of May.
One of her colleagues said, “I will never forget how she would begin each semester by standing at the corner where the Science Building and Classroom Building meet, greeting everyone who passed by with a friendly “hello,” a smile, and an upbeat attitude.”
Kristi Lentz has impacted the Mayville State campus in many ways. During some difficult times during the last academic year, including the death of a faculty member and the abrupt moving of all course delivery to online this spring, Kristi has worked diligently to support students, as well as faculty and staff.
Lentz began her work at Mayville State on Aug. 1, 2010, and on that very first day, she boarded a plane and headed to Philadelphia to attend a NACADA week-long workshop with four Mayville State colleagues. NACADA is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students who work to enhance the educational development of students.
“Talk about jumping in with both feet!” she remembered. Part of that experience was getting to know an appreciated colleague, Connie Kaldor, who was especially helpful in her transition to working at Mayville State.
When reflecting on her years at Mayville State, Kristi said, “The phrase, ‘School of Personal Service,’ immediately pops into my head because it is so very true.” When speaking with parents during summer registration events, she always told them, “What you’re seeing today is not fake. It is not a dog and pony show put on to impress you when school starts. MSU faculty and staff genuinely care about your son or daughter and their success at Mayville State today and every day.”
“Kristi’s true impact on our campus may not be as visible to some, given the discretion and confidentiality that surrounds her professional practice, but there is little doubt she has had a positive impact on our campus for the last 10 years,” said Dr. Andrew Pflipsen, MSU Vice President for Student Affairs. “The mental health needs of our students have increased significantly over the years, and Kristi has always been able to assist, support, and work with our most at-risk student populations. She will be severely missed by not only our students, but by our entire campus community.”
Lentz’s duties have included supervision of the First Year Experience Program, Seminar on Success (SOS), and advising the Peer Leaders group. As the campus counselor, she connected with many students in a variety of ways. The thought that she was able to help students with their personal issues while they were learning to become successful college students is a source of satisfaction for her.
Kristi said that watching the transformation from being that frightened, or at least nervous, freshman to a confident graduate ready to jump into that first job in their chosen field has been one of her favorite experiences.
Each fall, on the first day of her SOS class, Kristi told her students that by the end of their first semester they would be different from who they were on that day. Most of them looked at her like she was a goofball who didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. However, at the end of each semester, she mentioned the first day of class and then asked, “Are you the same person you were on the first day of SOS? Have you had to make decisions you had no idea you would have to make? Have you made any mistakes this semester, and have you learned from them?” Heads would nod and the smiles on her students’ faces told Kristi that they agreed. “Maybe I did know a thing or two about them and this journey they were experiencing,” she surmised.
Krristi says that working with the Peer Leaders has been the part of her job that she considers the most fun and what she anticipates she will most the most.
“While Peer Leaders are selected to be a part of the group because they bring strong character qualities to the position, it is so fun and rewarding to watch their leadership skills and confidence grow,” she reflects. “They do an excellent job of helping freshmen make the transition to college life, and they role model how to be successful college students.”
“With her positivity guiding the way, Kristi Lentz has made a lasting impression on students on their journeys toward earning their degrees,” said Mayville State University President Dr. Brian Van Horn. “We are so very grateful to Kristi for how she has made a difference in the lives of not only our students, but in the lives of faculty and staff as well. She will be greatly missed, and we wish her all the best in her retirement years.”
Summing up her experiences at Mayville State, Kristi said, “Working at Mayville State has given me the opportunity to grow not only as a professional, but also to work with many amazing people! Thank you, Mayville State faculty and staff! I will miss all of you and hope to continue to see many of you.” Her retirement plans include spending more time with her grandchildren and at their family’s lake cabin.
Kristi Lentz is pictured with the 2019-2020 Mayville State Peer Leaders group.