MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

December 1, 2018

Strong ‘town and gown’ relationships are good for all

When I interviewed for the position of Mayville State University president, and on several occasions since, I have expressed my firm belief in having strong “town and gown” relationships. I extend these relationships beyond Mayville-Portland to Traill County and the region. The benefits of aligning priorities and cultivating stronger relationships are many, not only for Mayville State University, but also for the communities, businesses, industries, and citizens involved. Some of the benefits include maximizing capital and financial resources, attracting and retaining the best talent, driving economic development, and elevating the level of both learning and life.

The May-Port Economic Development Corporation had a huge impact on the project to install artificial turf at the football field at Mayville State. They provided a match of economic development funding for private gifts made to the project. This resulted in a $50,000 boost to the total fundraising effort. We are grateful for the EDC’s foresight in making these funds available. It was a thrill for the Mayville State Comets and the May-Port CG Patriots to play their home games on this beautiful new field this past season. These games bring folks from outside the community to town, where they often make purchases such as gas and food, stay at the local motel, eat in the restaurants, and more. The artificial turf is definitely a “town and gown” project and is benefitting the campus, the community, and areas beyond. We are delighted that we can all share in the positive results.

I recently met with Jim Murphy, the executive director of the Traill County Economic Development Commission. Jim began his work in this role in August. In the position, he oversees the operations of the Traill County Economic Development Commission. Jim is involved with the organizations that assist and grow the interests of the county including Traill United Group, May-Port EDC, Hillsboro EDC, Hatton EDC, and Economic Development of North Dakota. 

Murphy is working on a project that requires technical expertise. I was happy that I could recommend several Mayville State employees who have the knowledge he needs and who could potentially be valuable resources of information for him and the Traill County EDC.

Another way in which Mayville State University supports local businesses and citizens is by providing facilities where events, meetings, seminars, and learning opportunities can take place.

In October, the First and Farmers Bank of Portland and Mayville hosted a leadership seminar that was held at Mayville State, where they have access to the facilities and technology resources that are needed. The bank brought in an expert facilitator/speaker. Seminar attendees, who included members of the campus community, as well as people from the local area and others from out of the community, had an opportunity for learning and self-improvement. The bank has hosted these leadership seminars at Mayville State for years and many people have benefited from this special learning experience.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Goose River Bank will host their 2018 ag luncheon at the Mayville State Campus Center Luckasen Room from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be served following a discussion led by Tommy Grisafi from Advance Trading, Inc. Topics will include tariffs, interest rates, price management, and alternative crops. The event is free and open to the public. If you have questions, contact Penny at 701-788-3110.

Corey and Larry McGillis of HUB International in Portland and Mayville are hosting a farmer forum at the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room on Monday, Dec. 10. The event begins at 9 a.m. and lunch will be served. The speakers will be will be Eric Snodgrass, a highly regarded faculty member in the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois, and co-founder of Agrible, Inc., a company that focuses on seasonal forecasting for numerous stakeholders with significant weather risk; and Dr. David Kohl, a winner of prestigious state and national awards, who is emeritus Professor of Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech. The forum is open to the public and those with questions can call 800-448-7999.

I encourage all who may be interested to take advantage of these high quality learning opportunities on Dec. 4 and Dec. 10. What could be better than to have nationally recognized experts come right to us? We are happy that these types of activities can be held at Mayville State University, where community members and college students can learn together.

Building and nurturing “town and gown” relationships is high on my priority list. I will be actively pursuing ways in which we can strengthen the bonds among Mayville State University, the Mayville-Portland community, Traill County, and the region. I often use the term, “all boats rise together,” so what is good for one is good for all.