MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune 

May 12, 2018 

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Hagen retirement emeritus.jpgDebbie and I had a very special time Friday night, May 4, at my retirement celebration held in the Luckason Room on the campus of Mayville State University. It was an evening filled with the sharing of memories and stories of our time here at Mayville State. Laughter, tears of joy, and getting reacquainted with special friends from the past created an evening we will never forget. To all of you who attended, we say “thank you.” Debbie and I love this community we came to 42 years ago and we were so happy to see the room filled with faculty, staff, friends, colleagues, family, and community members there to celebrate with us at the end of our career. 

Thank you to all who contributed to sponsoring the Downtown Horns so we could enjoy their wonderful music, and to Happy Harry’s for donating champagne for an additional special touch. 

We really appreciated the speakers who traveled so far to share this special night with us: U.S. Senator John Hoeven, NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott, Lee Kaldor, and Mike Moore. John Klocke did a great job as emcee and entertained us with those “oh so special retirement songs.” And then there was Jen Kohls who spoke from the heart about her MSU experiences as my advisee and who was so kind with her remarks. As we listened to the words they shared, so many of our experiences from the past 42 years seemed to come alive once again.

I also want to recognize the efforts of Beth Swenson, Mary Trudeau, Stacy Buchl, Ashley Hanson, Bob Kozojed and his Facilities Services crew, and Bryan Karolus and the Dining Services staff for all their great work, as well as the dedicated President’s Cabinet members Jami Hovet, Andrew Pflipsen, and Allison Johnson, who poured champagne, along with Mary Trudeau and Stacy Buchl. The room looked wonderful, complete with fantastic fresh flowers courtesy of Kim Lauf, Shireen Grinager, Peggy Schultz, and Janice Thoreson. Ron Jacobson prowled the room catching many memories on his camera. The PLS provided great service for beverages, and the band, the Downtown Horns, worked their musical magic once again.

Memories of the great many friendships forged and the incredible successes we have enjoyed have been an extraordinary part of my life. Countless community members, alumni, and friends have contributed in many ways, and our current prosperity would not have been possible without them. All of these efforts, of course, were done for the benefit of our students and I think I will miss interacting with them the most.

So there is no question that I have been very blessed throughout my career and I fully realize that most of what I am often credited with was only accomplished because of the assistance and work of many others.  No one does their work alone, and I have had the good fortune of being surrounded by a lot of great people who, quite frankly, have often made me look good because of their extraordinary skills. Still, some of our efforts will only become evident many years from now, and as an Ancient Chinese Proverb states: “we all plant trees under which we will never sit.” In the years ahead, I look forward to watching some of these past efforts come to fruition, and I look forward to watching the new efforts of the new campus leadership come to life in new and wonderful ways as Mayville State moves into its new future. Mayville State is not just surviving, it is thriving!

Photo caption: NDUS Chancellor Dr. Mark Hagerott (right) presented framed certificates designating Dr. Gary Hagen's status as President Emeritus and Debbie Hagen's title of First Lady Emerita at the May 4 retirement celebration. The State Board of Higher Education approved these designations at their April 2018 meeting.