MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

June 21, 2014

There is much to celebrate as Mayville State approaches 125th anniversary


The 125th Anniversary Alumni Days planned for June 20 and 21 will provide many opportunities for not only Mayville State alumni, but also friends and community members, to come together to celebrate the wonderful gift of Mayville State University in our community and in our individual lives.

We are filled with great anticipation as the Alumni Days celebration activities are set to unfold this weekend. Months of planning are culminating in what we know will be a very special time for our alumni and friends. In the midst of all of this excitement, we take time to think about the past 125 years and all for which we are thankful.

First, and most importantly, we remember the many special people we have the opportunity to get to know. We are privileged to have some very great students who are already making a difference in the world and who will continue to make us proud as they leave us as Mayville State alumni. Our faculty and staff are second to none. We are grateful to them as they work with our students in their quest to reach their full potential. Last, but certainly not least, we remember our fabulous alumni and friends, including the people of the Mayville-Portland community. We truly appreciate all that you do to support our university.

And there is much for which to be thankful at Mayville State University! Enrollment has been at all-time record highs for the past four years. Our serious deferred building maintenance has been reduced by over 65%. We have built a new facility to house the Division of Education and Psychology and renovated the science and library buildings. Our largest dormitory has been totally renovated. A new energy plant has reduced our heating bill by more than $500,000 per year. Our $1 million deficit has been eliminated, and we now enjoy excess cash reserves of more than $1.75 million. Virtually every building on campus has had some significant improvement. Our positive employee rating was the lowest in the North Dakota University System five years ago. Today, it is the highest at 87%. Our student satisfaction rating is over 90%. Renovation of the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation facility is underway. A campus-wide drainage project that will solve historic water problems and improve our streets and parking areas is also in process. In all, $29 million of campus improvements are now completed or underway, and to top it off, our MSU Foundation endowment has grown from less than $2 million to $5 million in just the past four years. All of this progress has been a great team effort, and we extend our most sincere “thank you” to all who have been a part of the team.

The renovation work at our long-awaited first-ever alumni center at Mayville State is finished, and we’ll host a grand opening celebration Friday, June 20 at 11:00 a.m. The Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center is a source of great pride. Please join in the celebration and see this beautiful “new” facility that serves as a “home” for our alumni and friends.

The Larson Center will also provide a place where student and community leaders can meet, learn, and grow in their leadership skills. Mayville State’s cross-curriculum leadership development program for students is in its second year of implementation, thanks to funding from the Edson & Margaret Larson Foundation. Using the six pillars of leadership, including leading by example, ethical judgment, leading with purpose, leadership communication, continuous learning, and leadership self-direction, the program is providing valuable leadership experiences for Mayville State students.

Please do plan to join us this weekend for the Alumni Days festivities. The celebration begins with the grand opening at the Larson Center on Friday morning, followed by the Alumni Days kickoff celebration and picnic sponsored by The First and Farmers Bank of Mayville and Portland. Also on Friday, we will honor this year’s Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service Award recipients, as well as all past recipients of these awards. We are eager to hear some fantastic music when Mayville State’s nationally recognized jazz musicians from the 60s and 70s return to campus to perform. Saturday, June 21 is reunion day. The Red Caps, former employees of Mayville State icon Bob Brown, and friends and former students of Professor Emeritus Terry Kemmer gather for open houses on campus. The grand finale will be the Mayville State all-class reunion at the Larson Center from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. You can see all the details at We look forward to celebrating with you!

The future is filled with hope and excitement for Mayville State as we look toward our 125th anniversary, on November 2, 2014. There are many great opportunities and projects on the horizon. It is my privilege to help guide our beloved Mayville State University during these very exciting times, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported these efforts.