Graduation day and a fantastic 2022-23 at MSU

Today is a momentous day at Minot State University as we are celebrating the graduation of nearly 700 students who have completed their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. MSU’s 2023 graduating class has much for which to be proud! We join with their families, friends, and supporters in congratulating the fantastic accomplishments of these new graduates and wish them all the very best with their next endeavors in life.

Reflecting back on 2022-23, it has been a busy year at MSU with a number of important accomplishments and milestones. Two major renovation projects are underway on campus. The most significant is the $26.6 million renovation to Hartnett Hall – one of MSU’s largest academic facilities and home to such areas as communications, English, art, humanities, world languages, KMSU broadcasting, Aleshire Theatre, and a new home for MSU’s eSports. We are grateful to the North Dakota Legislature for funding the Hartnett upgrades; the renovations have been underway for about a year and remain on schedule for completion near the end of 2023. On the north edge of campus, the finishing touches are being put on the MSU Amphitheater, and we are excited to launch the 58th season of Summer Theatre beginning June 13. Thanks to all who have contributed to this project and helped ensure this wonderful gem will continue hosting performers and audiences for many decades!

In MSU’s College of Education and Health Sciences, students in nursing and teacher education continue graduating with outstanding success rates on their national licensure exams — frequently outpacing both state and national averages. Many of our students in specialized fields such as social work, communication sciences and disorders, addiction studies, school psychology, special education, and nursing are graduating with multiple job offers. Earlier this year, MSU’s school psychology program was awarded a five-year, $4.35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to partner with schools in the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa community.

In the College of Business, students participating in active groups such as FBLA, DECA, the Finance Club, and SWIFT (Students With Interest in Future Technologies) are excelling in regional and national competitions. A group of students recently competed in Fargo and took first place in the North Central Chapter of the Risk Management Association’s Credit Analysis Competition, beating students from a number of larger regional universities. In April, we hosted the first-ever College of Business Academic Showcase where both Minot State and high school students presented their work to business judges.

Initiatives through the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy and the Looyenga Leadership Center are also creating impactful and positive opportunities for students across campus to engage in hands-on and active educational activities. Thanks to the generosity of MSU graduates Clint Severson and Roger Looyenga, significant new opportunities are now available to our students.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, MSU students are winning regional awards in broadcasting and showcasing their talents in the arts, theater, and music. Our Faculty and Student Research Poster Session recently showcased high-level research at MSU in diverse areas including chemistry, criminal justice, psychology, geology, addiction studies, social sciences, and the humanities.

MSU’s computer science and cybersecurity students continue excelling in regional competitions. Art students have been able to showcase their talents in MSU’s Northwest Arts Center and during annual events such as NOTSTOCK. Two weeks ago, the Minot Symphony Orchestra held a phenomenal season finale of its 97th season and performed in front of nearly 1,000 attendees in a completely sold-out Ann Nicole Nelson Hall.

We have added a dozen new academic programs during the past year in a variety of fields, including new certificates, minors, and majors. Minot State’s newest degree program in data science will be available beginning in the fall as we continue expanding in computer science and cyber-related fields. Our bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (ECE) was recently ranked the third-best online ECE program in the nation.

In athletics, we celebrated an ACHA Division 1 national championship for our men’s hockey team and an ACHA Division 1 national runner-up for our women’s hockey team –remarkable seasons for both teams! We also completed the very first season of women’s wrestling, and this new team at MSU is making us proud and continuing to grow. We have added a men’s club soccer team that will begin its first season of competition this upcoming fall.

MSU has appreciated connecting with important community partners such as the Minot Area Chamber-EDC, Minot Air Force Base, area K-12 schools, and Dakota College at Bottineau. Last fall we held the first annual Energy Game Day at an MSU football game and this winter hosted a Military Appreciation at an MSU hockey game. In October, MSU worked with several corporate partners to host NoDakon 2022, a cybersecurity themed event. We look forward to continuing these collaborations with important community and regional partners.

Our students at MSU continue giving back to the community through volunteering, community service, and their outreach with student clubs and organizations — the students at MSU are a vital part of our community in Minot, and they add much to the richness, diversity, and vibrancy of our great city. We are also proud to continue hosting events and activities that bring cultural opportunities to the region, and regularly bring many visitors and guests into our community. The recently completed 33rd annual Spring Honor Dance and Powwow brought many visitors to campus for a wonderful weekend celebration.

MSU and the MSU Development Foundation launched our largest ever capital campaign during last fall’s Homecoming Week. The $50 million “Empower” campaign will support scholarships, academic programs, campus facilities, and athletics, and to date we are over 80% to our goal, thanks to the generosity of many of you reading this column.

On a celebratory day such as today, I am so proud of our graduates and their terrific achievements, and I am equally proud of the team of faculty and staff who dedicate their careers to serving and educating our students and helping MSU fulfill our mission to this terrific region.

Thanks to the generosity of so many Minot State friends and supporters, I am able to write about all of this good news. There are myriad exciting initiatives underway across campus, and none of this is possible without the support of so many. The future is bright for the MSU campus and our students, and today’s Commencement ceremony is a big exclamation upon that brightness!


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