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Loyalty, respect and perseverance defines IT director

"No" is not in the vocabulary of Cathy Horvath, director of information technology. That's according to her peers in Information Technology Central.

"Cathy does not say 'no.' No matter who you are, Cathy always finds a way to get what you need, or she will do it herself," said George Withus, desktop and lab coordinator. "We threatened to post a big piece of paper on her office wall with the word 'NO' to remind her how to say it. She is simply a wealth of information that can never be replaced, and she wanted to share all she had to offer with anybody in need."

Originally from Mohall, Horvath and her husband Bob moved to Minot from Fargo to be closer to their roots. A position as the secretary for social work and criminal justice opened up at Minot State in 1988 and Horvath jumped at the opportunity to not only work at a great institution, but to further her education.

"I started taking classes right away when I started working at Minot State," said Horvath. "Computers were just gearing up. They just started networking at that time, and it really interested me. It was during that time everything started to explode!"

Then after working in the Business Office, Horvath's interest in computers was satiated when she took a position in 1995 in technical support, working with the library website, building computers and maintaining journals on CD's. She worked in this position until 1997. Horvath then began working directly for then Network Services, and climbed the career ladder until she became the first director for ITC in 1999.

"Cathy is nothing short of extraordinary," said Brian Foisy, vice president for administration and finance. "She was once the accounts payable clerk in the Business Office, and today, she is our chief information officer, and she is the absolute best in the state. To see an accounts payable clerk transition to the administrative assistant to the vice president for administration and finance, to information technology, and then to see her advance to the chief information officer, that is amazing."

Horvath completed a Bachelor of Science degree in information systems management in 1996 and a Master of Science degree in management in 1999. During her years at MSU, she received scholarships to attend EDUCAUSE conferences and training. EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association with the mission to advance higher education through the use of information technology. Horvath served three years on its Fellowship Advisory Committee. She also served on Minot Public Schools Technical advisory Committee and was a member of Midwestern Higher Education Compact. She wrote publications for EDTECH magazine and received the Board of Regents and Vision 2013 awards. Horvath's proudest accomplishment, however, is the work she did in ITC.

"I'm proud of the team I've built, I hired them all. They have a loyalty and love for the department and MSU, and it is so evident in their work," Horvath said. "It's hard work, but we've made measurable progress as an IT group. We get lots of support and respect from faculty and staff and gaining respect so important. To the chagrin of some of the ITC staff, we've made laptops, desktops and so much more available for students to check out. I recall students sitting on the floor in our office finishing projects. Students have come in with a hug and thank you for personal service. We have no diversity problems. We have learned to respect everyone. Whether a president or student, each person has taught me a lot about acceptance. It's a good reality check, keeps you grounded and enriches your life. I've enjoyed coming to work every day."