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MSU Profiles

Minot State education provides foundation for four generations

"It was probably the best years of my life. I really enjoyed it," explained Jan (Ennis) Barlow about her collegiate experience at Minot State University. "I came from the little school of Minot Model and to have all of these people on campus, it was very exciting to go from that building to Minot State's buildings. And, what wonderful Beta Theta Sorority sisters I had, and all the activities we attended, and we were active on campus. We made friendships that have lasted throughout our lives."

Minot Model, one of four lab schools across the state, opened on MSU's campus in 1926. Student teachers, supervised by education professors, taught the students. Its high school closed in 1968, but the elementary school continued until 1990.

Barlow graduated from Minot Model and Minot State University in 1961 with a degree in elementary and business education. She married Arden "AJ" Barlow, a Minot Model and Minot State alumnus, in 1961. AJ graduated from Minot State in 1960 with a degree in business administration. She taught for a few years at Bel Air Grade School in Minot and then the couple moved to Valley City, where she taught at Valley City High School and also chaired the Business Department. Later, she owned the Valley City Credit Bureau and then became an agent for State Farm Insurance. They returned to Minot in 2007.

"It opened many doors," related Barlow about the education she received from Minot State. "And, it was because of the Minot State University people who influenced me - Doris Slaaten is one, and Bernard Busse was another. They also became lifelong friends. They set a good example for us all the way through."

Always deeply engaged in the Minot Model Alumni Association, Barlow currently serves on its board of directors. She is also president of SCORE and active in PEO-Chapter AG, Beta Sigma Phi-Master Theta, MSU Board of Regents and Bethany Lutheran Church.

Barlow's father and greatest influence, Harold B. Ennis lived to be 94 years old and started the Minot State family tradition. Ennis attended Minot State in the 1930s with help from an athletic scholarship. He received a teaching certification in 1940 and went on to serve as principal at the Clay Center near Lansford before working as a foreman at the Gavin Yards rail facility in Minot.

"The day I started at Minot State, my dad dropped me off, and he said 'I don't care what you take, but I want you to have something, a way to support yourself'. Well after being here probably two weeks, I knew I loved it, and I was staying as long as I could, and I was here for four years to get an undergraduate degree."

Barlow's daughter, Beth Hardy, graduated from the College of Business in 1992. Brandyn Ball, Hardy's son, began taking MSU classes online and on campus when he was a senior airman at Minot Air Force Base. Although he is now stationed in Georgia for advanced training, Ball is still enrolled in MSU online classes, making him the fourth generation of family to attended Minot State.

"We are very proud of him (Brandyn Ball), and his degree from MSU is going to further his career," Barlow said. "Beth, his mother, majored in business administration at MSU, and she is now the financial service officer for Carolina Health Systems, and she wouldn't have done that without Minot State. I want everyone to know of the warm, caring nature of the faculty and staff because that's what makes Minot State the wonderful place it is."