June 3, 2021
Next Issue: July 6, 2021
Submissions Due: June 25, 2021
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Minot State celebrates 106th Commencement Ceremony in person at the Dome

Minot State University returned to the MSU Dome for its 106th Spring Commencement Ceremony on May 14. The University awarded 656 degrees to 648 students in its Class of 2021.

This year’s Commencement also honored individuals from the 2020 graduating class as 2020’s live event was canceled due to COVID-19. Names of each student who couldn’t attend this year’s ceremony were read at the event.

Sara (Birkeland) Medalen, a 1990 and a 2009 graduate of MSU, was the 2021 Spring Commencement keynote speaker. Medalen is a 28-year teaching veteran and was named the 2020 Minot Public Schools and 2020 North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Most recently she garnered national recognition, receiving the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.

This year’s celebration included messages from President Dr. Steven Shirley, students Madison Tiedman and Thea Bonebrake, and State Board of Higher Education representative Tim Mihalick, a 1981 MSU graduate. The University’s website included a Wall of Grads, senior spotlights, and photo galleries and can be accessed at MinotStateU.edu/grad

Freshman Admission Guarantee for speech-language pathology

Minot State has unveiled a Freshman Admission Guarantee opportunity for prospective students interested in becoming speech-language pathologists.

Speech-language pathology is one of the fastest growing careers with growth expected well into the future. As an SLP, graduates can work with people of all ages to prevent, diagnose, and treat speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders.

The Freshman Admission Guarantee will allow eligible students automatic entry into the highly-regarded Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program following the completion of their four-year undergraduate degree at the University.

“The process of getting accepted into a graduate program is very competitive and can be nerve-wracking. According to the current CSD Education survey (2019-2020), only 39% of applicants are admitted into a master’s level program,” said Mary Huston, communication sciences and disorders interim chair. “This freshman guarantee helps alleviate some of that anxiety by increasing the likelihood of getting into a quality speech-language pathology graduate program.”

Minot State honors 2020-21 award winners

Minot State University honored its 2020-2021 Board of Regents Faculty and Staff Achievement Award winners, Distinguished Lifetime Educator Award winner Audrey Lunday, Academic Advisor of the Year, and 11 retirees during its annual Employee Retirement and Recognition program May 12.

The University also recognized employees for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service along with the 2020-21 Staff Senate High Five Award winners. See Minot State's HUMAN RESOURCES SITE for all award winners, a list of retirees, photos for each award, and photos of all years of service groups.

Earning the Board of Regents Achievement Award for faculty were Mark Singer, Division of Social Science; Dan Conn, Department of Teacher Education and Kinesiology; and Gary Rabe, Department of Criminal Justice.

The faculty award was established in 1985 by the Burlington Northern Foundation. In 1990 the Board of Regents established a second award and now solely supports the awards to recognize outstanding University teaching. The intent of the award is to recognize, reward, and motivate excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

Minot State staff members earning awards in 2020-21 include Debbie Brothers, Division of Social Science; Michael Linnell, University Communications; and Karina Stander, Residence Life.

The Board of Regents Staff Achievement Award was established in 1991. The Board of Regents established the award to recognize University staff members for outstanding service to the University and the community.

Minot State annually names two academic advisors of the year for service in assisting students. Named Outstanding New Academic Advisor is Karen Foley, teacher education and kinesiology, and Outstanding Academic Advisor is Leslie Magnus, communication sciences and disorders.

Staff Senate donates Silent Auction proceeds to the Minot Area Homeless Coalition

The Minot State Staff Senate Special Events committee would like to thank everyone who participated and donated items, money, and time to the Silent Auction last month.

This year, MSU Staff Senate was able to raise $1,000 for the Minot Area Homeless Coalition through this event. Staff Senate presented a check to Mac McLeod, executive director, Minot Area Homeless Coalition at its May Staff Senate meeting. Your support for this event is greatly appreciated.

NDCPD launches new public health initiative

NDCPD is launching a new public health initiative, COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Confidence for People with Disabilities. The initiative is made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention. NDCPD is one of 23-AUCD network centers strategically located across the country to reach local disability communities, reduce access barriers, and promote vaccine confidence. The goal is to vaccinate all eligible people with disabilities by the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26.

The initiative focuses on building vaccine confidence in the disability community through family conversations in the weeks between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Network centers will share information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in community meetings, newsletters, social media campaigns, short videos, and other local outreach efforts. For more information contact KRISTA OPSTEDAL, project manager, or call ext. 3580.

Summer Theatre welcomes back in-person audiences for Season 56

After a year hiatus of in-person performances, Minot State University Summer Theatre is back.

“Many say that the most important ingredient to any successful performance is a live audience,” said Chad Gifford, Summer Theatre artistic director. “We have sorely missed seeing everyone and are nearly giddy with joy that we will have people in our seats again. When that first audience applauds, that heart-warming sound will signal a return to our favorite place on Earth.”

The season opens mid-June and features three shows plus a special one-night event.

Kicking off summer, Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka” will run from June 16-21 and 23-26, followed by Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot,” a murder mystery full of laughs and sudden surprise twists, July 7-12. The third show will run July 21-26 and 28-31 and is aimed at adults and not recommended for children: Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” Featuring classic Parton songs, the musical follows a trio of working women pushed to the limit by their overbearing boss until they do something unthinkable.

In between “The Game’s Afoot” and “9 to 5,” local talk show “Goodnight Minot” will hold a live performance at the iconic outdoor location. Host Jacob Thrailkill will crack jokes, interview guests, and engage in various shenanigans on July 15.

Alumni Association plans busy summer schedule

The Minot State University Alumni Association will have a busy summer schedule including its annual Friend Raising Golf Tour, State Fair Luau, and Alumni and Friends Socials.

“We are very excited to see our alumni, family, and friends this summer,” said Janna McKechnie, Minot State director of alumni relations and annual giving. “This past year was very difficult as we were unable to host many of our events that normally bring alumni together. I hope to see as many of our alumni and friends as possible this summer at these great events.”

The Alumni Association will host the 16th year of the Friend Raising Golf Tour. MSU plans to host three events with Velva kicking off the season June 8 at the Star City Golf Course. The Tour will move to Bottineau Country Club on June 29 and finish the season at the Kenmare Country Club on Aug. 5. Registration for each even begins at 4:30 p.m. with a 5 p.m. shotgun start.

Click HERE for a complete list of Alumni Association summer events.


Northwest Arts Center
The gallery is located on the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library, with its own entrance on the south side of the library. The arts center is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m., and by special arrangement. It is closed holidays. Masks and physical distancing are required.

  • Compositionally Offensive: Six Minot State senior art students will host their senior capstone exhibition, Compositionally Offensive, to mark the culmination of their studies. The exhibition features Amanda Anderson, JoHannah Grosz, Darby Ness, Rayson Renfrow, Tessia Samuelson, and Rhonda Weninger. The show will be on view May 7-June 4. The full press release, including information about the artists, is available HERE.
  • Pop Cars & Wild Rides: The Northwest Arts Center and the Taube Museum of Art present "Pop Cars," an exhibition by North Dakota artist Mack Schroer, and "Wild Rides," posters from the private collection of Laurie Geller, on view in the Northwest Arts Center from May 7 to June 8. Both exhibitions are free and open to the public. Be sure to catch the second half of these exhibits at the Taube Museum of Art. The full press release about the show is available HERE.

Flat Tail Press
Flat Tail Press is an educational printmaking studio at Minot State University. The gallery is located in the landing space on second and third floor of the Minot State Student Center, west entrance. It is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-12 p.m.

Hartnett Hall Gallery
The gallery provides exhibition space for students, faculty, and community artists, and is located on the second floor on the west side of Hartnett Hall in Room 233. The Hartnett Hall Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.


Heather Golly, coordinator for the new exercise science and rehab program, was acknowledged in the NSCA Education Recognition Program (ERP). This supports the high quality of the ESR program and the faculty working to make it happen. By pursuing and achieving NSCA recognition through the ERP, this program has demonstrated that it meets the requirements to prepare students for the NSCA-CPT and CSCS certifications and is committed to quality. This partnership will provide a proven network of professional support for students as they embark on their careers in the strength and conditioning industry.

Malinda Kragh, research associate at the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD), was named Minot State University Staff Senate's April High Five Award winner.

Congratulations to team Walking on Sunshine for winning MSUWell’s annual team Walking Challenge. Team members include Karina Stander, residence life director, Abigail Graves, residence life coordinator, and Michael Linnell, university communication director, who won an MSUWell long sleeve T-shirt. Congrats to Zoey Winkler, research associate, North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities, on winning the $20 Sanford gift card drawing.

Hassan Elshanbary for being selected as the ASC Student of the month for April. He has contributed to the Academic Support Center’s programs as a Peer Tutor.

Tanner Thompson was elected president of the North Dakota State Phi Beta Lambda chapter for the 2021-22 academic year. Melanie MacPherson was elected vice president of finance.

Minot State Phi Beta Lambda 2021 State Leadership Conference award winners are:

  • Haley Wood, 1st place, Financial Concepts; 1st place, Marketing Concepts; 2nd place, Accounting Principles
  • Hannah Heisler, 1st place, Information Management; 3rd place, Personal Finance; Who’s Who Award
  • Tanner Thompson, 1st place, Local Chapter Annual Business Report; 3rd place, Computer Concepts; 3rd place Marketing Concepts; Who’s Who Award
  • Melanie MacPherson, 2nd place, Financial Concepts; 3rd place, Management Concepts; Who’s Who Award
  • Chloe Gunderson, 1st place, Organizational Behavior and Leadership; 3rd place, Accounting Principles

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Minot State University mission
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.