Message from the President

A wonderful spring semester at MSU

By Dr. Steven W. Shirley
President, Minot State University

With summer now upon us and the planning mode in high gear for the 2024-25 academic year, I write this message reflecting upon and celebrating the many happenings at MSU during the first half of 2024.

In March, we officially reopened Hartnett Hall following its nearly two-year closure for a $26.6 million renovation. Two significant meetings in March and April with attendees from across the state were held in Hartnett as we hosted the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education as well as the North Dakota Legislature’s Higher Education committee. While some classes were held this spring during the final two months of the semester, Hartnett will be an even busier epicenter of activity when it is available for a full semester beginning in the fall. Please mark your calendars as we host a Business After Hours and ribbon-cutting on Thursday, Sept. 5 with the Minot Area Chamber-EDC.

This spring MSU hosted a number of other events including the Western Plains Opera’s tremendous performance of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame;” multiple performances by the outstanding Minot Symphony Orchestra — if you have never attended a performance in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, you are missing out; Minot Mayor Tom Ross with his State of the City event in the MSU Dome; our first-ever Geology Week featuring multiple guest speakers including Minot native and world-renowned Egyptologist Mark Lehner; the 31:8 Project’s 4th annual Bakken Human Trafficking Summit attracting law enforcement, medical, and other human services professionals from across the state; two separate artificial intelligence conferences focused on topics including new technologies, digital tools, and data science; a high school open house day for prospective students and their families; MSU Esports’ first ever Great Plains Gauntlet that attracted students from high schools and colleges across the state; and the MSU Dome was again a very busy facility hosting many events including the state dance championships and multiple high school basketball tournaments, all of which bring thousands of statewide visitors to the Magic City.

MSU and the MSU Development Foundation have been focused on the final stages of the $50 million EMPOWER capital campaign. This multi-year campaign has five pillars important to the future and long-term success of MSU: student scholarships, academic programs, facilities, the Vision Fund, and athletics. We look forward to the final stages during the remainder of the year to complete this historic campaign on December 31. This spring also featured MSU’s 6th annual Giving Day with a record-setting $427,558 raised in just 24 hours thanks to the incredible generosity of so many MSU alumni and friends.

Nearly 550 students graduated as part of MSU’s class of 2024. The 109th Commencement Exercises were held in the Minot State Dome in early May, and earlier that same day a separate Hooding Ceremony was held recognizing 103 individuals earning their graduate degree.

In Beaver Athletics, highlights included our women’s hockey team finishing as the national champion runners-up for the second consecutive year (including knocking off the five-time defending champion from Liberty University in the semifinals); men’s hockey advancing to the national playoff quarterfinals with coach Wyatt Waselenchuk being named the 2024 Division 1 national coach of the year; the men’s basketball team being ranked as high as No. 15 nationally and handily beating the No. 1 team in the nation from Minnesota State Mankato during Alumni Appreciation Night at the Dome; three new head coaching hires with Ryan Clark for women’s basketball, Alex Courtney for volleyball, and Jordan Aus for track & field; MSU high-jumper freshman Jasiah Hambira becoming MSU’s fifth-ever NCAA All-American finishing 14th in the nation; and in March MSU for the first time hosted an NCAA Division II Super Regional Wrestling tournament.

In April a dedication ceremony was held for the Plum River Native Prairie project, an urban prairie restoration area located on the 14-acre site of the former Erik Ramstad Middle School a block south of campus. MSU worked closely with Minot Public Schools and Audubon Great Plains to transform the vacant area into an ecological restoration that will bring environmental benefits while also creating an experiential educational setting for the region. This event was held in conjunction with our 34th annual Powwow and Spring Honor Dance hosted by the MSU Native American Cultural Center, which brought thousands of participants and spectators to the Dome.

MSU is abuzz this summer with a flurry of activities including Beaver Athletics camps in the Dome and on Herb Parker Field, a variety of College for Kids activities across campus, summer session classes, four MSU Summer Theatre productions spread over nearly 30 nights, the Dakota Chamber Music workshop, shows and exhibits at the Northwest Arts Center, and many other activities.

We remain grateful for the thousands of generous friends, alumni, and supporters, all of whom support and make possible many of the highlights noted in this column. MSU’s dedicated team of employees keep our campus moving forward every day, and we remain focused on ensuring a very bright future for MSU and our students. Thanks to all, enjoy a terrific summer, and as always…..Go Beavers!

About Minot State University
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.

Published: 06/14/24   

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