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s I compose my final welcome for this

magazine, I am filled with emotions.

How quickly seven years can pass.

Connie and I came to Aberdeen knowing not

a single person. We knew, though, that the

opportunity at NSU was going to be a very good

one for us. We were indeed correct. Now, seven

years later, we leave with life-long friendships

and tremendous stories of success to tell for

years to come. Working with the campus

community and the external supporters of

Northern has been a real delight.

It has been an absolute joy to serve

as the 16th President of Northern State

University. Working alongside an outstanding Senior

Cabinet, we have accomplished numerous things. I

have great pride in these accomplishments, so let me

detail just a few of these:

Lincoln Hall and Graham Hall were

both transformed in a project that

upgraded mechanical and electrical

systems and added central air

conditioning to faculty and staff

offices – making Northern’s most

historic buildings now much more

energy-efficient and inherently

more attractive as well.

The Barnett Center project

added new locker rooms, a wrestling room and

offices on the first floor, as well as a wellness center

on the second floor. This addition produced a state-

of-the-art athletics facility for our student-athletes

and, indeed, our entire campus community.

Remodeling of the NSU Student Center of course

added a popular new coffee shop for students and

staff in Einstein Bros. Bagels. But it also added

so much more – namely, more spaces for student

organizations, and offices for Admissions, Student

Affairs and the Counseling Center.

The creation of our International Sculpture

Garden in Baumgart Plaza added five sculptures

by acclaimed Vietnamese artist Tuan Nguyen.

The garden demonstrates our rich tradition of

creating and displaying amazing artwork, while also

symbolizing NSU’s increasing global reach.

Our campus has a new greenhouse that is already

enhancing research for students and faculty. This

state-of-the-art facility will help keep our growing

science departments on the cutting edge.

And, the Johnson Fine Arts Center remodel is

nearing completion. The project will feature a

renovated main theater with improved acoustics

and new seating, a black box theater, an art gallery,

and new classroom and office space. There will even

be drive through access between the JFAC and

Barnett Center parking lots. When all is said and

done, JFAC will be transformed into an even more

outstanding arts center for the campus, community

and entire region.

In addition to buildings, we have launched

new programs in music, banking and financial

services, and biotechnology; we’ve expanded our

Honors Program; and in April 2015 started the first

Confucius Institute in the Dakotas. We’ve been

awarded almost $1.3 million from the Governor’s

Office of Economic Development, most of which

was used for equipment to enhance our chemistry

labs. Funds were also used to purchase equipment

for our biology labs, as well as upgrades to

ventilation in one lab that will house cadavers for

a new Gross Anatomy course to be offered starting

next spring.

Our campus, today, is a global gathering place

with students from 42 different countries, all now

calling NSU home. The diversity of our campus has

grown, and the impact our international students

have made on specific programs is without peers in

the Upper Midwest.

As for fundraising work, I want to thank all of

you who have allowed Connie and me to visit your

homes, businesses and places of recreation. To

have a partner in fundraising, like Connie has

been, is a pleasure for any president, but to see

how all of you have welcomed us has been truly

heartwarming. Along with members of our

Foundation staff, it has been very rewarding to

see how giving you have been to Northern State

University. That kindness will certainly never be


As I move on to Eastern Michigan University as

their next president, I want to close by thanking

all of you for the time spent here in Aberdeen and,

especially, on the NSU campus. Regent Harvey

Jewett, Mayor Mike Levsen, members of the

Aberdeen Development Corp. and myriad others

have worked collaboratively and forcefully to make

NSU a better and stronger place during the course

of the past seven years. Our donors have made that

commitment even more compelling by investing

time and treasury into our institution. With gifts

like that of Millicent Atkins and much smaller gifts

combined, Northern is growing and developing

in many new and unique ways. I look forward

to observing that growth, albeit from a farther

distance, for many years to come.