NORTHERN TODAY 3 FALL 2017 WHEN I TOOK OVER as the 17th president of Northern State University it immediately became apparent that we needed to place an even greater emphasis on the student experience, with the goal of enhancing student satisfaction, success and retention. A major factor of student attraction and retention of students is facilities, which is why we’ve invested in three new residence halls and a new Regional Science Education Center. We firmly believe these building projects are, and will continue to be, contributing factors to an increase in student enrollment and satisfaction. In the past two years this same emphasis on the student experience has contributed to an increase in our freshmen to sophomore student retention, now at 77 percent (the highest in 15 years); and also increased total enrollment, placing added emphasis on full-time, on-campus students. The Educational Impact Campaign includes Northern’s collaboration to construct a new building for the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SDSBVI) on the current site of Jerde Hall. We will also soon break ground on our new athletic and recreation fields (located east of Jerde Hall). The final project, which has received the most attention, is our planned on-campus regional sports complex (to be located on the current site of SDSBVI). We want to produce graduates who have a positive impact in our region. In order for us to do that, we must move ahead with an ambitious plan to enhance our facilities and improve the student experience for generations into the future. An on-campus sports complex will enhance our student experience and benefit the region. My vision for the complex includes marching band events, soccer games, softball games and an invitation to high school teams to play in these new facilities. Can you imagine Friday Nights at Northern? Think of the economic impact of inviting area high schools to our community, not to mention the recruitment possibilities of hosting high school students on our tremendous campus. None of these steps could be taken if it weren’t for the hard work of our faculty and staff on student success and enrollment efforts, or the generosity of our alumni and community in support of these building projects. I’m reminded daily of how our community supports Northern, which is why we do our best to give back as often as we can. Our students contribute thousands of volunteer hours each year, through events such as Day of Champions and the Pack Gives Back. We have an opportunity to transform our community and ensure the success of multiple stakeholders. This opportunity comes in the form of a new facility for SDSBVI, more students who live and work in our community, and the economic impact of more than $100 million in building projects in less than a decade. If you’d like to learn how to get involved as a stakeholder in these projects, turn to page 6. I encourage you to invest in our Educational Impact Campaign – a game-changer for our region! For the most up-to-date information on our building projects, visit northern.edu/master-plan. Go Wolves! Letter from the President As you may have noticed in this issue of Northern Today, we have officially kicked off a $45 million capital campaign, the Educational Impact Campaign, which aligns with our campus master plan.