NORTHERN TODAY 3 SPRING 2017 I OFTEN THINK BACK to the interview process and the days leading up to the hiring announcement; there were themes that stuck out then, themes that have now solidified themselves. • Community support • Caring faculty and staff • Academic quality • Passionate alumni and supporters I’ve witnessed community support at our Wolves athletic events and fine arts performances. Not only do fans and patrons attend for the entertainment factor, they come out in droves to support our student- athletes and top-notch performers and artists. It is clear our faculty and staff care about our students. We see the evidence in a rising retention rate (percentage of students who continue their enrollment with NSU) and through GPA accolades. One that stands out is our women’s swim team; they not only led NCAA Division II athletics with the highest GPA, but the entire nation with a team GPA of 3.76. Our teams and coaches take pride in embodying a true sense of the term “student-athlete.” Higher retention and good grades are the result of a supportive and caring environment. Our faculty and staff truly want to see our students succeed. In higher education, the academic quality of an institution is confirmed through accreditation. Earlier this semester, Northern went through a thorough, 10-year accreditation process, where we hosted the Higher Learning Commission. Initial feedback was tremendously positive, and while there is always room for improvement, we are confident in the direction we are heading as a university – and the accreditation report supports that. Finally, Northern has passionate alumni and supporters. I find it difficult to go anywhere without someone recognizing my NSU lapel pin, which is incredible. I enjoy visiting with and learning about Northern alums and supporters. If you have not heard, we are in the middle of a building boom on campus. Three new residence halls will be complete by fall 2018, and our new Regional Science Education Center is scheduled to open in fall 2019. These new buildings will transform our campus, and passionate alumni and supporters helped provide the vision for these projects. In fact, three of the four projects were completely funded by private donors. We are also gearing up to announce a record level of WolfPACT scholarship dollars and participants for fall 2017. The passion our supporters have for Northern is phenomenal – and it is unmatched in the state and region. There is a sense of advancement around Northern State University. We have recently replaced two new cabinet-level positions: vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, and director of communications and marketing. Additionally, we hired a new dean for the School of Business. We have also welcomed two new deans within the past 18 months. With new hires come new ideas. We are working hard to implement growth and retention strategies that allow Northern to continue supplying regional employers the best and brightest minds around. Your continuing pride in Northern is warranted and greatly appreciated. Know that I take great pride in serving as the president of Northern State University. I hope you enjoy this issue of Northern Today, which features stories about NSU students, faculty and alumni who have achieved great things. That includes Chad Gunderson, the Northern alum featured on our cover who is now senior counsel for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Congratulations, Chad, on your successes! GO WOLVES! Sincerely, Letter from the President It has been nearly a year since I was named president at Northern State University.