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New Mayville State president ready for role

Dr. Brian Van Horn, new president at Mayville State University, shares a laugh with executive assistant, Mary Trudeau (center) and director of Public Relations, Beth Swenson Friday as he moves in. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Dr. Brian Van Horn settles in to his new presidential office at Mayville State University Friday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

MAYVILLE, N.D.—With the departure of longtime Mayville State University president Gary Hagen, incoming President Brian Van Horn says he wants to continue the success of the university.

Van Horn, who previously served as an associate provost at Murray State University in Murray, Ky., said he is both "elated and excited" about his new position, which he started July 1.

He said the transition went well.

"I've been working with individuals at Mayville State since my naming back in March periodically, which includes Dr. Hagen," Van Horn said. "I think Mayville State has a great future in front of it, and I'm just thrilled to be a part of that."

Hagen, who announced his retirement earlier this year after a career of more than 40 years at Mayville State, said "everything is in good order" for the new president.

Hagen served as president of the university for the past 12 years.

"As far as anything to do or any problems, there really isn't anything," Hagen said during an interview in June. "He can just concentrate on beginning, and it'll be a great step for Mayville State."

Hagen noted that enrollment numbers, which have been going up continually over the past few years, will be strong again this fall.

"It should be a great time for a new person to come in and start building the next chapter," he said.

Van Horn has spent a majority of his career at Murray State University. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university and completed his doctoral degree at the University of Memphis.

After receiving his doctoral degree, Van Horn went back to Murray State and helped to open a branch campus in Paducah, Ky., a small city about an hour northwest of Murray.

Van Horn said it was important to him that whatever institution he chose put students first, which he believes Mayville State does.

"I enjoy rural America," he said in June. "I'm from rural America. I enjoy the students of rural America. It seems like students are put first (at Mayville State), and that was imperative to me when considering an institution because I had a good career where I was at so it had to be the right fit to have me leave."

Van Horn and his family arrived in Mayville at the end of June.

Van Horn said he wants to continue much of the work now being done at the university and believes Mayville State is in a good position as enrollment continues to rise.

While Van Horn said he wants to continue the success of his predecessor and staff, he also wants to bring new ideas to the table.

Van Horn wants to work closely with the K-12 systems in North Dakota and the surrounding region. He said he hopes this work will help "build bridges" between both institutions.

"It's really important to me that that's a seamless system between a high school student's experience and then their university of choice," he said. "I think that's something that Mayville State does a great job at, but that's something that we need to continue to even get better with."

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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