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Mayville State president celebrates victories, change with speech

Mayville State University President Gary Hagen addresses faculty and staff at the state of the university address Thursday in the Classroom Building. He said the school is the best he's ever seen it in his ten years at its helm. Grand Forks Herald photo by Anna Burleson

MAYVILLE, N.D.—During his nearly decade-long tenure as president of Mayville State University, Gary Hagen said he couldn't be happier with the school's progress through adversity to triumph and is excited for what the future holds.

At his state of the university address Thursday, Hagen talked about change at the school that has seen record enrollment for five years, reaching 1,081 students in the fall of 2014. Online courses have diversified, the campus has blossomed with construction projects, the school's foundation raised $2 million alone during the last fiscal year and its endowment fund has more than doubled over the last four years to $5 million.

"We've succeeded to the point where we have a new job," he said. "We need to do it all over again.

That's why the a new strategic plan is under development, which started Thursday at the address when Hagen had employees give ideas during a workshop after his speech.

"We've created a strategic planning committee to help foster more participation and ownership in our campus changes," he said.

The school awarded 147 bachelor's degrees and seven associate degrees from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, the majority of which were in the field of education, according to a North Dakota University System report.

Two major projects have happened recently; the $2.2 million construction of Stan Dakken Drive with a parking lot on the east side of campus and the construction of a $5.5 million Health, Physical Education and Recreation facility to replace the Old Gym is underway and is expected to be finished in the spring, according to the school's website.

This all comes after the school began working toward eliminating a $1 million budget deficit in 2006 and finally succeeded in 2010.

"We've experienced a renaissance of sorts, and the state of the university is the strongest I've ever seen it," Hagen said.

Things have turned around at the school. While the Legislature funded pay increases for university employees averaging 3 percent for the last two bienniums, Hagen told the crowd this last year's average raise was even higher at 3.6 percent, using extra funds from the school's budget.

"Change can be profitable," he said.

Moving forward, Hagen is looking at a bigger, better Mayville State.

"We live in a time of unprecedented successes, and the success is a product of the dedicated faculty and staff ... who decided to move from what we thought was good to great," he said.

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.