Life is good along the Goose River near Mayville State
Dear Shirley, When spring comes to the Red River Valley, I like to get out in my car and go. So, I drove an hour or so through the rain the other day to visit Debbie Hagen in Mayville, N.D. She's married to Gary Hagen, president of Mayville State...
When spring comes to the Red River Valley, I like to get out in my car and go. So, I drove an hour or so through the rain the other day to visit Debbie Hagen in Mayville, N.D.
She's married to Gary Hagen, president of Mayville State University, and lives right along the Goose River west of town. She invited me into a big, white split-level home in a cluster of five rural homes. There is a big stone fireplace separating living areas. And out in the kitchen, she has a calendar listing every single event that goes on at the college.
The Hagens take in as many events as possible. Things are winding down for another year with graduation coming up May 15. The Hagens stay pretty much on their jobs during the summer. She works part time for Community Action. There is no problem with the size of their house or the improvements because they own the house. They raised their three children there.
Sometimes, Debbie entertains at luncheons or other fundraisers for Mayville State in their home. If it's a large group, she calls on food services and the university. One of her favorite events is the annual Tables du Jour in April to raise money for the music department. And she jumps at the chance to help out with fundraisers for scholarships at MSU.
Debbie grew up near Grand Forks. She's one of four daughters of Lloyd and Beulah Staveteig of Grand Forks. She graduated from both Red River and UND. That's where she met Gary, when they went on a date to Maple Lake. He grew up near Northwood, N.D., and his parents are Joyce and Allen Hagen. He has been at Mayville State since 1976 and has degrees from UND, including his doctorate. Both of them had been away from the farms until they moved into their present home. She told me they didn't realize how much they missed the beauty and the quiet of rural life.
People around there take great pride in Mayville State. It started out in 1889. It now includes programs in business and computing along with clinical laboratory science and early childhood education. They can do this more easily since they were a pioneer as a computer campus.
The Mayville-Portland population is estimated at 2,500, and the college has 887 students now.
That's an increase. And there is a feeling of optimism for the future of the school with three major projects under way. They are remodeling Agassiz Hall. A new addition is going on to the science and library building. And a new high-efficiency coal heating plant has been installed.
I guess you could say in the case of Mayville State that good things come in small packages, Shirley. They boast that 50 percent of their graduates find jobs in North Dakota. And about 775 graduates are teaching in North Dakota.
We talked about Mayville State and life along the Goose River. We sipped coffee and had some pumpkin bread. Debbie told me they had rules about going near the river when her three children were growing up. Their daughter, Laura, is married to Stephen Walker and they have a son, Weston, who will be 2 in July. They live in West Fargo. Their son, Marc Hagen, and his wife, Jess, live in Rochester, Minn., and their son, Steven, is living in Crookston.
In their 34 years at Mayville, the Hagens have made a wide acquaintance. They enjoy the summertime, when they take in as many golf fundraisers as they can. She likes gardening. And they usually take a "trip on a tankful" at some point during the summer. The tankful trips have taken them to Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora, N.D., and the Frost Fire Theatre near Walhalla, N.D.
I am telling you all this to give you a slice of life in North Dakota and how things are along the Goose River.
Love from your sister Marilyn, eating Mr. Goodbars on the west bank of the Red River of the North.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.