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MITZEL: Looking forward to another outstanding year

One year ago, Rhonda and I moved to Dickinson. Our return to the Midwest has been richer than we could have imagined. We have been truly humbled at the collegiality and support of the Dickinson community. In my first year I have met with many of you and I have enjoyed the rich discussions and planning we have undertaken to ensure that DSU and our region continues along its positive pathway.

As part of our planning, the University has re-established old traditions and introduced new ones. On campus, there is a vibrant energy. This fall DSU had an increase in student enrollment and an increase in the number of students residing on campus. There is a positive environment on campus with high levels of participation and community engagement. The twin values of community and service are modeled daily as faculty, staff and students give back to their community through events, charitable giving and volunteering.

Nearly 100 years ago, the dream of Dickinson State was brought into reality through gifts from community members who recognized the need for higher education in the region. In my time here, I have been overwhelmed by the depth of support for the university. This year, the DSU Heritage Foundation launched several campaigns to raise funds for student scholarships. The campus and the community aligned to help the DSUHF raise more than $3.4 million, including funds from a state scholarship match grant. Additionally, a group of 39 individuals who call themselves Blue Hawk Partners raised more than $750,000 to purchase the former foundation building and its contents. This building was gifted to the DSUHF and will be a gathering place for the university, alumni and community.

In January, the North Dakota legislative session will begin. In the next few months I will be sharing more about possible budget impacts with regard to the University. DSU may have to incorporate some steep cuts in the upcoming biennium. My goal is for the students to never be impacted by this process. As an institution, we will make difficult decisions, but we will make all decisions with the question, "how does this decision impact student learning?" I am confident that, even with these adjustments, DSU will continue offering high quality, accessible education for our students while engaging them in learning that prepares them for lifelong success.

It has been an outstanding year. I am incredibly proud of our students, of our employees, and of our community and I am looking forward to what we will build together in the future.

Happy New Year.