Oct 7th, 2019 @ 11:01 am | Author: Alan LaFave, D.M.A.
Greetings from Valley City State University!
On Friday, September 27, I was extremely honored and humbled to be formally installed as the 14th president of Valley City State University. The outpouring of support from friends, family and colleagues, both near and far, provided for a weekend of activity that I will never forget, along with the displays of Viking pride from students, faculty and staff throughout the week. Thank you to all who participated.
(A note about the recital: I must admit that my first public clarinet performance in over a year was a bit daunting, but it was wonderful to be able to share the stage with so many outstanding performers from VCSU and across the country.)
I was pleased and happy to welcome many family and friends to the campus and community of Valley City for the festivities. On stage at the ceremony, I was joined by Margaret Dahlberg, VCSU vice president for academic affairs (who has served twice as interim president); Nick Hacker, chair of the State Board of Higher Education; Mark Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System; and two of my mentors: Bob Spring, music professor at Arizona State University (where I did my graduate work), and Jim Smith, president of Eastern Michigan University and former president of Northern State University in South Dakota (my undergraduate alma mater and where I served prior to coming to Valley City).
Among the delegates participating in the ceremony were colleagues from across the North Dakota University System and from Northern State University and the South Dakota Board of Regents, joined by representatives from the offices of Senator Hoeven and Representative Cramer, and, of course, leaders and members of the VCSU and Valley City communities. Thank you to all who joined me for this special occasion.
The reception after the ceremony at Epworth United Methodist Church and the homecoming parade Saturday morning were tremendous opportunities to see many of you and thank you for your support of VCSU. My thanks to the homecoming and inaugural committees in developing the activities and structuring the schedule so that so many could participate in the various events.
In my inaugural address, I touched on several of our recent successes and highlights; let me share some of those here as well. We celebrate VCSU’s historic headcount enrollment record of 1,665 students this fall, a 7.6% increase over last year! Our retention rates climbed to 72.8% this year, an increase of 4 percentage points over last year. With those numbers, we’re well positioned for continued success.
We also are proud of the largest scholarship allocation in school history — $1.723 million for students during this academic year. We owe a great debt of gratitude to all who support the VCSU Foundation. Your gifts help make a university education more affordable and attainable for our students.
The latest data from the National Survey for Student Engagement indicate that 21% of our freshmen are first-generation college students. Additionally, 98% of the respondents indicated they would definitely or probably attend this institution again. The freshman class carries an impressive academic profile, including a 3.3 average high school GPA and an average ACT score of 21. These quality indicators are important considerations as we plan for next year’s freshman class and move “forward together” in establishing our enrollment and retention goals for the coming year.
The opportunity to lead VCSU into the future is one which I take seriously and with a tremendous sense of responsibility. Thank you for your participation in the homecoming and inaugural celebrations, and thank you so very much for your continued support of me and our university.