May 28th, 2013 @ 10:07 am | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
As has become tradition during my five years at VCSU, the next two columns summarize a Top 10 List of Valley City State University accomplishments from the past academic year. Thanks to the efforts of VCSU’s faculty, staff, students, and supporters, there are a number of important milestones that have been achieved. So, here it is – the fifth annual “VCSU Top 10 List of Accomplishments” (in no particular order):

1) Major facility renovations and campus construction projects have been underway. Significant progress has been made on the $10.3 million Rhoades Science Center expansion and renovation. The approximately 30,000 square foot expansion opened in January, and the renovation of the existing facility will be completed this summer and ready in August for the 2013-14 academic year. This beautiful new facility is the state-of-the-art undergraduate science lab and classroom building in the entire state of North Dakota. Additionally, last summer a major renovation to the Student Center Cafeteria was completed. This $400,000 project was supported as part of the long-term contract extension with Sodexo food service, and will provide a significantly upgraded dining experience for students and visitors alike for many years.

2) The academic year began with VCSU being named the Top Public Regional College in the Midwest in the 2013 edition of America’s Best Colleges by US News and World Report. This is the second consecutive year VCSU has been ranked as the Number One university in our category. This is yet another wonderful external validation and recognition of the overall teaching and learning environment at Valley City State.

3) Earlier this month, VCSU held its 121st Commencement Exercises with a graduating class of approximately 290 undergraduate and Master’s students. It was a historic ceremony as this was the largest graduating class in a single year in VCSU’s history. We also recognized students earning nursing credentials in VCSU’s collaborative program with Dakota College at Bottineau through the Dakota Nursing Program. We were fortunate to have Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and a graduate of VCSU’s Master of Education program, serve as the Commencement keynote speaker. We wish the 2013 Graduating Class all the best in their professional careers ahead.

4) In January, VCSU’s Master of Education was ranked #22 among 143 colleges and universities in the “Best Online Graduate Education Programs” in the nation according to US News and World Report. VCSU is the only institution in North Dakota included in the rankings in this category. This is yet another tremendous external recognition validating the overall quality of VCSU’s academics, and specifically our graduate education program.

5) It was a terrific year for VCSU Athletics. For the first time ever, in March 2013 both the Viking Men’s and Women’s basketball teams advanced to the national NAIA playoffs in the same season. Both teams had terrific 20+ win seasons and represented VCSU well throughout the season and at the national tournament. VCSU Track & Field student-athlete Darien Moore was crowned the NAIA’s 2013 Indoor National Champion in the hammer throw in March. This is the second-straight year Darien has been crowned a National Champion as he won the National Outdoor Championship in the hammer throw in 2012. An amazing feat!

The list is only half-finished. Due to space constraints it will be a two-part series, so please check the next column for five more accomplishments in VCSU’s 2012-13 Top Ten list.