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President's Desk

Arizona visits with alumni and friends

Feb 13, 2020

Greetings from Valley City State University!

As I compose this message, the sun is shining bright, the skies are blue, and the temperature is a brisk 5 below zero. It’s hard to imagine, just a week ago, several of us were meeting with alumni and friends in Arizona, where the temps were in the low 70s.

Each year the VCSU Foundation and Alumni Office spends a few days meeting and greeting alumni and friends of the university who choose to spend a part, or all, of their winter in the Southwest. I recall, from my graduate school days at Arizona State, the vast increase in population during the winter months. Even though I’m not much of a golfer, the courses would get significantly busier, along with restaurants, streets, and freeways — the increase in license plates from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota was noticeable. Affectionately referred to as “snowbirds,” these folks find many activities in which to participate and maintain very busy schedules while escaping some of the weather back home for a few months.

Our schedule included meetings and gatherings over four days, ending with a Sunday brunch in Sun Lakes. We began with an informal gathering at the home of Bob and Deanne Horne. (Both Bob and Deanne formerly taught here, and Bob previously served as foundation executive and now serves as a foundation board member.) Also joining us that evening were Nancy King, Judy Mathias and Dr. Larry “Buck” Grooters.

On Friday we met with a group of 15 in Peoria, and Saturday took us back to Mesa to meet with a larger gathering at Viewpoint. Bringing folks together like this provides an annual reunion of sorts, but it also gives us an opportunity to share some of the exciting things happening on campus and in the community of Valley City. We talked about our enrollment trends, budget, student and athlete success, construction progress, and plans for moving forward and addressing emerging facility and campus infrastructure needs.

This was a wonderful time to reconnect with our alumni and friends and to get to know them better, to hear their stories and understand what an important role VCSU played, and continues to play, in many of their lives. It made us all proud to be associated with this wonderful school and excited for our future. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Larry Robinson and Kim Svennigsen-Hesch for their outstanding work in organizing and hosting these events.

Reflecting back on the license plate comment: I was a little amazed on the trip back to the airport. As we were waiting at a stoplight, we were literally surrounded by North Dakota license plates, one in front, one in the next lane, and one in the opposite lane. One couldn’t help but feel pride for our home state.

Go Vikings!