Jan 19th, 2016 @ 2:14 pm | Author: Tisa Mason, Ed.D., CAE
This week I thought I’d share my remarks that were printed in the recently distributed VCSU Donor Edition, the annual report from the VCSU Foundation with lists of those who support the university financially. We are so grateful for your generosity!

(You can find the complete report online by visiting alumni.vcsu.edu. Call the Foundation Office at 701-845-7203 to discuss how you can support the university.)

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
—Leo Buscaglia

I love this quote because it captures the essence of Valley City State University—a university centered on creating transformational experiences for our students. Those experiences begin with access, followed by effort, which then leads to transformation. It is a formula resulting in a university celebrating 125 years of making a difference—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And at the center of it all is you—our donors.


The college choice journey begins with “fit,” affordability, and being an institution of quality. Your contributions to the VCSU Foundation funded a new marketing campaign and made college affordable through scholarships. The results:
  • A record scholarship allocation—more than $1 million from the VCSU Foundation was awarded to students for the 2014–15 academic year
  • An enrollment record of 1,422 students, surpassing the previous high of 1,384 students in 2011
  • Ranked as the No. 1 Public Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News and named a U.S. News Best College for the 18th consecutive year
“Receiving the V-500 scholarship demonstrates to me how VCSU strives to help students succeed. The scholarship has definitely been helpful with my tuition costs over the past two-and-a-half years. I admire all of the scholarships VCSU offers students, and I am fortunate enough to have received support through V-500. Thank you!”
—Alexis Lennon, junior, West Fargo, N.D.


One of the enduring concepts in college student success is that of quality of effort—the more effort the student exerts toward the college experience, the more likely the student will not only graduate but truly “tap” into their talents and dreams.

As a partner in student learning, the university is responsible for the quality of facilities and experiences it offers students to make the students’ quality of effort worthwhile. Learning is all about that partnership.

Your contributions have made it possible for the university to build better facilities and create more powerful experiences. Thank you for enabling VCSU to:
  • Offer more than 80 undergraduate programs
  • Engage students through internships, scientific fieldwork and research, study abroad, varsity athletics, intramural sports, concerts, theatre productions, gallery exhibits, and student clubs and organizations
  • Break ground for the Valley City Health, Wellness and Physical Education Center, addressing the significant growth in the number of students pursuing academic programs in physical education, health, exercise science, and athletic training
“The educational experiences here at VCSU are one-of-a-kind. Professors know your name and your passions and will do everything they can to help achieve your goals.”
—Stephanie McCann, sophomore, Verona, N.D.


Last May, Valley City State University awarded 302 degrees to 255 undergraduates and 47 graduate students who completed degree requirements in the previous three terms (summer, fall and spring). This was VCSU’s largest graduating class in our 125-year history!

Additionally, the 2016 Teacher of the Year for North Dakota, Amy (Ashley) Neal, and for South Dakota, Sarah (Baertsch) Lutz, are both VCSU alumni. Making a difference and being a difference maker—that’s you.

Your Impact

“When I first stepped onto the VCSU campus as a part of the Learning to Live program freshman year, my professor, Jodi Shorma, provided me with the courage to improve my speaking, writing, and other academic skills. Her strong sense of compassion made me feel at home and helped me grow. Her influence will remain in my memory forever.”
—Yi Wang, 2015 graduate, Beijing, China

Stevie Ostenson is exuberant as she describes organizing and designing her new classroom. Stevie is a first grade teacher at Griggs County Central Elementary School in Cooperstown, N.D. Seeing her young students’ progress in their reading skills has been a huge highlight in this new educator’s first months of teaching. “It also helps to hear from their parents that they are suddenly reading for the first time or that they think I am doing a great job,” Stevie remarks with a big smile.
—New Teacher Support Visits Exhibit A, VCSU Institutional Report prepared for the Board of Examiners, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

Thank you for making sure that every day is a great day to be a Viking!