Aug 14th, 2005 @ 8:05 am | Author: By Ellen-Earle Chaffee
Things are looking up! Not that they were down, of course.

Faculty members and football players are back in town. Thanks to the facilities staff, everything is fresh and ready to greet them. By the end of the week, the freshmen will be here, too, and things will get into full swing in just a week. Are we ready? Sure. Students are the heart and soul of this place. We've been kinda lonesome around here lately.

In the meanwhile, though, we have had some interesting visitors.

Last week, a business consultant from Maine spent a couple of days here to review the Eagle Creek business project with university and community personnel. He then went on to Bismarck to discuss his views with the Governor. I wish I could remember the word he kept using. It was something like 'riveting' or 'captivating.' That was his description of the strategies we have developed together to bring these new jobs to our community. He had never seen anything like it, and he obviously was enthralled.

Next week, Joel Kotkin will be here on a similar mission to learn about the Eagle Creek project. He is a very successful business author, and he is preparing an article for Inc. magazine on bringing jobs back from overseas. He is traveling with someone who works closely with Senator Dorgan and realized that this would be a great example for Kotkin's story.

Vice President Wigtil and I had lunch with President Badal and Vice President Watt of Jamestown College last week, too. Our courses in Jamestown have moved to a wonderful educational facility, and we hope for enrollment increases there. We read that Jamestown College has also started an adult program, and we were delighted to learn that their plans complement, rather than compete, with ours. We also identified several other areas where we may be able to work together for mutual benefit.

Anna Jakobsmeyer, the Times-Record intern from Germany stopped by to express interest in getting to know the university so she can write about how we compare with her school back home. What a delightful young woman! I hope you have a chance to meet her.

We have a consultant coming this week to work with us on the master's degree. Dr. Linda Tafel is a professor and former dean and provost at National Louis University in Illinois. Graduate study is considerably different from undergraduate study, and we are committed to an academic experience for our graduate students that fulfills all their expectations. Dr. Tafel will help us take the next steps in that direction, and she will return throughout the year so we can continue that progress.

I hope you plan to be at historic Vangstad Auditorium this Tuesday night at 7:30 to hear author Jack Schultz share his insights on 'Boomtown: The 7 Keys to Big Success in Small Towns.' I have read his book by that name, and it should be very rewarding to hear him talk about his experiences with small towns all over the country. Part of the reward, I feel certain, will be to realize that we are already pursuing quite a few of those keys.

I had hoped also to host a dignitary from our sister university in La Paz, Mexico. We are ready to renew our formal cooperative agreement, and he was to bring his son here to study for a semester. His son is en route, but Publio and I will be meeting and signing over interactive video instead of in person.