Nov 13th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
As the 2012 fall semester nears completion (hard to believe final exams are just a few weeks away!) and the Thanksgiving Holiday rapidly approaches, now is a time of reflection and giving Thanks. Thanksgiving is such a special holiday, and it is an important time to reflect and appreciate everything for which we are thankful.

We have much to be thankful for as a society, a state, and a nation, and we have so much to be thankful for right here in Valley City and across the campus. Regardless of where we stand politically, I think we are all thankful that the season of political advertisements and mailings has ended! OK, so that is not such a big reason for giving thanks, but on a serious note – we truly do have much for which to be thankful.

Certainly, I am thankful to be surrounded at VCSU by a team of faculty and staff who work every day on priorities and initiatives that ultimately fulfill our mission and help our students achieve their educational and personal goals. It is truly a privilege to be in such an environment that is full of professionals working together with a common goal of educating and serving students. We are also thankful for the students and their families who choose to attend VCSU. We are deeply entrusted when a student makes the important decision to attend this university, and we take seriously our commitment to serve those students. The resulting effect of students, faculty, and staff interacting across campus creates a dynamic and fulfilling setting of higher education.

I am thankful every day to work in an environment that has been here for over twelve decades serving and educating students, fulfilling the needs of our region, and creating opportunities that assist in moving our state forward. I am certainly thankful for the strong base of dedicated VCSU alumni and committed supporters who help this university be all that it can be in effectively serving our students. The individuals who support our students, help fund scholarships, volunteer their time and energy on boards and committees, attend campus events and activities, and offer their thoughts, suggestions, and feedback are all so important in complementing a state-supported institution such as VCSU.

On a personal note, my father passed away last month. He and I were very close and had an incredibly strong relationship. He grew very fond of this region and became a big fan of Valley City State the past five years; he was a regular attendee at many campus events. During the past several weeks of grieving and coming to terms with his death, the one constant I have found each and every day is how thankful I am for the relationship we had and the many experiences, memories, and good family times we shared. I am thankful for the 71 years he had on earth, and thankful that I had the good fortune to be his son. The passing of a loved one certainly puts things in perspective, and allows us to truly appreciate life's special gifts and give thanks for those gifts.

Whatever it is that you are thankful for during this season of Thanks, I hope you take a few moments to reflect on those special gifts. I wish each of you a peaceful and relaxing season of Thanksgiving in the days ahead.