May 4th, 2004 @ 3:35 pm | Author:
It’s that time of year again – the time when we say good-bye to too many wonderful students. The graduating seniors of 2004 have been a truly active, constructive, bright, fun set of colleagues, and we will miss them. Commencement is Saturday, May 15. Please greet and congratulate any visiting family and friends you may see around town that weekend.

A group of student senators and members of the activities board joined me in the cafeteria kitchen one evening last week. Food service director Damian Lewis helped us make ten dozen cookies for the VCSU and Valley City members of the Guard who are presently in Iraq. We took pictures and sent cards, too, hoping to reach across the sea to them in as many ways as possible. More people we miss.

We will also be saying good-bye to Dr. Gordon Hoff, professor of social science, and Darryl Podoll, director of library services, who have decided to retire this year. Both have been long-time, dedicated VCSU employees, and we will miss them, too. We have an annual employee recognition dinner, and they will be among the special guests that night.

Another retiree is Don Bauer, athletic director. The Booster Board put on a wonderful dinner for him last Friday. Melissa Bitz, Bauer’s daughter, prepared a professional-grade video for the occasion. Although the list of speakers was long, the evening sped by because they were all so heartwarming and funny in paying tribute to Don.

We had a farewell reception for Les and Phyllis Wong, too. In their brief five years here, both have made a powerful impression on both campus and community. We wish them well at Northern Michigan University.

Even as we say farewell, however, we are also preparing some hellos. We have not made a final decision about the academic vice-presidency yet, except to note that the position became available very late in the academic recruiting season. Deeming it unlikely that we would be able to conduct a full search and find just the right person so late in the season, we are exploring alternatives. We hope to have someone with expertise in some of our key initiative areas who will come in for one year. We will then do a full search next year.

The athletic director search committee hopes to schedule interviews with finalists for the week of May 10. Each candidate will make a public appearance as part of the interview schedule. Please watch for notices and attend those sessions if you are interested in having some input to the search committee.
Last week, we were able to pre-register students for next fall on the new software system, which was a big relief. So we will be saying hello to them again, too. Applications from new students are also looking good.

Finally, I helped inaugurate the new president at Mayville State last week. I have been there rarely in the last 18 months, but this was a nice way to say good-bye again. It is also great to be able to say hello to their talented, dedicated new president.

It’s nearly summer! Come on over and enjoy our beautiful campus sometime, so we can say hello to you, too!