Public Invited to GIS Day Nov. 19

The public is invited to celebrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day Wednesday,Nov. 19 on the Minnesota State University Moorhead campus. GIS Day is a worldwide celebration of geospatial technology and its power to transform and better our lives.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Library Porch (LI 100)

GIS and career information, GIS coursework at MSUM, an interactive GIS computer kiosk, Esri items (while supplies last), and GIS Day cake with edible campus map. Discover, explore and celebrate the benefits of GIS.

12 to 11 p.m., Library Auditorium (LI 103)

Speaker panel of community experts and former students talk about the importance of GIS in their careers and provide advice for students on how to prepare for careers in GIS.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Geospatial Studies and the Department of Anthropology and Earth Science.

About GIS Day

The first GIS Day took place in 1999. Esri president Jack Dangermond credits Ralph Nader with being the person who inspired the creation of GIS Day as a grassroots effort, open to everyone, to learn about the uses of GIS. Learn more at






Free Eclipse Viewing at MSUM

The Minnesota State University Moorhead Department of Physics and Astronomy, in cooperation with the F-M Astronomy Club, will be providing an opportunity for the public to safely view a solar eclipse on the afternoon of October 23.

A view of the May 20, 2012 partial solar eclipse as seen from MSUM.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and Sun. On October 23, the moon will start passing in front of the Sun (as seen from Moorhead) around 4:15 p.m., blocking a maximum of about half of the Sun at 5:30 p.m., with the eclipse continuing through sunset at 6:26 p.m. Safely viewing a solar eclipse requires the use of special eclipse glasses, a telescope with solar filters, or a pinhole projector. For instructions on how to view an eclipse visit

MSUM will be hosting an eclipse viewing party in the parking lot on 6th Avenue South between 10th and 11th Street South starting at 4 p.m. on October 23. Assuming the Sun is not blocked by clouds, we will be providing eclipse glasses and an opportunity to safely view the eclipse through a telescope. MSUM will also be offering free planetarium shows about the Moon at the MSUM planetarium during the same time.

Learn more about the eclipse at

NEW Leadership Institute receives Bush grant

The Tri-College University  (NEW) Leadership Development Institute, coordinated by Dr. Deborah White, MSUM Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, has been awarded a two-year, $40,000 Bush Foundation Leadership Network grant. NEW Leadership is a non-partisan intensive five-day residential program designed to provide leadership training, inspiration, and support for women.

“Our goal is to increase the number of women, particularly those from underrepresented groups, with the skills, knowledge, and support needed to serve as leaders in their communities.” said Deborah White, PhD, Tri-College NEW Leadership Development Institute Coordinator.

The Bush Foundation will award nearly $1.7 million to 12 organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography, through its Leadership Network Grant program. The full list of Leadership Network Grant recipients can be found on the BushFoundation website.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities waive application fees for College Knowledge Month

St. Paul, Minn., September 26, 2014 – For a limited time, college and university application fees will be waived throughout Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in recognition of “College Knowledge Month,” a statewide effort to provide every graduating high school senior, especially underrepresented students, with the opportunity to apply to college.

“Our colleges and universities are committed to making sure every Minnesotan has access to an extraordinary education,” said Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU chancellor. “College Knowledge Month is a wonderful opportunity for us to encourage more high school seniors to apply for college. It gives our colleges and universities an opportunity to show students who might otherwise think college is beyond their reach that resources are available to help them pay for higher education and complete their degree.”

During College Knowledge Month, high schools and postsecondary institutions work together to engage, inform and support students as they enter into the college application process. For example, staff from MnSCU colleges and universities attend events at high schools, assist students with completing applications, and share information about the college experience.

The culmination of College Knowledge Month is a period in which colleges and universities across the state waive application fees. This year, many colleges and universities are waiving their application fees for the week of October 27-31. In addition, some colleges and universities have waived their application fees for the entire month of October, and some do not charge an application fee at all. Application fees for qualified low-income students are always waived at all MnSCU colleges and universities.

Bemidji State University
Metropolitan State University*
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University Moorhead
Southwest Minnesota State University
St. Cloud State University**
Winona State University
* Does not charge an application fee.
** Waiving application fee entire month of October.

Alexandria Technical & Community College
Anoka-Ramsey Community College*
Anoka Technical College*
Central Lakes College
Century College
Dakota County Technical College
Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College**
Hennepin Technical College*
Hibbing Community College
Inver Hills Community College*
Itasca Community College*
Lake Superior College
Mesabi Range College
Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical
Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Normandale Community College
North Hennepin Community College
Northland Community & Technical College
Northwest Technical College
Pine Technical & Community College*
Rainy River Community College*
Riverland Community College
Rochester Community and Technical College*
St. Cloud Technical & Community College
Saint Paul College*
South Central College
Vermilion Community College

For more information, contact any of these MnSCU colleges and universities.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 24 two-year community, technical, and comprehensive colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.

President Anne Blackhurst’s Inauguration Ceremony Today

Minnesota State University Moorhead is proud to install Dr. Anne Blackhurst today as president during the inauguration ceremony at 2 p.m.

At approximately 1:45 p.m., students will be lining the sidewalk between Lommen Hall and the Center for the Arts. Faculty in academic regalia will march to the inauguration. A viewing party will be held on the campus mall for students and community members. Among the dignitaries speaking will be MnSCU Chancellor Steven J. Rosenstone.

Immediately following the ceremony will be a reception held on the campus mall.

If you can’t make it to the ceremony, view it live through video here:

For a full list of all the events planned for the week, visit and

MSU Moorhead Celebrates Dragon Pride at Homecoming & Presidential Inauguration

Minnesota State University Moorhead will celebrate dragon pride during its annual homecoming celebration Sept. 22-28 with a wide variety of student, alumni and community events to coincide with the presidential inauguration of Anne Blackhurst.

Kicking off the week is a community block party 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22 on the campus mall. There will be food, games, art and music by Heart & Soul.

Pres. Anne will put on her running shoes for Laps for the Long Run at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24 at Nemzek stadium. To date, $1.12 million has been pledged for this fundraiser to benefit student scholarships. Alumni, faculty and staff, students, community members, and others can register to run alongside Anne or attend the event to cheer all on the runners. Details can be found at

Distinguished alumni being honored this week will talk about “Lessons Learned” to students and community members at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 in the Center for the Arts Gaede Stage.

The presidential inauguration of Anne Blackhurst is at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 followed by a reception. Both events will be in the Center for the Arts. A viewing party will be held on the campus mall.

The homecoming parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 and is followed by tailgating and the 2 p.m. football game against Sioux Falls.

An academic symposium, a chili feed competition, ribbon-cutting of the remodeled library, and home soccer and volleyball games, plus many more activities cap off the week-long festivities.

For details on homecoming events visit For details on inauguration events visit

Scheels supports MSUM’s Laps for the Long Run with $1 million pledge

A fundraising challenge at Minnesota State University Moorhead has attracted its first major gift with a $1 million pledge from Scheels. The challenge, Laps for the Long Run, was announced Aug. 20 as an event in honor of the inauguration of MSUM Pres. Anne Blackhurst.  Blackhurst will run 12.5 miles, or 50 laps, around the Ron Masanz track at Nemzek Fieldhouse and has personally pledged $1,000 per lap, or $50,000, to start the challenge.

Today, Steve Scheel, CEO of Scheels, accepted the challenge by pledging $20,000 per lap for every lap up to 50 that Blackhurst runs during the Homecoming Week event.

“SCHEELS has been a good partner with NDSU and Concordia over the years and we look forward to partnering with MSUM and President Blackhurst, to help MSUM become a stronger player in our community of Fargo-Moorhead,” said Steve Scheel.

Steve Scheel, CEO of Scheels, pledged $20,000 per lap for every lap up to 50 that MSUM Pres. Anne Blackhurst runs during the Homecoming week event, Laps for the Long Run.

Blackhurst, an avid long distance runner in training for her ninth marathon, began her presidency July 1 and Laps for the Long Run will recognize the beginning of her term by raising money for donor-selected university projects.

“It was just one week ago that we issued a public challenge for Laps for the Long Run and now we have this tremendous support from one of the region’s most respected businesses. I am honored,” Blackhurst said. “Building partnerships with regional businesses is one of my most important priorities. The businesses in this area look to MSUM for well-prepared graduates and, in turn, this pledge from Scheels shows how the private sector continues to support the university and its students.”

Pledges to Laps for the Long Run can be designated by donors for specific purposes. Blackhurst designated her pledge to support new scholarships for high achieving high school students, the President’s Merit Endowed Scholarships. Scheels has designated their gift to support improvements at Nemzek Field.

“SCHEELS and athletics seem to go hand in hand, and we are pleased to be able to help build Dragon athletics by providing an all-weather turf field for the MSUM football field,” Scheel said.

“We absolutely believe that MSUM and Dragon Athletics are an important part of our regional community,” said Doug Peters, MSUM’s Athletic Director. “This investment and partnership with Scheels let’s us know they stand beside us as we continue to serve our region.”

Laps for the Long Run will start at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 24. Pledges can be made at

SCHEELS will have stores in 11 states including North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, Illinois, Utah; with new stores in Overland Park, Kansas and Rochester, Minnesota to open in 2015. The store, which opened in 2008 in the Reno/Sparks, Nevada market, is the World’s Largest All Sports Store to date.


MSUM’s fall semester kicks off with Welcome Week Aug. 20 – 24

Fall classes for Minnesota State University Moorhead’s 2014-15 academic year begin Monday, August 25.

Welcome Week for incoming freshmen and transfer students is Aug. 20 – 24. MSUM puts on one of the most extensive orientation week programs.

“Dragon Welcome Week really gives students an all-around experience that encompasses various activities and events,” Mitch Johnson, the assistant director of First Year Programs said. “We have everything from a comedian, to a dance, to a Saturday-Night-Live-type show put on by our Student Orientation Counselors – SOCs as we call them – with much more in between. We make sure to pack our days full of activities to keep our students busy, help them get involved, and really feel at home in the Dragon community.”

For a list of all Welcome Week events, visit

MSUM alums find work at Medora

By Meghan Feir

When many people think of North Dakotan terrain, they often forget about the landscape surrounding Medora. Nestled in the heart of the badlands, the little village is the summer home of tourists and performers alike. A breathtaking view, flat, farm country is replaced with canyons and buttes painted in red and purple.

For three MSUM alums, living and working in Medora for the summer has not dulled the awe that comes from gazing at their surroundings, and every night, Carl Rottman, Carolyn Schmitz and Matthew Dietzler help put on one of North Dakota’s biggest tourist attractions – the Medora Musical.

Carolyn Schmitz, a 2013 MSUM theatre graduate is one of 12 performers who make the Medora stage come alive with song and dance. This is Schmitz’ second, consecutive year of performing during the summer for the Medora Musical.

“Doing the show every night, you experience a lot of different audience members,” Schmitz said. “On a Tuesday, you could have a small audience, but on a Saturday, there will be almost 2,000 people in that crowd cheering you on and having a great time. That’s been one of the most positive experiences – getting to interact with those types of crowds on a daily basis.”

Without the proper training, performing every night can wear on a person’s vocal stamina. Schmitz thanks her MSUM voice instructors, Jenny Dufault and Julie Adams, for teaching her how to maintain vocal health.

“I just want to thank them for teaching me to use my instrument in a healthy way that’s going to help me prolong my career,” Schmitz said.

Music industry graduate Matthew Dietzler joined Schmitz and Rottman in being a part of the Medora crew as an audio engineer and has enjoyed the opportunity to help produce the country inspired entertainment show.

Dietzler, who moved back to Fargo after a yearlong stint in Texas after graduating in 2012 from MSUM, was considering going back to the Lone Star State for work, but a call from Medora changed his mind.

During a visit to Medora last summer, Dietzler connected with the audio engineer. “If I hadn’t talked to and gotten to know the engineer, I would not be here right now. It’s amazing what an impact your career can have by just talking to somebody.”

Dietzler also credits his time at MSUM and professor Ryan Jackson for not only teaching him the basics of the music industry but for showing him how powerful connecting with others can be. “Had I not had the time at MSUM, I don’t think I would’ve been successful. Ryan Jackson is such an awesome individual,” Dietzler said. “I learned a lot from him by getting to know him and being in class.”

Carl Rottman, the stage manager of the musical, graduated in 2013 with a theatre arts degree. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the light and sound cues, makes sure that everyone is on time and that the artistic vision of the director is maintained throughout each show. It is Rottman’s first season at Medora, and the most enjoyable aspect of his job has been the people he works with every day.

“The cast is fantastic. The backstage crew has been everything that I could’ve hoped and dreamed for, and the band is fantastic,” Rottman said. “Those have been the most enjoyable things, besides the view. The view of the badlands is second to none.”

Rottman and Schmitz had never heard of the Medora Musical until attending MSUM. 

“A lot of people had mentioned the Medora Musical, and I came from the Twin Cities, so I was like, ‘What’s that?’” Rottman said. “After my time at MSUM, I learned more about it, and I finally decided to apply.”

Rottman, who was a part of three seasons with the Straw Hat Players, said that being a part of the summer theatre troupe was invaluable. “If I hadn’t done Straw Hat, I wouldn’t have been nearly as prepared to do this job as I was.”

Although the three friends never have a night off from performing, managing and controlling the sound all summer, each of them said they would love to come back, if that’s where life leads them.

“This is a family friendly reviewed show. You get everything from the ‘30s to modern-day country, so it appeals to all ages,” Schmitz said. “There’s even a stuffed bear that walks across the stage.”

If the stuffed bear isn’t enough to pique your interest, consider this: Many of the band members have performed with big acts, like The Beatles and Prince. So even if country music isn’t your proverbial cup of tea, the energy exuding from the stage will grasp your attention.

The Medora Musical runs every night at 7:30 p.m. until Sept. 6. For tickets, call 1-800-Medora-1 for tickets, or visit online at