Congratulations, Graduates, for Daring to be Great!

April 27, 2015

A column by Temporary Board Chair Terry Hjelmstad

A column by Temporary Board Chair Terry Hjelmstad

This is an exciting time for the State Board of Higher Education and the North Dakota University System. We are about to make the choice for the next Chancellor, who will help us lead our system. That person will be instrumental in helping our institutions fulfill our vision of unleashing the potential of higher education in our state and inspiring our future through the success of our students.

It’s also an exciting time because we’re about to celebrate 11 Commencements across our system. Members of the Board are looking forward to being at each of these ceremonies, and I thank each of them for volunteering to be there. I think we are as proud of those graduates as they walk across the stage as their families are.

This past year as the Board developed its 2015-2020 strategic plan, the NDUS Edge, we had many conversations about our focus on students. All of our goals were developed with the achievements of our students being front and center in our thought process. Whether it involved delivering degrees that are the best value in the nation, equipping students for success, providing programs they need and want or maximizing the strengths of our system, when we visualize our students with diplomas in hand, we know why we agreed to be on the Board.

In communicating our strategic plan, we used language about Daring to be Great – and we’re not talking about the Board – we’re talking about our students. While thinking about Commencement remarks, I was reminded of Theodore Roosevelt’s quote along those lines: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Congratulations, graduates, for Daring to be Great! Your efforts are certainly for a worthy cause, and we look forward to seeing the great things you will accomplish next.