With its challenging weather, this time of year brings to mind a saying popular during that time (very long ago) when I was a Dickinson State student: Keep on truckin’! A lot of progress has been made already during this school year, due in large part to the work of our students, faculty, and staff. But we are continuing to “truck’” forward.

As we approach the midpoint of the semester, let’s take a moment to applaud our students’ dedication and hard work in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. At DSU, student success is our top priority. As a DSU supporter, you should be proud that each student has the ability to excel.

This weekend, our theatre students showcased the play bobrauschenbergamerica by Charles Mee. Crafted as a “fantastical road trip through the American landscape,” the play highlighted Mee’s innovative approach and Rauschenberg’s art, which featured collages of ordinary items in logic-defying combinations. The play trumpets Rauschenberg’s style and the importance of art itself, with a playful jab at yours truly. We hope you got to see it.

Students are also preparing senior projects, recitals, and research. The Undergraduate Research Committee continues to plan for our annual Celebration of Scholars event in April. This will feature original research projects from across campus, including in agriculture, healthcare, and psychology. We hope you can join us for this free event on April 20. You will come away very impressed by DSU students.   

On February 6, DSU Competitive Cheer hosted its home virtual meet. The Blue Hawks posted an impressive score of 94.65, the highest score in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) at the time, to win the competition. The Hawks hope to match or improve upon their fourth-place finishes at the past two national championships.

More successes came from our indoor track and field teams. The women’s team had an impressive showing at the Bison Open in Fargo, placing 4th at the event, which hosted strong competitors. Early in the indoor season, Kori Nagel was named NAIA National Indoor Women’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week. Nagel set a new weight throw record and captured a pair of individual titles in the Mike Thorson Open.  Teammates Kaitlyn McColly and Elizabeth Widmer each recently set school records in the 60m Hurdles and 1000m run, respectively. McColly also broke the school record in the pentathlon, earning her the number on spot in the nation. With McColly’s success, she was named the Midwest Regional Field Athlete of the Year. This honor has only happened one other time in our school history. Teammate Adarra Hagelund set a record in the high jump at 1.74 meters, claiming the number one spot in the nation. The Blue Hawk women won the North Star Athletic Association conference meet, thereby gaining the fourth DSU conference championship this academic year in all sports. The Blue Hawk women are ranked 10th in the nation going into the post-season and had 22 all conference finishers. The Blue Hawk men’s track and field team finished a strong second in the conference and had 18 all conference finishers.

Our faculty and staff continue to plan events for our community to enjoy. We are excited to announce the Inaugural "Leadership Rising" conference. Leadership Rising is an initiative by the School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Dickinson State University, Baker Boy, Inc., and Baker Boy Professor of Leadership Dr. Debora Dragseth. The conference will foster leadership skills among students and community business leaders, thereby stimulating economic activity and innovation in sectors crucial for diversifying the state's economy. To register to attend, please visit https://dickinsonstate.edu/other/leadership-rising/index.html.

Also worth mentioning are our extended academic pathways. We are very proud of the work of our faculty and staff in generating these opportunities for our students. DSU’s Early University program is attracting more students to start coursework in high school. The Early University program provides scholarship opportunities for students who would like to earn associate degrees in high school. With the governor’s initiative to graduate students earlier to improve workforce gaps, DSU hopes this program provides students with the option to accelerate if they choose. More information about this program can be found at Dickinsonstate.edu/EarlyU.

The days are still short and cold, but that will change. Keep on truckin’!