Montana State University President Waded Cruzado told community members Wednesday that she wants MSU’s units to work together to provide the best education possible to the most people it can. “In the end, I want the students that we have to be not only great professionals, we want them to be productive citizens,” she said. “All of that is part of what we do, part of what we accomplish in the university setting, and the more people have access to that the better society will be.” Cruzado spoke in a forum during her third day in Havre talking to people at and about Montana State University- Northern. She took over the leadership of MSU following the retirement of Geoff Gamble, who had taken the helm of the university in 2000. Lou Hagener, son of professor Lou Hagener for whom Northern’s science building is named, told Cruzado he is concerned that Northern may not be given a fair shake as part of the MSU system. He said that s i n c e t h e Montana University System was divided into MSU and the University of Montana groups, i t seems to receive even less respect than it did before. “I have a feeling that even Northern Montana College had a higher status than its being relegated to now,” he said. Hagener said that, when he was attending college at MSU in Bozeman, his professors seemed very satisfied with the preparation students received at the Havre college. Students could attend classes for a couple of years, at a much lower expense, and then move to another campus if needed. He said Havre residents are concerned there is a perception that Northern is a second-rate college. “I’d like to think there would be a little more pride in the total institution and university,” Hagener said, adding that Bozeman and other campuses should not be competing and trying to take students from Havre. “We need to have this institution pull together,” he said. “What can I say, that’s why I am here,” Cruzado replied. “I wanted to come to Havre early in my tenure. “I want to send a strong message, which I’ve been trying to send since my first day in office,” she added. She said it is difficult to operate a university system in a large, sparsely populated state, but she wants to send the message that working together all of the units of MSU — including its four campuses, its research centers and its extension offices in each campus — can excel at the job. “Perhaps the most important thing is I need to send that message consistently, about the importance of one university system, because there are many opportunities here that we can expand on,” Cruzado said. Gregg Carlson, a 40-year veteran of the MSU staff and retired superintendent of MSU’s Northern Agricultural Research Center, agreed that that is what has to happen. “That message is so welcome,” he said. Tom Reynolds, former Northern faculty member and former director of the Northern Foundation, said the university needs to provide the people of Montana and students outside of the state, an opportunity for education. Cruzado said that is not only the university’s obligation and the right thing to do, it is a constitutional mandate. Part of that is in showing people why attending the university is a good idea, she said. Cruzado said she recently was challenged to show why a resident should send his child to the university. He asked her to show why it was worth the expense, she said. “We need to be more responsive and more transparent, providing more information about what we do and, in fact, how we transform lives,” Cruzado said.
Cruzado seeks to reassure residents about MSU-N
Published: Thursday, February 25th, 2010
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