Both of Montana State University-Northern’s speakers at Wednesday’s 102nd Annual Havre Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Dean of the College of Technical Sciences Greg Kegel and Chancellor Frank Trocki, shared exciting news with attendees.
Ted Turner is coming to Northern's graduation.
Turner is the founder of Turner Broadcast Network and CNN, and he is a former owner of the Atlanta Braves. He has a ranch near Bozeman and raises bison. He is a longtime supporter of environmental causes.
Trocki began his speech with the revelation and a recounting of the hard work that has gone into securing the latter-day Montana media mogul as this year’s commencement speaker.
At the lunch, Trocki said that Turner was the perfect speaker for Northern, with his interests in conservation and environmentalism reflected largely in Northern’s programs in bio-energy research.
Trocki also described physical changes on campus, including the old swimming pool that is now filled in and a new roof and labs in the Hagener building.
Trocki, along with other Northern officials and MSU leaders, spoke in front of the Legislature in the past week and told listeners about impending cuts.
“I’ve been told everyone is getting a haircut,” Trocki said. “Just not the same haircut.”
Trocki, however, assured luncheon attendees of Northern’s indispensable place in the regional economy, as shown in a recent economic report by MSU.
Kegel spoke to the crowd about the region’s indispensable place in a national or even international scale.
The dean highlighted Northern’s place at a crossroads of old and new energies, and local predominance in biodiesel. According to his presentation, Northern is the only place to handle and test the entire process of biodiesel production and use, from the additives that go into the fuel to the emissions that come out.
Kegel also talked about work with a local branch of the national outreach program YouthBuild, where help and education are provided to at-risk youth. Kegel and the local YouthBuild have received national attention for their particular success, helping students each year not only earn a GED, but also go on to post-secondary educational institutions.
He said he has been invited to a meeting next month with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who are looking to support this success.
“They’ve just pledged to give away $2 billion,” Kegel said. “So we’re going to make sure we make that meeting.”