Ted Turner’s commencement speech isn’t the only exciting thing coming to Montana State University-Northern this year.
Shauna Albrecht, MSU-N’s Foundation executive director, has, in her first year in the position, gotten gears moving on a number of projects.
The primary focus of Albrecht’s first year has been to re-engage donors and graduates and aid in the growth of the Northern community.
“We really want to create an active alumni association,” Albrecht said, “to bring alumni back to Havre and reconnect with some friends, family and professors that were here.”
One major step in this direction came with the inclusion in October of the Northern Alumni Association and the work of its director, Autumn Elliot, in the foundation.
The foundation was created in the 1960s to help the university and students where state funding couldn’t, such as with scholarships and some infrastructure costs. It was run by Tom Reynolds from then until 2007. After a few slower years for the foundation, Albrecht came in last year and has plans.
“Coming into an office that needed some work, one of my goals is to make alums realize how much we appreciate them,” Albrecht said.
One of the ways to share this appreciation is through a system of alumni association chapters to bring Northern graduates together, wherever they are.
Albrecht said that 84 percent of Northern graduates stay in Montana, so chapters are being formed across the state.
But the foundation hasn’t forgotten about those other 16 percent. Albrecht said she wants to have chapters set up in other areas with concentrations of Northern grads across the country, including Portland, Ore., Seattle and Minneapolis.
Here in Havre, there are a couple of events coming up to bring alumni back to campus.
The first is the “We Love Northern Ball" on Saturday, Feb. 12, in the Student Union Building. This will be the event's 25th anniversary and the fifth year since the foundation took over from the Soroptimists that started it.
“They were very successful at raising scholarships, and we hope to continue that,” Albrecht said. “It’s a great and fun way to raise money.”
On May 6 the foundation is hosting a ceremony to honor the recipient of the Founder’s Excellence Award for an individual with notable impact on the university, the community or the state.
Albrecht said nominations need to be in the foundation office, on the second floor of Cowan Hall, by April 1.
The ceremony will, this year, be attended by at least 25 of Northern’s “Golden Grads,” who graduated 50 years ago, Albrecht said.
The foundation is hoping to have a woman from Northern’s first graduating class, in 1931, present at the event.
“It’s an exciting night for us to celebrate those that help us,” Albrecht said.
Albrecht encourages anyone who wants to help the foundation with any of its goals to contact the foundation at 265 3711.