Kudos to Paul Tuss on his appointment to the Montana Board of Regents.
The executive director of Bear Paw Development Corp. has a knowledge of the Hi-Line like no one else. He has his finger on the pulse of the education community, and he, from experience, knows the ins and outs of the sometimes bizarre Helena scene.
And, while we're at it, kudos to Gov. Brian Schweitzer for naming a Havre person to the seat being vacated by Havreite Lynn Hamilton. We sometimes feel forgotten up our way, and it's important that we have someone in the halls of power who knows of our concerns and perspectives.
Tuss and the other regents have a tough road ahead of them.
Like most public university systems in the United States, times are tough in Montana. Expenses are going up. The demand for college education is increasing, both because of the recession and because of increasing awareness of the importance of education.
Tuss and other regents are caught in a vise. Students are demanding high quality, low-cost education. Lawmakers are becoming more cost-conscious. And faculty feel they have given all they can give in the way of cost reductions.
Montana has a long tradition of quality higher education. More than ever, the future of the state and its young people depend on maintaining that reputation.
Tuss is a great choice to be part of the leadership team at the university system during these tough times.
There is one more provincial reason we are glad to see Tuss on the board.
As a regent, he represents the entire state and must be concerned about all campuses in the system.
We too care greatly about the entire university system. In Havre, we have residents who are graduates from virtually every campus in the state. If the universities succeed, all of Montana is well served.
But excuse us if we have a special concern about the future of our specific part of the university system, Montana State University-Northern.
More than any other community in the state, the future of Havre, the city we love, is tied directly to the future of Northern. The community's hopes and dreams are linked to the campus. It is a place where our young people from the plains and the reservations can get a college degree inexpensively. The university is a bright spot in the sometimes bleak economic outlook for our area.
Many of us can't help but feel that Northern is an afterthought to the bigger and more prosperous communities in the state's "boot," that we are looked upon as the campus on the frozen tundra just south of Alberta. Such an attitude culminated with the perfectly ghastly suggestion by one Helena bureaucrat last year that Northern be shuttered.
When Tuss is on the board thinking of the best interests of the university system as a whole, we hope he keeps in the back of his mind thoughts about us folks up here on the Hi-Line. We need somebody to remember us.