By HDN Staff
With the end of the year rapidly approaching and a new millennium poised to begin, it's easy to look back in retrospect at 1999 and ask, what has been accomplished?
When it comes to Montana State University-Northern, a lot has been achieved by the school that, just as easily, could have gone the other direction, conceding defeat under the weight of a poor local economy. After all, in many ways, the school feels the same effects as the community in which it's located. As population in Hill County drops and people move away, so, too, does the school's enrollment drop, and consequently, trouble could abound.
However, in light of all the potential setbacks, Northern, using the cliche, has taken the bull by the horns, and prospered while facing the "other" alternative. In doing so, Northern has set an example that should be followed by the rest of the Havre community.
Aggressive advertising, self-promotion and a definitive vision have opened Northern's doors to a positive future and manifested necessary change to compete in a changing world.
By sketching out a future vision and concrete goals, Northern asked itself what it is, and what it wants to be. By looking at possible development, and by prioritizing globalization, accountability and creating partnerships, the school has turned cheap talk into decisive action, and is now beginning to enjoy the fruits of its hard work. Enrollment remains steady, and promises the possibility of growth.
Partnerships with big-named companies like General Electric and InfoMine also have infused the school with money and cutting-edge technology, while giving Northern the beginning of a national reputation. In return, Northern has produced highly educated graduates for the companies in a give-and-take relationship, advancing the cause of both parties.
Such partnerships also have given the Havre community the opportunity to step into the new age, as rural telephone cooperatives have invested in Northern nearly $30 million dollars in high-speed networking, making "Havre's" college the state center for telecommunication. Add to this the Internet Business Incubation Center, the new T-1 cable, the Rural Cooperative Development Center, and a competent staff of professors, and Northern demonstrates how it has moved into position as a national leader in teaching, promoting and sharing the promises of a technological future.
Now, the community should join Northern, learn from the school's available experts and start taking advantage of the school's technological options. Like the school, the community should prepare for a changing future and make the change from talk to action.