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Change is the only constant


January 15, 2020

There is something to be said for consistency, and there is also something to be said for change.

A great quote from Rear Adm. Grace Hopper is “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way.” During my past career, in product design, companies used the phrase “evolve or die.” Change is important, and yet there is something to be said for consistency. Some would call it reliability. For instance, it’s nice to know that the newspaper will be delivered to your house the same time every day or that your latte tastes the same each time you order it.

Especially in small towns, we often get in the situation where we expect, well, the expected. And while many say they like change and “variety is the spice of life,” it’s sometimes hard to adjust expectations if we have been doing the same thing, the same way for years, dare I say decades.

Case in point, you go into your favorite local restaurant to find they have switched to a new menu. Suddenly the shrimp cocktail that was a staple is gone. The travesty! Instead of appreciating the new menu, the first gut instinct often is to complain, even if it’s just to your friends, that they don’t have your old standby. Let’s say you have a morning coffee group...perhaps you all sit in the same spot each day, at the same coffee shop each time, only to walk in one day and see other people sitting at your table. You feel displaced. Or perhaps, since Montana State University-Northern brought back football, you have always gone to their games off campus. Why on earth would a college team want a field on campus? We’ve never done it that way.

Change can be good if you embrace it. And that leads me to the 90th Celebration Gala, a fundraiser hosted by the Northern Alumni Foundation, also known as MSU-Northern Foundation. In 1987, 33 years ago, the We Love Northern Ball had its inaugural year, an event hosted by the Soroptimists and later adopted by the Northern Alumni Foundation. The first one I ever attended, 12 years ago, was in the MSUN Student Union Building and the more recent ones have taken place in the gym. For years, it was one of only a few major fundraisers on campus that was a dinner-dancing-auction type event.

This year, the Foundation is calling the event the 90th Celebration Gala because MSU Northern is celebrating their ninetieth anniversary and it’s a perfect theme for the party. It will still be a fundraiser for scholarships, it will still have a wonderful menu, it will still be held on campus, and yet we are injecting some freshness into this very special anniversary year.

One thing we will be switching up is the music. Literally switching it up. In past years, the band started at the end of the night, but for the 90th Celebration Gala we will have ongoing live music from the moment you step in the building. And the music and musicians will change throughout the night. Instead of one large band, you’ll see smaller vignettes, each with different styles of music.

And it won’t be in the gym. When I came back to Havre two years ago, I had the opportunity to walk through a new beautiful building on campus — the Diesel Technology Center — DTC — which will be the location for this year’s gala. Sounds funny, right? Diesel. We are asking you to get all dolled up and eat and drink next to engines. Well, if you haven’t been in the DTC, you are in for a real treat. With two fireplaces — one at each entrance — vaulted ceilings, brick walls, and gorgeous windows, this building is something to experience. We thank the chancellor, faculty and staff for letting us use the space.

Another change — we won’t be selling tables this year, just individual tickets. Why? Well we want you to explore, move around the venue, and experience different things throughout the evening. We are utilizing not just one main gathering hall, but various rooms that will have different things to offer. We will also have students from Northern on hand to share with you the unique details of the DTC. We will have multiple bars and games throughout the venue. Semi-formal, cocktail attire requested.

Not to worry — we will still have some wonderful silent auction items and we will also have our fun and free photo booth, same as years past.

Our goal is to celebrate the past, present, and the future of Northern. We will celebrate the past by having old video reels playing off of projectors in different rooms and old photos all around the venue. We will celebrate the present by using the beautiful DTC building for the location. And we will celebrate the future by having students on-hand volunteering at the event and by our guest supporting future students via gifts for scholarships.

Come join us! It will be an event to remember! Tickets will be limited and go on sale today, Wednesday, Jan. 15. Tickets are $65 for individuals or $120 for two. Follow our Facebook page — Northern Alumni Foundation — for more information. Tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling 265-3711, on our Facebook event page, or online at http://www.northernalumnifoundation.org .

Please contact us if you are interested in corporate sponsorship or donations to the silent auction as well. See you there!


Shantel Cronk is CEO/excutive director of the Montana State University-Northern Foundation.


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