Tag Archives: Amy Gort

Metropolitan State University celebrates 102nd commencement

A classmate’s enthusiastic appeal to Metropolitan State University students to seize upon their success and to “make the best out of your struggles” brought the audience of 2,000 to its feet as student Kossi Ayigah addressed the graduating class.

“Many of you sitting here have a story to tell. Throughout our educational journey, we have all overcome many obstacles and life challenges, but we made it,” Ayigah said.

Approximately 1,058 students received their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees this semester, with 785 students participating in Metropolitan State’s 102nd commencement exercises Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. To accommodate Metropolitan State’s growing student body, the spring commencement ceremony took place as two programs. The ceremony was livestreamed and is archived for viewing at https://youtu.be/j6PAjtFOslE.

From French-speaking Togo, Ayigah came to the United States in 2013. As a non-native English speaker, he struggled through his classes at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Speaking up in class was impossible, raising his hand was a “no-no.” He had to  search the dictionary for words to understand the context of his reading assignments; it took him nearly three hours to get through five pages. He had yet to learn that growth requires patience. Ayigah’s scholarly pursuits demanded even more from him when he transferred to Metropolitan State in December 2016.

“Along my educational road,life got harder. But regardless of my struggles and what was happening around me, I refused to be discouraged. I woke up every day with my head up, my chest out, a smile on my face, and I made sure that I took advantage of every opportunity,” Ayigah told the graduates from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Management, College of Sciences, and the School of Urban Education. He speech can be viewed at this URL: https://youtu.be/Oc3ZP5u0i8o

Ayigah graduates with his bachelor’s degree in accounting, having won a scholarship from the American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants along the way. He is a recipient of the President’s Outstanding Student award, representing the College of Management.

As the ceremonies opened, President Virginia Arthur addressed the graduates with the promise that their preparation at Metropolitan State has equipped them to become leaders, both in their careers and in their communities. She reminded them that, under Metropolitan State’s unofficial credo as the “University without barriers,” learning and pursuing a degree is possible in spite of obstacles, and education extends beyond a student’s life spent in the classroom.

“As one alumnus recently put it,” Arthur said, “We allow students to find their own passion and purpose and help them become lifelong learners, taking responsibility for the direction of their programs of study, and encouraging their active engagement in their community.”

Metropolitan State first admitted students in 1972. To date, 46,115 students have graduated over its 47 years as a higher education institution. At its founding, there were few options for students who did not fit the traditional mold: recent high school graduates seeking a residential experience. The founders were determined that Metropolitan State should be a “college for those who have no college,” and that it would honor the knowledge that learners brought with them to the university.  Metropolitan State now enrolls approximately 11,500 students and has a national reputation for innovative programs that empower students.

“Presidents often wish they had a crystal ball to see into the future. But as I stand before you today, and look into your faces, I can see the future—and I see that it is a bright and promising one,” President Arthur said.

Aaryka Pederson, President’s Outstanding Student award finalist, delivered the afternoon address to the graduates from the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs, the College of Individualized Studies, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Her speech can be viewed at this URL: https://youtu.be/1OQLFtHs0M0

“When you meet a challenge in life, think back to how you persevered while earning your degree and you pulled yourself through. Be proud of yourself and of what you have accomplished,” Pederson said. She graduates with summa cum laude honors, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“You have already shown how strong you can be by making it here today, and I know that that strength will flow into the rest of your lives, to help empower you to do great things,” Student Senate President Heather Moenck said, addressing the graduating classes. “Whether you are going into a new career, graduate school, or just opening up a new chapter of your life, you are influential and powerful. Going forward, do phenomenal things, challenge opinions and create a positive change in the world.” Her speech can be viewed at this URL: https://youtu.be/cOkZMSYhOJo

Outstanding Student honorees recognized at commencement are: Kossi Ayigah, College of Management; Stacy Buschmann-Ford, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Christopher Sugden, College of Liberal Arts; Cynthia Yoder, College of Sciences; Genevieve Calvillo, College of Individualized Studies; Jennifer Cannon, College of Liberal Arts; Raelene Caswell, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs; Rodrigo J. Sanchez, School of Urban Education; Tess Spence-Sing, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs; Jessica Stewart, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; and Taskin Hague, College of Management.

Other commencement participants included:

  • Amy Gort, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs
  • Cheryl Tefer, trustee, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees
  • Michael O’Connor, president of the Metropolitan State University Alumni Board
  • August Hoffman, president of the Inter-Faculty Organization
  • Kristine Hansen, director of Alumni Relations

Dr. Frank Schweigert will continue as interim dean of the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs


Dr. Frank Schweigert

Dr. Frank Schweigert, interim dean of the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs, will extend his term through the 2019-2020 academic year to provide continuity to the college’s leadership.

A search for a permanent dean is planned to begin in fall 2019 (during fiscal year 2020).

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Amy Gort made the announcement on May 7.

Dr. Charles Tedder named interim dean of the College of Individualized Studies

Dr. Charles Tedder has accepted the interim position as dean of the College of Individualized Studies and will start in that role on May 8, 2018. He will serve as interim dean through fiscal year 2020. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Amy Gort made the announcement on May 7.

Dr. Charles Tedder
Dr. Charles Tedder

Tedder joined the Metropolitan State University in fall 2011 as an assistant professor in First College, which was renamed that year to the College of Individualized Studies. He earned his bachelor of arts in English at High Point University and his master’s and PhD in English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His dissertation focused on utopianism in American novels, a prelude to joining a college founded on a utopian vision of what higher education can be for students and their communities. He has previously served as department chair and as an officer in the university’s faculty association.

His teaching and research interests include philosophy and practice of higher education; 20th century American literature and culture; utopian studies; critical and literary theory; cultural studies and human rights; environmental discourse and the literary imagination; rhetoric and composition.

Beth Clausen is named dean of Library and Information Services

Beth Clausen has been named to the position of dean of Library and Information Services. She will start in her role on Aug. 1. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Amy Gort made the announcement on May 3.

Beth Clausen
Beth Clausen

Clausen earned her Master’s in Library and Information Science, and  BA in Journalism & Mass Communication; Political Science at the University of Iowa. She is currently the department head of Access Services at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Clausen has 25 years of library experience with 18 years of administrative experience as department head of Northwestern University Library. She also served as the library director at Northwestern University at Qater, Doha, Qatar. She is a member of the editorial board for portal: Libraries and the Academy, 2015-present; editor of Global Perspectives column and referee for articles in areas of experience and expertise. Clausen is experienced with innovative library and information services programs, approaches and modes of delivery. She has worked collaboratively in a team environment with students, staff and faculty. She has written several noteworthy publications and has presented at many conferences.

The search committee included School of Urban Education Dean Rene Antrop-Gonzalez, who also served as search chair, Dylan Harris, Christine Larson, Greg Mellas, Brenda Merrill, Alec Sonsteby and Amber Williams.

Dr. Allen Bellas named interim dean of the College of Management

Dr. Allen Bellas
Dr. Allen Bellas

Dr. Allen Bellas has accepted the position of interim dean of the College of Management and will start in that role on July 1. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Amy Gort made the announcement on May 1.

Dr. Bellas has been with Metropolitan State University since 2004. His primary teaching interests are environmental economics, principles of economics, benefit-cost analysis and the economics of public policy and social issues. He previously served in several leadership roles in the Metropolitan State Faculty Association, including serving as F.A. president from 2014 to 2016. Prior to joining the faculty at Metropolitan State, Dr. Bellas held adjunct positions at the University of Washington and Seattle University.

Dr. Bellas earned his BS in economics and actuarial science from the University of Michigan and his PhD in economics from the University of Washington. He has published in the areas of pollution regulation, health insurance coverage of alternative medicine and technological change at U.S. power plants.

Cathy Johnson, David Horn, Duncan McCampbell, Jamaica DelMar, Mark Newfield, Michael Green, Pat Borchert, Steve Creason, and Vadhindran Rao served on the advisory search committee.

April 28: Metropolitan State’s 102nd commencement

Metropolitan State University celebrates its 102nd commencement.

Approximately 1,072 students are receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees this semester with 785 students expected to participate in Metropolitan State University’s 102nd commencement exercise.

To accommodate Metropolitan State’s growing student body, the spring commencement ceremony will take place as two programs Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S. The morning program will begin at 9:45 a.m., and the afternoon program will begin at 1:45 p.m. All guests must have a ticket. The ceremony will be livestreamed (http://bit.ly/2r7Njqr).

The morning program’s student address will be delivered by graduating student, Kossi Ayigah, who is recipient of the President’s Outstanding Student from the College of Management. The program recognizes graduates from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Management, College of Sciences, and the Urban Education Department.

Doors open at 9 a.m. and the procession starts at 9:45 a.m.

The student address for the afternoon program will be delivered by Aaryka Pederson, President’s Outstanding Student award finalist and College of Nursing and Health Sciences graduating student. The program recognizes graduates from the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs, College of Individualized Studies, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Doors open at 1:15 p.m. and the procession starts at 1:45 p.m.

Other commencement participants include:

  • Virginia “Ginny” Arthur, J.D., Metropolitan State University president
  • Amy Gort, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs
  • Cheryl Tefer, trustee, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees
  • Michael O’Conner, president of the Metropolitan State University Alumni Board
  • August Hoffman, president of the Inter-faculty Organization
  • Kristine Hansen, director of Alumni Relations
  • Heather Moenck, Student Senate president.

Congratulations to the graduating class of spring 2018.

Photos: Spring 2018 retirement reception

Spring 2018 marks the retirement of eight of our colleagues at Metropolitan State University. President Ginny Arthur, Provost Amy Gort, Inter Faculty Organization President August Hoffman and the Metropolitan State community gathered to thank them for their years of service.

Honorees included:
• Daniel Abebe, professor; College of Individualized Studies
• Rose Wan-Mui Chu, professor; School of Urban Education
• Valerie Geaither, professor; Human Services College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
• Leah Harvey, professor; College of Individualized Studies
• Paul Hesterman, director of Advising; College of Management
• Kat Lui, dean; College of Management
• Nancy Miller, associate professor; Human Services College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
• Joyce Paxton, director; AQIP Academic and Student Affairs

Metropolitan State University’s Multicultural Affairs again selected for Institute of Mexicans Abroad Fellowship Program

By Santos Martinez, director of Multicultural Affairs

Felicitaciónes! Congratulations! Felicitaciónes!

Año dos mil diez y siete, presente lo tengo yo. 

For the third consecutive year, the Office of the Dean of Students and Multicultural Affairs at Metropolitan State University were selected to participate in the 2017-2018 IME-BECAS (Scholarship) Program, the Mexican Consulate’s Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME) Fellowship Program.  Dr. Herbert King, dean of students, and Santos Martinez, director of Multicultural Affairs, prepared and submitted the proposal and greatly appreciate the support received from the university’s leadership and IME-BECAS selection committee.

The IME-BECAS Program is another important opportunity to serve Latino students of Mexican origin and ancestry attending our university.  In partnership with the Mexican Consulate, IME-BECAS is a scholarship program instrumental in alleviating some of the financial strains that impede students from accessing and pursuing their postsecondary education.

The institutional IME-BECAS Award Ceremony sponsored by the Mexican Consulate was hosted on Nov. 22 at Century Community College to recognize the 12 higher education institutions and two nonprofit organizations that received the 2017 – 2018 award. The following individuals represented Metropolitan State University at the ceremony: Nellyda Ross, current student and 2016-2017 IME-BECAS scholarship recipient,  Dr. Amy Gort, provost and executive vice president, Roberta (Bobbie) Anderson, interim associate provost for Student Success, Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Herbert King and Santos Martinez.

Over the past two years, Metropolitan State University has provided assistance to 19 students.  This upcoming  spring, an additional 12 students will be selected to receive the scholarship.  The IME-BECAS (Scholarship) Program has had a positive impact on the lives and educational persistence of students as indicated by some of their comments below.

“As a Mexican woman in the United States, there have been many odds stacked against my success.  With this scholarship, I am able to look forward to completing my degree this year and become part of the positive and growing statistic of Latinos obtaining bachelors’ degrees.”

“I am thankful to have been awarded this scholarship.  It makes completing my educational goals even more attainable while encouraging me to do my best.”

“I am grateful for this scholarship because it will allow me to accomplish my dream of becoming a teacher.”

Metropolitan State hopes to continue assisting students through this partnership with the Mexican Consulate for years to come.

Aquí  terminan los versos de este anuncio especial.

 Congratulations! Felicitaciónes! Congratulations!