Back to business at MSU Billings

Dear alumni,

I hope this letter finds you and your families well as spring draws to a close. What a spring it has been. The coronavirus dramatically changed lives worldwide, and we were not immune to resulting challenges at your alma mater.

Evolving situation

As you know from my last letter, we acted quickly at MSU Billings in response to the pandemic. We shifted courses online, canceled and postponed events, temporarily closed many campus buildings and transitioned to remote work, and requested that students return to their homes (if possible) for a period of state-advised isolation. Fortunately, we are taking steps to get back to business while maintaining the safety of all those on campus.

The Yellowjacket family really united to help each other during this trying time. Our University Police officers received donated protective masks, an alumna provided moving boxes for students in the residence halls, student leaders voted to roll unspent budgets to next year for our students’ clubs and organizations, and donors supported the first-ever Montana Match Month fundraiser for scholarships to help students overcome financial hardship to return to college next fall. These are only a few of many examples of acts of kindness at MSU Billings during recent months.

Looking ahead

For our class of 2020 and our newest alumni, the pandemic means waiting to recognize their tremendous accomplishments at the 93rd annual commencement ceremony. We rescheduled this important event for Dec. 19, and we look forward to bringing graduates and their families back to campus for this celebration. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the ongoing developments of COVID-19. If the situation requires that we revisit the commencement date and venue, our graduates will still be recognized and honored in some capacity. Please join us in congratulating them as they join you and embark on their next journey as ‘Jacket alumni.

Despite these challenges, we must continue work to enhance our university and the student experience. As part of these efforts, we recently completed my Strategic Program Alignment initiative to ensure MSU Billings meets student and workforce demands in our academic programs. Since its launch in 2018, committees reviewed academic programs to see which required updates or phasing out. At the end of this process, we will have 135 remaining program offerings – down from 254 to start. It’s vital to our student success and economy that our program offerings align with student and workforce demands; this process ensures we’re on track.

In these two years since I became chancellor at MSU Billings, I have never been so proud of our students, faculty and staff for their resilience and compassion for one another. My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you for your continued support of your alma mater and fellow Yellowjackets.

Be well,

Dr. Dan Edelman, CPA

This letter to alumni from MSU Billings Chancellor Dan Edelman appeared in the June 2020 issue of the Alumni Flyer e-newsletter.