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Claudia McGrath, Published October 26 2009

Beautiful NDSU president’s house will be source of pride

I have been reading about the president’s home and the troubles at North Dakota State University along with everyone else. I graduated from NDSU twice, once for my bachelor’s degree and again for my master’s degree. I spent some time in the Home Management Family Economics building both in my undergraduate years and in more recent years when visiting the Family Therapy Center. The president’s home was built around the same time. I can tell you that the kitchen in HMFE was inefficient back in 1975 and has continued to be outdated and inefficient in recent years. But when it was built, it was fine for the times.

As anyone who has ever built a house knows, it can be a difficult process. It’s been many years since NDSU built a president’s home, and this new home is a first-time experience for the many people involved. Lessons have been learned and processes put into place.

I have never met President Joseph Chapman and his wife, Gale. I know of the fine reputation of the Stroh architectural firm. What a beautiful home this has turned out to be. This home belongs to NDSU and will be the home of future presidents and their families.

It was never going to be Chapman and his wife’s personal home. They will live there very briefly. In the meantime they have spent most of their time at NDSU living in a home similar to the old HMFE home on campus. They have also had to put up with being moved, enduring a construction process, and then finally moving in with many details left to deal with and decisions to be made, and now moving out again.

Chapman is not only president of the university, he is also a husband and a father. Who among us would not want to be living in our home at the time of a major event like a family wedding. This is only human. Not many of us have jobs in which we are told where to live. As a parent, this particular issue moved me to finally respond to this controversy.

Unlike many families in recent times, NDSU and the state of North Dakota are in good shape fiscally. I am not in favor of supporting a reckless pattern of spending in either case. But the fact is, the houses are built for both NDSU and the University of North Dakota, and there is money to pay for them. How fortunate, as many families are facing losing jobs and unable to pay bills by circumstances that are outside of their control.

I hope that processes are improved, checks and balances are put into place and lessons are learned. That is a good outcome.

The home is beautiful and will be a treasure for NDSU and future presidents and their families for years to come. It will be a home NDSU can take pride in. Let’s move on.