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Amy Dalrymple, Published November 19 2009

Thanks and goodbyes at Chapman gathering

North Dakota State University has a new word to propose for the dictionary: Joe-mentum.

That was the buzzword Wednesday at a farewell reception for President Joseph Chapman, whose last day is Nov. 30.

About 250 campus and community members gathered at the Memorial Union to shake Chapman’s hand and thank him for leading NDSU through a transformation.

Banners signed by supporters read “Thank you for 11 years of leadership and Joe-mentum.”

Mayor Dennis Walaker proclaimed Wednesday Joe Chapman Day and read a formal statement that highlighted the progress at NDSU during Chapman’s tenure.

“I couldn’t convince him to stay,” Walaker said. “The least we can do is making him have good memories of being here for 11 years.”

Jessica Wachter, a senior art major from Bismarck, presented Chapman and his wife, Gale, with an original painting titled “Lives You Have Touched, Paths You Have Created.”

Wachter, who worked with Chapman through her role as a Bison Ambassador, said the abstract painting represents the paths Chapman created for many students.

“You will never know the full impact that you have had here at NDSU and will leave here,” Wachter said.

Circuit Judge Myron Bright, a friend of the Chapmans, also spoke, thanking them for putting NDSU on the map.

“You and Gale have led this institution to becoming a great university in our land and in our time,” said Bright, who led the group in a salute of Chapman.

Chapman said he couldn’t have made a difference at NDSU without the support of many people.

“This couldn’t happen if this wasn’t something we did together,” he said.

The Chapmans are taking time to figure out their next step. Chapman said they are looking for recreational property in Colorado, but they plan to maintain ties to North Dakota.

“It’s important to know that we’re not planning to just disengage,” Chapman said. “We’re not planning to not be North Dakotans.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590