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MSUM: Lives Transformed

Photos By Hillary Ehlen

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The Christopher Family

Andrew Christopher was sold on Minnesota State University Moorhead when he took his first tour of the school. His parents, Travis and Jennifer, were sold on the university long before that. MSUM’s solid reputation in the community and proximity to home were key selling points.

Andrew is a sophomore communication studies major at MSUM. He’s active on campus and works at the bookstore. His father, Travis, is the director of donor fulfillment for Dakota Medical Foundation and Giving Hearts Day and his mother, Jennifer, is a paraprofessional for Fargo Public Schools.

Read about three of the reasons Andrew and his parents knew MSUM was the right fit:

1. We felt a connection on campus

Even though he went to high school in the Fargo-Moorhead area, Andrew learned a lot from his tour of MSUM. It was an opportunity to explore academic offerings, experience the campus culture, and meet other students and professors. “When I toured here I felt a connection. I thought everyone was friendly and it’s not a big school so I learned that class sizes are pretty decent as well,” Andrew said. It was during MSUM’s Preview Day that the entire Christopher family decided MSUM was the right fit. Travis and Jennifer toured the campus for the first time and witnessed their son’s immediate connection. “We came for Preview Day and he got to talking to one of the professors. They had a bond immediately, and they talked for 20 minutes about business and sports and other things,” Jennifer said.

2. Professors care about their students

“I can tell the professors care about their students and that’s another reason this place sold me,” Andrew said. Personal attention from the entire campus community – faculty, staff and students – is what makes MSUM a special place. “The faculty and the students are all willing to help. I think that’s been the most impactful thing about MSUM—the people,” he said. “It’s so nice to have the mentorship and guidance and even making friends with people on your dorm floor. All of that eases anxiety and nervousness. It feels like you’re a part of a family; the Dragon family.”

3. MSUM is involved in the community

Given the nature of his work, Travis had connected with several MSUM alumni and leaders. He was impressed with MSUM’s level of involvement in the Fargo-Moorhead community.

“Even before we talked about MSUM for Andrew, I saw faculty in my daily job. I got to know President Blackhurst, and she’s so community-minded that she’s out there all the time,” Travis said. “So, by the time we had to make a decision it was easy because I had a chance to meet some of the leadership. They’re out in the community preaching the good word about the Dragons. I knew I could send my son here for four years and not worry about him.”

Travis and Jennifer couldn’t be more pleased with Andrew’s college decision. MSUM gives them peace of mind about several things. “MSUM does what they say, and that’s to provide high-quality education,” Travis said. “And frankly, it’s great for families. I would recommend MSUM to anyone.”

Andrew credits his parents for helping him make his college decision. “My parents are wonderful people, and they’ve raised me to be the gentleman I am today,” Andrew said. “They’ve been very supportive of my decision to come to MSUM, and I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”


A campus visit is the best way to get a feel for MSUM’s culture and community. Take a tour, learn about opportunities on campus and meet current students and faculty. Check out MSUM’s Fall Preview Days or schedule a campus visit that works for you.


Preview Days:
Thursday, Oct. 17
Friday, Oct. 18
Saturday, Oct. 19
Monday, Feb. 17

Sign up for a campus visit at

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The Groth Family

Emily Groth was determined to find a school that was known for graphic design. She had been interested in design since her high school years at Fargo Davies. Her parents, Donn and Michelle, are both proud Minnesota State University Moorhead alumni; they were also committed to helping Emily find the school and program that was right for her. While she looked at other, bigger schools in North Dakota and Minnesota, the program at MSUM piqued her interest.

Emily is a senior graphic communication major at MSUM. She also runs her own business, Studio 1318, where she makes and sells macramé. Donn is a senior marketing consultant for Midwest Communications, and Michelle is an operations manager at Bell Bank.

These three factors helped Emily and her parents decide on MSUM.

1. Opportunities in the classroom

“I always wanted to go into graphic design and MSUM has a graphic communications major. I was very excited because it is more multimedia-based, which is what I’m interested in,” Emily said about what made her decide on MSUM.

And, when she found out about the class sizes at MSUM, Emily felt comfortable.

“The bigger programs at some of the schools I was looking at, the class size was going to be much larger than what I was used to,” Emily said. “Getting here, my major courses are smaller. It’s really nice getting more of a one-on-one connection with professors.”

Donn, a seasoned marketing and communications professional, added: “The program she wanted to go into and how it ranked nationally was really important,” he said. “There is a great education that comes out of this school.”

2. An affordable education

College is a big investment for families and getting the most value was another key factor in Emily’s decision to attend MSUM. Once she knew MSUM had the program she was looking for, she began comparing other factors. She found another advantage MSUM had over the rest of the competition — it offered greater value.

“I think she found out when she started looking at other schools and comparable programs the cost to go to school,” Donn said. “That was one of the big things.”

3. Being a part of the Dragon family

Donn and Michelle are both still involved in the university. “We still have a lot of connections and a lot of lifelong friends from our time here,” Donn noted.

“We both knew the campus and the size would fit Emily well,” added Michelle. “Culture and community are at the forefront of MSUM’s mission.” It was that familiarity that gave Donn and Michelle peace of mind when sending Emily off to school.

Those are some of Emily’s favorite things about being a Dragon, too.

“One thing I love about it is that you really feel your professors know you and care about your well-being,” Emily said. “You’re not just a number to them and I really appreciate that.”

The arts were always going to be central to Emily’s education. At MSUM, she is now continuing the Dragon family legacy.


Wondering if MSUM will be an affordable option for your family? A Net Price Calculator on MSUM’s website is designed to estimate costs and eligibility for financial aid based on individual and family information.


Visit to find out more.

Written by Brady Drake


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