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MSUM President Edna Szymanski spoke at a meeting of the Detroit Lakes Kiwanis Club on Tuesday. LIBBY LARSON/TRIBUNE

MSUM president: Students should come first

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Edna Szymanski, president of Minnesota State University Moorhead, was invited to speak at the Detroit Lakes chapter of Kiwanis International on during their Tuesday meeting.

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As the first female president of the university, she spoke of how she has approached leadership over the course her career, and the specific challenges that arise from being a woman in leadership.

Presenting an over-view of the core principles she applies in her role as president of MSUM, Szymanski said she leads from an approach of caring and mutual respect.

“We are all responsible to the students and to the taxpayers,” she said of the necessity to place accountability over entitlement when making executive decisions.

She also spoke of a respect for the past while embracing and accepting changes for the future.

Szymanski strives to ensure that all students find the right school in their college search, even if that means that MSUM isn’t necessarily their best fit.

“Minnesota needs an educated workforce,” she said. “We need to help students find the right place where they’ll succeed.”

MSUM has established close connections with M State and the network of Minnesota schools. Many high school students in the area take advantage of opportunities to take college level classes and additional options for online classes, and Szymanski is enthusiastic about this partnership.

Szymanski is known for putting students first in her role as president, and she also credits the Faculty Senate of MSUM for being so committed to the student body and quality of education at the university.

Sharing the personal approach she applies both to her role as president and in her everyday interactions with others, she said, “life is not just about work or proving one-self. Rather, it’s about family, people, and the day-to-day results of caring.”

Recently announcing her retirement next summer after the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year at MSUM, Szymanski and her husband will be establishing roots in the area, as they have purchased property on Big Floyd Lake.

Article written by Libby Larson of Detroit Lakes Newspapers

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