A Letter From President, Sharlene Allen

Is it finally summer? This year more than any other in recent memory I’m thankful not only that it is summer in terms of the academic year, but that summer weather seems to finally be here.  It was a winter to remember throughout our region!  At our college, there were at least 15 days where one or more of our four campuses was either closed completely, opened late, or closed early due to weather and/or extreme cold.  That’s a lot of missed work time for us and our employees – and lost class time for our students! My fingers are crossed that we don’t experience anything like this again for many years to come.

It is an honor to be serving as the current UMACRAO President – and I can’t believe the year is already half over and soon we’ll be in Sioux Falls where I’ll transfer the gavel to Chance. Time sure flies! My goals for this year included finding ways to keep our members connected throughout the year, not just during the annual conference. As an Executive Committee and in collaboration with individual committee chairs, we have talked a lot about ways to accomplish this.  We have some ideas (one of which was to implement this newsletter) and we will continue looking for ways to accomplish this. Please feel free to reach out to me or any Executive Committee member if you have suggestions!

With this inaugural edition of the UMACRAO News, I was asked to provide some information about myself.  I am originally a “farm girl” from small town North Dakota (Wyndmere for those of you familiar with the area).  I am a graduate of North Dakota State College of Science and the University of Mary. Other than a couple of positions in other fields (a few years in a law office and just over a year at a hospital), I have spent most of my career working in higher education, with this summer marking 25 years that I have been at Minnesota State Community and Technical College.  I have held a few different positions in my time here and have served as the College Registrar since 2012.

My home now is in Barnesville, Minnesota, where my family and I have lived for almost 25 years.  My husband, John, is an attorney and we have been married just over 29 years (yes, I met him while I was working at the law office I mentioned above).  We have three daughters:  Courtney is an RN and her husband Gage is a software engineer. They got married last October and live just down the street from us. Miranda is currently attending NDSU pursuing a degree in finance. Alyssa just completed her AA degree at M State and will attend UND in the fall, pursuing a Forensic Science degree and – maybe – eventually law school.  We are also the owners of two very cute – and very spoiled – mini dachshunds.

My two favorite hobbies are reading (I could read all day if given the chance) and playing piano.  I serve as the organist for my church and also accompany the choir there, so I get a lot of opportunity to play, which I love.  Now if I could just fit a piano into my office….

I hope each of you is able to find some time to relax and recharge this summer. The fall semester will be upon us before we know it!  I also hope you’re able to attend this year’s conference in Sioux Falls.  I look forward to seeing colleagues and friends from past conferences – and meeting new ones as well.  See you in November!