Pride in the Pack: Looking back on a big afternoon at Northern State University

I can vividly recall the first time I heard Ron Rivett’s name. I was seven years old, visiting Aberdeen with my family. The second time was nearly a decade later when I returned to Aberdeen to tour Northern State University as a senior in high school in 2014. I’d go onto have countless encounters with Ron’s name from the moment I became a student at NSU, the following year. By my senior year of college, I was an intern at My Place Hotels, the very hotel brand that Ron had co-founded several years prior. To me, it’s remarkable how the impact Ron has made on the community was impressed upon me at some critical, valuable junctures of my life.

With decades of experience in the hospitality industry and as a respected leader in Aberdeen, we’re often reminded of his impact within and beyond our community. If you’ve visited us here, Ron’s ongoing legacy is pretty hard to miss–whether you’re in the castle at Storybook Land or driving down 8th Avenue past My Place Hotels Headquarters, the former Super 8 Headquarters.

Most recently, we were reminded of the impact that the Rivett family’s actions have had on the community at the Ribbon-Cutting/Dedication Ceremony of Northern State University’s (NSU) new pride and joy: the Harvey C. Jewett IV Regional Science Education Center.

A proud educational partner and Alum of NSU, Ron was also recognized at the event, alongside longtime friend and business partner Harvey Jewett on Thursday, September 12th.

A former member of the South Dakota Board of Regents, Harvey served the state of South Dakota for over 20 years and has devoted much of his life to philanthropy through the Great Plains Educational Foundation. More personally, Harvey has served as a business partner and close friend to Ron dating back to their early Super 8 days. Since then, the duo is still at it, having pursued many business ventures together over the years.

To honor the longtime partnership and friendship between Harvey, Ron, and the entire Rivett Family and their ongoing support of the university, the foyer of the new Regional Science Education Center has been generously named “Rivett Foyer.”

To give you a little bit of back-story on the Regional Science Education Center (RSEC), it is the first standalone academic building to be built on NSU’s campus in over 40 years. A state-of-the-art facility, the RSEC will provide students for generations to come with exceptional educational opportunities and opportunities to grow as engaged professionals in the field of science. Additionally, the RSEC will provide Aberdeen and the state of South Dakota with an increased economic impact as more and more students flock to Aberdeen to get a quality education in the new space.

As hundreds of community leaders and figures came together to celebrate the afternoon’s occasion, we were reminded of the positive contributions the Rivett family has made in support of NSU and the community. Their impact would be highlighted on several occasions throughout the ceremony.

Here’s a glimpse of Northern State University President Dr. Timothy Downs’ words regarding the impact of the Rivett family and the symbolism of the foyer dedication at the ceremony:

Harvey also went on to mention the Rivett family a couple times in his speech. Here’s what Ron had to say about Harvey’s closing words. (Also, if you haven’t already, you should totally go follow Ron on Twitter!)

While our afternoon at NSU eventually had to come to a close, the feelings we felt and the memories we made while celebrating the legacy of Harvey and Ron alongside so many of our friends were unforgettable. No matter how large we grow, we will always be so incredibly proud to celebrate the hard work of our founders to give back to the community that has been our rock for so many years and will forever look back on our afternoon at NSU with a smile on our face.